Sunday, December 31, 2017

From the Lips of the Goddess: Mata Vaishno Devi by Rajesh Talwar- Review

Book Name          - From the lips of the Goddess: Mata Vaishno Devi
 Author                 - RajeshTalwar
 Publisher              - Kalpaz Publications
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 4.0

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Bombay Swastika by Braham Singh- Review

Book Name          - Bombay Swastika
 Author                 - Braham Singh
 Publisher              - Om Books
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 4.0

Monday, December 18, 2017

Confessions of a Software Techie by Ramakrishna Reddy- Review

Book Name          - Confessions of a Software Techie
 Author                 - Ramakrishna Reddy
 Publisher              -Create Space Indepedent Pub
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 4.5

Friday, December 15, 2017

It Happens by Karan Sharma -Review

Book Name          - It Happens
 Author                 - Karan Sharma
 Publisher              - Notion Press
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 3.0

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Imperfect by Prasoon- Review

Book Name          - The Imperfect
 Author                 - Prasoon
 Publisher              - Srishti Publications
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 3.5

Monday, December 11, 2017

Jaffna Street by Mir Khalid- Review

Book Name          - Jaffna Street
 Author                 - Mir Khalid
 Publisher              - Rupa Publications
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 4.5

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IT @ D-day by Anirban Basu- Review

Book Name          - IT @ D-day
 Author                 - Anirban Basu
 Publisher              - Lifi Publications
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 3.0

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Letters from Kargil by Diksha Dwivedi- Review

Book Name          - Letters from Kargil
 Author                 - Diksha Dwivedi
 Publisher              - Juggernaut
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 4.0

Fate's Design by Subhashish Dey-Review

Book Name          - Fate's Design
 Author                 - Subhashish Dey
 Publisher              - Good Times Book Pvt Ltd
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 3.0

Sunday, November 26, 2017

History And Mythology—mixing a Molotov cocktail- Guest Post by Braham Singh

Historical fiction and Mythological fiction have been two terms that have been used as synonyms by many readers and even the witers these days. What is the real trick?         Is History and Mythology all the same?
Braham Singh, author of Bombay Swastika enlightens us about the whole business of genres in his guest post, exclusively on Outset

History And Mythology—mixing a Molotov cocktail

For my novel, Bombay Swastika, I went researched the Vaisnava-Sahajiya cult that arose in Bengal in the sixteenth century. Theirs was an intensely emotional attempt to reconcile the sensual and the ascetic. For one, the Sahajiya speak of a divine garden within each of our heads we can’t ever enter. They call it The Place Of The Hidden Moon.  It’s where Lord Krishna resides to energize the Universe by continuously copulating with his consort, Radha-devi. Between you and me and the rest of us, there’s of course no such thing and the Sahajiya myth exists to make a point.

So do the Ramayana and Mahabharata, as does the Bhagwad Gita—that gem the Mahabharata carries within. These epics weren’t written in one go, or by any one person. They encompass lessons put together over millennia by different teachers who have reached across time to pass them on. Once we get diverted by attempts at proving the God Ram actually existed, or claim that a God called Krishna built Dwarka somewhere between 30,000 years to 6,000 years ago depending on who’s talking, we’ve kind of, lost the plot, and those teachers reaching out to us from the past, they wasted their time.

That mythological garden in our heads declared off-limits by the Sahajiya, it’s where they say Lord Krishna loves Radha who’s married to another and therefore unattainable in her entirety; she too is off-limits, so to speak. But he still loves her.  That way, the Sahajiya myth explains, the Lord teaches us to reach for the impossible. You are unable to completely get to where you aspire to be, but so what? Getting as close as possible is what matters—the journey is everything. The myth serves a purpose only if we understand the allegorical reference. Were we to insist such a garden actually exists, the focus would shift to divinity and worship and miracles at the expense of the lesson waiting to be taught.

Whether a Ram-like king did exist, or warring clans meted it out at Kurukshetra, and whether there was a Krishna-like leader of the Yadav clan, should be left to professional historians. Who knows, Lord Krishna could well be authenticated in some future research undertaken objectively. For now though, the closest I’ve come to being semi-impressed, is by one Dr. N S Rajaram, even though his claims remain rich in conjecture and let’s not hold our breath waiting for a peer review. As far as the Ramayana and Mahabharata are concerned however, this is neither here nor there.

