When Ranjit sent us the synopsis of The Deadly Royal Recipe, he made it sound like a delicious dish! We were sold before we even read the manuscript.
Once I read the whole story, I felt like I had eaten at a laden buffet table, with a variety of esoteric dishes: erstwhile royals, over-the-top villains, sassy young girls, a car-crazy boy, elephants and car-chases, kidnappings and cooking and much adventure in the jungle. Ranjit really comes into his own in the bits that take place in the forest. His love for and knowledge of the forests and the fauna there is evident in every sentence, and he transports you effortlessly into that special world. It’s a pleasure to read a writer who knows his craft like Ranjit does. The plot is complicated, with overlapping timelines and simultaneous action, and yet, it never got knotted, as plots tend to get. It goes along at a fastpaced clip, until you reach the denouement, breathless and smiling with satisfaction, as at the end of a filling meal, when you know you’ve eaten too much, but still have no regrets!
Like Anushka, I think I fell in love with the book as soon as I read the synopsis. I have long been a fan of Ranjit’s and I think The Battle for Number 19 is one of the best Indian children’s books ever. And over the years, I am constantly impressed at his range and prolificness. I admire writers who like to experiment with new forms and subjects constantly, and no one does this with more regularity than Ranjit.
The Deadly Royal Recipe is a complete tamasha. It reads like the finest of Bollywood actually with action, adventure, humour, tension, high-speed car races, stunning settings, and–most importantly–truly villainous villains who make your toes curl. I am so happy that we are publishing this smorgasbord (the first time I have found the perfect use for this word!) of a book, so filled with humour and action.