Ever imagined what lurks in the abyss of oceans? What if a portion of the unexplored land surfaces as an island with its creatures spreading out and dominating the earth? Author Tim Murari makes this eerie fictional world seem petrifyingly real in his young adult novel Axxiss and the Magic Medallions. Readers can however calm their nerves by holding on tight to the hope that Axxiss, a 14-year-old owner of a magic medallion, will save the planet from being destroyed.
Axxiss, the hero of the book, is an adopted Indian orphan, in the US, who, along with five other kids of different nationalities — Chinese, French, English, African American and American — are given the task of sending the undersea kingdom that surfaces out of Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the Pacific Ocean, back to where it was. “The book is a mix of history and science fiction. Many cultures have mythological tales based on undersea kingdom. There are stories that have lived over the years. However, it is one area that has not been researched on much yet. Man has probably been able to explore till about 4,000 feet, but the ocean goes down to a depth of about 36,000 feet! No one knows what lies underneath,” says Tim, who is known for his adult novels like The Taliban Cricket Club, Taj: A Story of Mughal India and Chanakya Returns among others. While the author prefers writing adult books and is already working on his next set in Afghanistan, working on Axxiss and the Magic Medallions, which is the first of a series of three, gave him a fun break. “It stretches my imagination, gives me the liberty to pull out characters from history, mythology or just from my imagination,” says Tim, who has authored another young adult novel Children of the Enchanted Jungle.
Tim says he wrote the book for an orphan he looked after, years ago. “I have also written a book about him called My Temporary Son. He was adopted by a family in Europe recently. So, when I met him, he asked, ‘Why don’t you write me a book. You are a writer right?’ I said, sure,” he recalls with a smile. “Since the book is dedicated to him, I made an Indian boy the hero. Besides that, books like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, have white Americans or white British as main characters. I am an Indian and I wanted to write a book where the hero is an Indian,” he says.
Tim believes that though there is a huge readership for the young adult genre in the city, given the fan base for Harry Potter, Hunger Games and such, there are not many writers for the same. “Tragically, there aren’t many Indian writers in this genre. We all focused on writing adult novels. Either that, or everyone is writing mythological stories about Siva and Vishnu, which is interesting, but there is only so much you can spin about mythological characters,” says Tim. “I myself did not have many options to read while growing up. There was Rudyard Kipling’s Kim and then Ramayana and Mahabharatha. I mostly grew up reading (Ernest) Hemingway and other adult novels,” he adds.
Axxiss and the Magic Lanterns is published by Scholastic and priced at Rs 250.