All this would add up to nothing, except that mythology has a track record. We have endured a world war to try debunking that Aryan myth and it still has legs. Nationalist and religious parties are especially apt at applying mythology to win over minds and savage enemies. We see it happening all around us. Neo-Nazis proudly march across America and Europe. In India, fundamentalist Hindutva is permanently changing Hinduism. Various Islamist movements pollute the Middle East with murderous stupidity. Then there's Putin's Russia—looming over all of these vicious little buggers clamoring for attention. Because it's not just violence that’s common across these politico-religious movements. There’s a striking commonality in right wing memes across the globe that simply can't be a coincidence; or maybe it's something to do with the times. A delicious conspiracy theory bubbles in my head, but best leave it for now.

Speaking about Bombay Swastika before an expatriate audience in Mumbai, I was on the obvious nexus between the Vedic Swastik symbol and a Nazi Swastika, when two German gentlemen corrected me. The Swastika was taken from Celtic history they insisted, and had nothing to do with the Vedic Swastika. What about the name then?  Well, in Germany we don’t call it the Swastika. It has its origins in Aryan folklore, you see.  And where did the Aryans come from?  From the Nordics of course, as we all know. But we don’t and no, they didn’t. The Aryan tribes, if they existed at all, are universally acknowledged to originate in the Caucasus. The point being, history is based on facts; or it can be anything you want.

If you want, a Hindu King and not the Moghuls built the Taj Mahal, even in the face of enough evidence to the contrary. Or, Mohammed did receive the word of God from the Angel Gabriel; even though the rational explanation would be that he borrowed from and simplified the monotheist material around him. And if you want, Noah did fit two of every species into his houseboat and Jesus rose from the dead and if we are to believe the current Indian Prime Minister, Lord Ganesh with his cute elephant head was real as real can be.

Whereas, you know heart of hearts, as do I, these are myths—to be either dismissed as with the Taj Mahal claim, or studied for their lessons from the past. Why detract from the beauty of the Bhagwad Gita or the wisdom inherent in so much of the Koran just because of fundamentalist urges, is beyond me. Stories spun around mythical figures are parables, not history, nor are they historical fiction.  Although going by Amazon India, you wouldn’t know. Searching under Historical Fiction, the first title to pop up was Immortals of Meluha, a book on Lord Shiva. A novel about Ram’s heroic Sita was actually #1 a few months ago, until Shiva came displaced her—one mythological character taking down the other, neither having anything to do with history, but who’s complaining.

To nudge Lord Shiva, or Sita or Ram or Krishna over into history from their current mythological status requires some doing before objective eyes.  However, there are vast legions out there that need to believe in this and so, casual extrapolation appears enough. There does seem to be a laissez faire approach to Hindu research in India, making it a lot easier to establish nonsense while refuting facts.

Is it then, that Indian research is typically shoddy? Because it is not. R C Mazumdar and Romilla Thapar are why I am hooked on history in the first place. Their expertise did it for me, not Western historians. Also, being killed by bandits didn’t harm Mazumdar’s case amongst young wannabes. He isn’t there anymore, but one also doesn’t see Thapar work on resurrecting Krishna any time soon. I don’t know what her religious proclivities are but she appears professional enough to remain secular at work. Professional historians don’t typically champion mythology. They know any such thesis would likely crumble under peer review. The faux-ones who do, wouldn’t know how to apply due diligence in the first place, and don’t care. They have to arrive at a preconceived conclusion for their host of believers. Conjecture is enough.

For the rest of us though, it isn’t. There can be no let up on due diligence demanded of anyone venturing to prove say, Krishna’s existence a historical fact. Just telling us he existed based on astrological evidence or conjecture, doesn’t buy it. Yet, there’s no let up.

It was on February 18, 3102 BC, we are asked to believe, that Krishna breathed his last on the banks of river Hiran in Prabhas Patan, after living 125 years seven months and six days. He died at 14:27:30 hours, according to a paper presented by Swami Gyananand Saraswati, chairperson of the Varanasi-based Adi Jagatguru Shankaracharya Sodh Sansthan at a gathering of scholars, according to the Times of India dated September 8, 2004, under the headline, Lord Krishna Lived 125 Years.

