The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

Ash Mistry, a 13-year-old British school boy, and his sister Lucky are on vacation, visiting their aunt and uncle in India.  His uncle is offered 2 million dollars to take a job translating writing found in an archeological dig, by Alexander Savage, the wealthy European sponsoring the dig.  Ash goes with his uncle to Savage’s home – once the palace of the maharajah, and now called the Savage Fortress.  While there, Ash finds a golden arrowhead, and has an out-of-body experience during which he is Rama, the great king/god/warrior who defeated Ravana, the Demon King and his army. 

Once Savage realizes that Ash has the arrowhead (an Aastra or charm of Kali, the God of Death) he is desperate to get it.  He kills Ash’s aunt and uncle, and sends his rakshashas – demon shape-shifters – after the two children who are saved and hidden away by a stranger.  Ash is taught how to fight while Savage prepares to open the tomb of Ravana at his dig and release him.  Ash learns how to use the Aastra to kill. He is killed by one of the rakshashas and then brought back to life by Kali; he then goes after Savage to prevent the release of the Demon King and his army and save the world for humans.  This all ends in a big battle scene in which Ash defeats Ravana with the Aastra, and the help of Kali and a new rakshasha friend, Parvati.    

Miss Sara says, “This title is action-packed, full of new names and characters, and at times, pretty gory. The story is loosely based on the Indian Ramayana legend.  Ash dedicates his life to Kali and readers know he’ll be called back to fight the demon army again someday.   It’s new, challenging and non-stop; give it to fans of Riordan’s Kane Chronicles and Scott’s Alchemyst series.”  292 p.   Grades 5 – 8

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