In one of his interesting anecdotes, Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of the greatest mathematicians to have ever lived on earth, once attended a lecture on elliptic integrals by Arthur Berry, the renowned expert in this subject matter at that time. While speaking, Berry wondered whether Ramanujan was able to comprehend the formulae he was writing on the blackboard. So he stopped and asked him if he was able to follow and would he like to add anything. Ramanujan stood up, took his chalk and wrote down results which Berry had not known of, not proved yet and possibly wouldn’t have been able to derive by himself. Such was the genius of Ramanujan, that mathematicians often placed him on the same pedestal with Euler and Gauss.
The Steradian Trail, a mystery thriller, celebrates the mathematical genius of Ramanujan, and even seems to draw inspiration from the above anecdote to dazzle the readers with the prowess of one of the characters named Divya. The story begins with the murder of a man, who in his dying moments speaks something into his mobile which would have sounded gibberish to most, but not to the brilliant protagonists Joshua, a world-renowned computer scientist and Divya, a whizkid who adores Joshua. Before the killers target Joshua, he needs to find the mystery behind his colleague’s death, a quest which will take him to the origins of the genius called Ramanujam and into the religious history of South India. This book is the first one in the Infinity Cycle series. You can read more about it in M.N. Krish’s interview here.
The Steradian Trail is an intelligently written thriller and a refreshing change from the religious thrillers doing the rounds in Indian markets. To be fair to thriller readers, it is not the run-of-the-mill pacy, gripping, fast-paced thriller, but it is a somewhat light-hearted, breezy mystery novel with dollops of humour and insights on vedic mathematics and religion. Almost all the important characters in the book are nerds and connected with the academia, and hence their perspectives on life is amusing and make for a good read. The setting of the story is Chennai, and Krish takes the readers straight into the daily lives of people in Tamil culture, highlighting a funny contrast between the views of the different generations.
Being the first novel by Krish, there are a few glitches here and there, which is OK. For example, had the dialogues been a bit lesser verbose, more realistic and with easier words, the narrative would have flown faster. However, the debutant novelist still does a great job and has created some interesting characters whom we would like to see again in future. Hope the upcoming books in the Infinity Series take the adventure to the next level.