The Swami goes on to elaborate how they arrived at the date with such precision. "Certain dates related to his life taken from the scriptures were then fed into a software along with Krishna's characteristic traits for an astrological calculation to prepare his kundli." Few things Ive read are more cringe-worthy.

The above claim could be laughed off, except that the Times of India chose to publish it as serious news. Swami Gyananand’s research by the way, took a quick three months and I’m told the conclusions have begun to creep into school textbooks. In comparison, it took Audrey Truschke, an Assistant Professor of South Asian Studies at Rutgers, ten years to arrive at some basic conclusions on Persian-Sanskrit syncretism in the Moghul court. That then, is the difference between objective, academic due diligence, and the variety used extensively these days to arrive at premeditated conclusions.

So, there we have it.  Three months to arrive at unbelievably precise dates about a mythological figure. Versus, ten years of hard work to conclusively establish what was anyways known since my school days: that Hindu culture and Sanskrit literature permeated every aspect of life in the Moghul court. In spite of that, the news about Krishna was received with awe, and Truschke’s conclusions with outrage.

More than one patriotic Indian over the years has informed me that Audrey Truschke, and Wendy Doniger before her and James Laine before her and Louis Malle before him, have an axe to grind. The West is out to get us. That someone can openly assert a Western scholar would spend ten years to write a book on Sanskrit-Persian syncretism just to ’get us’ would be priceless, if it wasn’t so depressing. And if that is the case, then the West is out to get its own God too, because it demands a similar proof from those claiming Jesus is a real, historical figure.

This persistent demand for proper proof stems from a paucity of contemporaneous Jesus references from that period. In fact, outside of the Bible, there is pretty much no reference to a person named Jesus.  Other than in the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who covered the period 37 BC - 100AD in his writings.  There, we do find a reference to Jesus in a paragraph renowned as, Testimonium Flavianum. The only problem being, the Testimonium Flavianum has been declared a forgery on multiple occasions and by multiple sources. Are observant Christians unhappy with this whole thing? You bet.  Are they baying for blood? Not to my knowledge. But even if they were, challenging a religion doesn’t typically fire up murderous mobs in the West. In India it would, and the threat of religious violence permanently bubbles beneath the national fabric.

Should Krishna then be given a pass? The answer for our own sake, is no. Were European Indologists once dismissive of Hinduism? Yes, and who knows, probably some still are. That still doesn’t make Krishna real. To establish him as flesh and blood requires the same rigorous proof we ask for the existence of Jesus outside of the Bible, or proof that Mohammed indeed had a conversation with the Archangel Gabriel.

However, here’s some proof from the smorgasbord on offer: ’When (Krishna) came 5000 years ago, millons of eyewitnesses saw him.  He did things only gods can do. Historian Vyasadeva, a reporter with impeccable credentials, recorded it all.’  Conclusion? Not only Krishna existed, he was also God.

Many myths are dear to the heart. They take us back to where our people originated, and that’s not a bad thing. These myths are allegories—teachings from the past that elders felt a need to pass on. It’s when they are bandied as facts and we are told the stories are true, that we begin down the slippery slope.

Under a politically resurgent Hinduism, blaming Muslim and British imperialism for subverting Hindu culture is back in fashion. During the socialist Sixties and Seventies, it was fashionable blaming the West for economic exploitation. Today the finger is pointed at Muslims and Christian oppressors for their cultural vandalism. If you want, there’s always someone to blame. And it appears that’s what many of us want. Declare the white male a victim, and some buffoon like Trump becomes President of the United States. Paint Hindus as being trod upon, and you have Hindutva riding roughshod all over India.

