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Murder in Venice is the story of Sankaran Namboodri, a young man passionate about astronomy and related mathematics,whose thirst for knowledge inducts him to travel to Italy to meet Galileo Galilei and share the advanced astronomy developed by Hindu astronomers. Born in Irinjalakuda, a village in Kerala on the West coast of India also the birthplace of Madhava, a great mathematician born 250 years earlier, Sankaran prepares to take over from his father as the temple priest by studying the Vedic scriptures following the traditions. Recognising his talent for understanding complex scriptures and mathematics, and his insatiable curiosity of the sky, his father wants him to become an astronomer. To acquire further knowledge in astronomy, Sankaran plans a trip to Ujjain, the seat of great discoveries in Hindu astronomy. On his way, at the city of Kozhikode, by a strange coincidence he meets a renowned scholar, Ananthan, who has just returned from Ujjain with the latest teachings. Ananthan transfers all his knowledge to Sankaran and with the help of an Italian Catholic missionary, convinces Sankaran that he should go to Italy so that the contributions of Hindu astronomers may be known to Galileo Galilee. Sankaran accepts the challenge. The
Italian maestro is not only surprised by Sankaran’s knowledge of astronomical predictive calculations and citations from ancient Vedic scriptures and but even more amazed that Hindu astronomers had conceptualized a heliocentric universe long before. The Auhtorities of Rome firmly believe that the earth is fixed with the Sun going round and oppose vehemently Galileo’s views. A messenger from Rome warns Galileo that his life as well as that of Sankaran is in danger as his views are being lately labeled as blasphematory by the Authorities. Galileo sends Sankaran away to hide in Venice convinced that in a matter of weeks, and with the help of Sankaran’s knowledge, he will be able to alter the opinion of the Authorities of Rome. But will he succeed? Will the world come to know about Sankaran’s mission? The reader will get an insight on the contribution of Hindu Astronomy often forgotten as we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the telescope by Galileo.

With a passion for science and India, the author, a retired scientist with a Doctorate in Physics from the University of Paris blends fiction into historical facts in a unique way building on intercultural links and circulation of knowledge between the East and the West long before globalization as we know it today. His first book Dreams and Realities, a collection of short-stories, took the reader from Indian History 300 BC to modern science with glimpses of Hindu philosophy, music, dance, traditions, scientific discoveries and life in three different continents –India, Europe and USA.

The Royalty fees from the sale of this book are integrally donated
to the Medical Research Foundation (India), an institution
serving the poor and the needy in eye care.




I just finished reading your book,"  Murder in Venice". It is a fascinating account, mixture of Science and fiction. It is written very well. You have infused life in to the characters and high lighted the Indian contribution to the subject of astronomy,Vedic Math and it's deep rooted Vedic culture. I very much liked  Your Malayalam renderings, as well as the Sanskrit quotes. Also it is a testament to  the fine culture of Kerala. I  feel I know now a little bit more of colloquial  Malayalam. The Italian inserts bring one closer to Galileo and smoothly shifts the story to Italy and it's culture. This indeed is a book which I will be recommending to my friends. Please accept our hearty congratulations for writing another fine piece. I immensely enjoyed it.


The overall effect is captivating.  The book is very well written and reading is a pleasure. We liked the turn of events which come unexpectedly and carries on the story, such as, Sankaran meeting the jewish family, contrary to his plans meeting Ananthan Namoodri. We learn a lot about Jewish customs, which I always thought resembled the Brahmin culture and way of life. The meeting between the three religions was interesting and you have nicely brought out several important points. You must have worked very hard to collect these details, digest them and putting it across in a simple manner! 
Your plan of sending Sankaran to Italy to meet Gallileo is a very good and interesting contribution. You have nicely defended the greatness of Hindu astronomers and their contribution and lament how the only chance of making them known to the west through Gallileo was foiled by the loss of life of Sankaran. Not only that you have woven Guilia into the story well and she too lost her life. To top everything Antonio too ends his life by hanging himself leaving none to help the Italian Master to present Hindu contribution. You have dramatically chosen noon for Antonio so that he will not be completing the striking of the bell by which his death is announced. Had it been 2 pm then it would have been different. So you have paid a lot of attention to fine details.
It is nice to read Malayalam and Italian in between gives colour to the happenings.
As it always happens there are a few small mistakes in Sanskrit slokas. Sankaran’s father also seemed to be unaware of the Vimana used in Mahabharata by Salwa which had to be destroyed by Lord Krishna.