Whether Trump’s Neo-Nazis, some Islamist propagator, or a Hindutva mob, their positions are necessarily implacable. They have no choice, because this is what fundamentalism requires from adherents. You can’t cede a quarter else the edifice crumbles. There can therefore be no alternative explanation. Here are examples of how myths become real in fundamentalist minds.
-   Didn’t the Earth come about 4.5 billion years ago? No, it can’t be more than six thousand years old. Because otherwise the Bible would be wrong and that’s not possible.
-   Why is Islamic society under Sharia superior to all others? Because the Koran says Islam is the best, most perfect, and final word of God. All other religions before it were simply iterations while God wrestled to get it right. Then what about the Christian West’s persistent economic superiority and how come Jewish Israel holds sway over its Muslim neighbors? The fundamentalist response to that is typically aggressive, because the only logical answer is unacceptable.
-   Similarly, If Muslims are just bestial invaders and Hindu culture superior, then whence the Taj Mahal? Ergo, a Hindu King built it.

Whatever we do, we mustn’t kid ourselves this sort of extremism is temporary. Things may have correct themselves in the past but these are different times.  There are several billion more of us around, for starters. Increasing numbers doesn’t necessarily translate into greater smarts. In any herd, after a certain point the lowest common denominator starts to prevail. Break down communication barriers like how the Internet has done, and the stupid benefit from an exponential increase to their reach.  Barely a decade ago, you would be slapped down for propagating nonsense about not getting kids vaccinated against measles. Today, you can form your own comfort group made up of millions, and do as you please.

Another thing about large, dumbed-down herds.  As any shepherd would tell you, they are easier to manage. Therefore, if 1% of today’s human population can get away usurping 80% of its wealth, there’s a reason. The same reason why Trump effortlessly holds sway over a significant swathe of America’s voting population; at their expense. I am loathe to admit that’s also why demagogues have so many Indians convinced the Taj Mahal was built by a Hindu King; but it appears to be the case.

What can we—the rest of us—do? Educate our children to begin with. Let’s go create more people of the kind who do their homework for ten years just so they get it right, instead of ones ripening to be swayed by a Trump, some silver tongued Wahhabi, or the head guy in khaki from your local RSS chapter.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains by Antonia Bolingbroke-kent- Review

Book Name          - Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains
 Author                 - Antonia Bolingbroke-kent
 Publisher              - Simon &Schuster
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 3.5

Monday, November 20, 2017

The one apart by Justin Avery


Book Title: The One Apart by Justine Avery
Category: Adult fiction, 568 pages
Genre: Sci-fi & Fantasy / Paranormal
Publisher: Justine Avery
Release date: Dec 4, 2017
Tour dates: Nov 20 to Dec 8, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13

Book Description:

Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life.
He remembers—every life he's lived before.

Tres is about to be born... with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he's too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-sometimes before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Dec 16

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

~ Cover Reveal-You Came Like Hope

~ Cover Reveal ~

Title: You Came Like Hope
Author: Jyoti Arora
Word length: 53,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Contemporary Romance

“I heard them mourn my death. I lay in the next room. Motionless, silent, and staring at the ceiling.”
“When it comes to a broken person, some of them are expert at blinding you. Spend an entire evening with such a person, but you may still not know how he is crushing inside.”
“Who would say no to him? He is smart, intelligent, super handsome, rich, suave and sophisticated. He’s perfect!”
“Pooja gave no explanation. She asked no forgiveness. She just arrived in his home, resenting him for being her husband.”
“He had smiled as if nothing was wrong.
He had behaved as if he still had his dreams and hopes.
He had pretended as if it didn’t hurt.
But it did.”
Does Destiny hold the key to our happiness?
Is it always the feeble that is the victim?
Love can be the embrace of heaven. But what happens when it unleashes hellfire?
Lose yourself in the intense narrative of You Came Like Hope as it unleashes a rollercoaster of emotions, uncovers some bitter truths, challenges widespread prejudices, and forces you to reconsider your beliefs.

Releasing on 23rd November 2017!

About the Author:
Jyoti Arora is a novelist and blogger from Ghaziabad. You Came Like Hope is her third novel, coming after Dream’s Sake and Lemon Girl. She is Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Besides reading and writing novels, Jyoti enjoys checking out latest technological innovations, watching movies, and listening to old Bollywood songs.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke-Review

Book Name          - Dragon Rider
 Author                 - Cornelia Funke
 Publisher              - Chicken House
Buy books from Amazon

My Review
Rating : 4.5

Friday, November 10, 2017

In conversation with Braham Singh.

It's a perk for the reviewers to get connected with too many talented writers. Today I find myself lucky to get to know about Braham Singh, author of Bombay Swastika  published by Om Books.

Since I could not hold my anxiety, without much preface, let me ask straight away, How did the idea of Bombay Swastika come to your mind?

In Bombay, every gully has a story to tell. In the case of Bombay Swastika, bits and pieces come from a mildewed building on 3rd Pastor Lane in Colaba. My father’s best friend, a German Jew, lived there. The penhouse floor of that building was a whorehouse. I was filled with awe when old enough to understand what that meant, but I digress. Back to my father’s German friend. His life could be a book in its own right but there are legal issues. With true stories, one can end up spending more time tap dancing around landmines, than writing. That’s why writing fiction is such a trip.
The trick is to take true tidbits from whereever one finds them and weave a yarn, which is what I did. For good fiction, lack of restraint is a must. One learns over time nothing can be more outlandish than what real life throws up.
Luckily, I was cut out for outlandish stories. Most people want to write their memoirs. Clearly, they had exciting lives. Mine wasn’t. I was the fat kid in class, and a Sikh to boot. That’s a double whammy. It confused classmates accosting me—should the fat boy joke come first then the Sardar joke, or the other way round? 
I became a what-if expert. What if I was the slim captain of the criket team? What if I could fly? What if girls in the nearby convent school fought over me? Each such query led to long flights of fancy, driving my parents to despair and the teachers to label me a daydreamer. When you’re in school, daydreaming is a capital crime.
For a writer however it’s a prerequisite. What if the hero’s Jewish wife in Bombay Swastika, went back to Nazi Germany? What if refugees fleeing Karachi during Partition, had their escape blocked by Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s ambulance while he lay dying in it? What if this, what if that, and before I knew, we had a story that ends up being surprisingly relevant to today’s India. Who would’ve thunk?

Bombay and Swastika, the Nazi connection is not lost to the readers from the title. How did you coin the title?

What can be more obvious than the nexus between the Hindu Swastik and the Nazi Swastika? And yet this connection is barely explored in school texts or literature. It puzzled me. Growing up, we had World War Two comic books full of Nazi bad guys with Swastikas on their arms. An Indian kid with an iota of curiosity could compare that to the rangoli swastik on the floor of his house, or the little swastiks adorning his doorway. 
When I sat down to write about a German Jew in India, the good luck swastik became a sort of talisman in the story and after that, the name was a no-brainer. It came so easily, that at one point I thought, too easy, and wanted to change the title to, ’The Haunted Whorehouse, and the place of the Hidden Moon’. Luckily, good sense and a determined editor prevailed.

Which genre would you categorize your book?

Bombay Swastika is Historical Fiction.  A comfortable fit, except that these days if you search under Historical Fiction on Amazon India, the first title that pops up is Immortals of Meluha—a book on Lord Shiva. A novel on Sita was actually #1 a few months ago, until Shiva came displaced her, one mythological character taking down the other, neither having anything to do with history, but who’s asking.

Between Virginia and Hong Kong, how do you schedule your writing time?

4am to 8am every morning, before leaving for my day job. Mornings work for me in Virgina.  Strangely, in Asia it’s evenings. Why, don’t ask.
Flying time, with no interruptions, is a huge bonus. When boarding, I always pray they have crappy movies.

How vast was your research?

Well, let’s try list all the topics researched to death for this book. There’s 1935 Berlin. Did you know before the Nazis got their hands on it, Berlin was a Jewish city, with forty percent of the population intermarried into Jewish families? Gentile (non-Jewish) women prefered marrying Jewish men because they didn’t drink or beat their wives, and because they worked hard. The Jewish Hospital in Berlin figures prominently in Bombay Swastika and in itself took up months of research. 
The book had to be dead accurate about locations in 1935 Berlin, 1948 Karachi, and 1964 Bombay. Bombay Swastika also famously tackles India’s nuclear program and the spectacular failure of Dr. Homi Bhabha’s plutonium reprocessing plant that no one talks about. 

Then in what turned out to be the the Yin to the nuclear program’s Yang, one got educated on tantric Krishna bhakti. It’s part of the layered plots that make up Bombay Swastika. I had to study it from scratch, not that I am complaining. 

How was your publishing experience?

Two ladies at Om Books sum it up. Dipa Choudhuri and Ipshita Mitra, editors extraordinaire.  Bombay Swastika is not an easy work to handle. Especially since India has become such a prickly nation. I mean, at one time, the best Sardar jokes came from Sardars.  Today, they protest. Marathas protest. Hindus protest. Muslims protest. Everyone wears their animus proudly for all to see.  Om could have asked to tone down the book.  They didn’t. Om Books are also supurb marketeers, going that extra mile for a debut novel. Overall, I can pat myself on the back for signing up with them. 

Where do you find yourself as an author, ten years from now?

I have four books to be done sequentially and they are eating away at me.  They include a history of the Internet that I have to write and be done with. It’s called, Packet Wars— how the Internet became a video playground. Non-fiction, but a fun read. Then we have, Emperor, The Little Eunuch and, Her Browser History. These four books mean the next five years are spoken for. Besides writing these books, new stories have to be spun. What if this & what if that, is a habit that’s not going away. All in all, I’ll be disappointed if after ten years I haven’t continued to offend the right people and entertain the rest.

Do give a glimpse of The Little Eunuch to the readers.

In 1974, a farmer digging his field outside Xian, stumbled across the mausoleum of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi. It was like nothing the world had seen. A vast underground city guarded by a life-size terracotta army totaling 7000 warriors, infantrymen, horses, chariots and all their attendant armor and weaponry. Here’s the thing. Each terracotta soldier has distinctive features, different from the others.  This leads us to believe these were statues of real people. There were statues of civilians too, in the underground mausoleum and one of them is a boy in a kneeling position, dubbed The Little Eunuch. 
Attempting to unite China’s warring nations into one country, First Emperor Huangdi was merciless in imposing his rule. Castration was a pretty standard punishment at the time of the First Emperor. So no surprise there are statues of eunuchs in the mausoleum. The Little Eunuch however, is special and in the novel becomes a symbol of Huangdi’s ’strict but just rule’.
The ’strict but just’ Emperor Huangdi was Chairman Mao’s personal favourite. The communists lauded Huangdi’s oppression and killing of scholars and burning of books, as necessary. They used him to justify the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution. The novel, The Little Eunuch, is about how the little eunuch’s statue becomes a symbol for the necessity of harsh punishment, if society is to be ruled justly.  The boy must have commited a terrible crime to be castrated. The novel is about what he really did.

What is your advice to aspiring authors?

Young writers always ask, how did you get published? Dumb luck, I suggest, but advise not to bank on it. Instead, enforce time discipline. If you can’t block at least two hours every day for hard core writing, don’t bother.
Put your daydreaming to work. Make notes after you’ve indulged yourself. What can you take away from your flights of fancy?
Buy Syd Field’s book on scriptwriting and learn the discipline of writing a tight script. That discipline will help you stay on track when you write your novel or short story.
Write poetry to learn how to have the right beat, the right tempo in your paragraphs when you write prose.
Develop a voice. For this learn from your favorite authors. If you aren’t a massive reader, you’re never going to be a published writer. Steal ideas from what you read. Stealing is allowed. Plagiarizing isn’t.
Polish and polish and re polish your manuscript. Then polish again before polishing some more. Read a chapter from your favorite writer. Then read your chapter. Compare the feel. Keep doing this exercise. Compare, polish, repeat. Then, get a line editor to okay your work. Then get beta readers to pummel it further. A beta reader cannot be friends or family unless it’s your spouse or partner after a massive fight.
Make rejections work for you. I’m talking about the ones that are more than a sentence and which implicitly or explicitly tell you where you’re going wrong. Wait for a day or two for the anger and disappointment to subside and then get back to correcting your manuscript. Bombay Swastika was completely re-worked four times because of rejection letters.
And lastly, have the reader learn something new from what’s in your book. Provide her information that otherwise would require reading some boring textbook. This is HUGE and will get the reader hooked to your work. But it means you have to spend time on research. Real research and not just Google. 

How can readers reach you?

Shoot me a message on facebook. I always reply.