 We  congratulate you for this work. It is amazing that you have such a talent to right a fiction novel! Bravo!

Mrs. Lalitha Badrinath, Groupe de Réflexion Franco-Indien, Paris.

I had some links with a project undertaken by Umberto Eco in a venture called Transcultura. I was reminded of his work as I started reading your latest book. Congratulations!

Dr Arabinda DAS, Physicist, Ottawa, Canada

I appreciate the detailed research that you have done for writing this manuscript.
The similarities and the difference between various cultures are also properly emphasized.
The book keeps a steady narrative momentum and at the same time puts in forefront the contribution of India in the field of science. Moreover, now i have got a glimpse of Kerala's lifestyle.
Most of all I enjoyed the book, I liked this second book's content and style but preferred the plot of your first book (Dreams and Realities)
Great job, congratulations again.


In the very second book, you have reached a certain height in the art of story telling. You have achieved a full length novel connecting Religions, Maths, Astronomy, Kollam, Venice, Love and Death. Bravo Mr Suryanarayanan!

Inspiration blossoms like a secret flower. You say, the theme of the story popped up in an exhibition hall and in a conference room. You have given a beautiful shape to your imagination by giving numerous excerpts of The Knowledge. You paved a secret patch to discover the immense treasure of our Vedic and scientific documents, a legacy that any Indian can fell proud of.


In my opinion, whatever was written in the Vedas about planets and cosmos may be Mathematical theories but someone has to prove them scientifically to make them widely accepted . Steam and electricity existed from the very beginning of the earth; but we needed a Watson and Edison to give them a practical usage. As you have coated

“Ajyeshtaso aganishtasa ethe

Sam bratharo vavruthhuhu sowbhagaya!”


Wishing you all the best for your next book.

Prof. N. Venkatasubramanian, Chemistry Professor , Madras Christian College, Tamabaram, Chennai  and Retired as Chemistry Professor, Principal, Vivekenanda College, Chennai, now in New Jersey, USA.

I just finished reading the book. It is a well-researched and well-documented attempt to get the reader interested in the hoary past of astronomy in India and in Vedic mathematics. I shall certainly recommend it to all my children . I have already brought it to the notice of a couple of my friends. My congratulations again for your fine literary skills, in addition to your scientific achievements.

Dr. Sibajyoti  GUHA, Retd. Research Director, Molecular Biology, CNRS, Gif/Yvette, France


I started reading this novel assuming, because of the title, that it is going to be a sort of detective story. Why not? After all, a physicist like Dr. Suryanarayanan can well write a mystery story. The composite picture on the cover of the book contains a photo of a temple in Kerala and also one of Venice. One can guess the story stretches from Kerala to Venice. The cover page also contains astronomical sketches by Galileo and a quotation, in sanskrit (devanagari) scripit. The main protagonist of the story is Sankaran, a boy born in Irinjalakuda (kerala, India). The same village where the great mathematician Madhava was born about 250 years before him. The boy belonged to the Namboodri community. So he was destined to be a priest in a temple. But his father wanted to make him a scholar and was sent to Kozikhode to learn about the mathematical science. There he met a jewish boy, an Italian catholic priest and also a muslim from Iran. That made it possible to make a comparative presentation of the four religions. Here one has the impression that the author wants to insist on the tolerant nature of the hindu religion. Though on the question of casts he only says that in hindu society, initially, one could change their cast according to their professional practice (and also by prayer), though with time, cast became a immutable birthright. The author could well have insisted on the fact thet hindu religion,though divided by caste is not divided into sects. The difference between  vaishnavites and  shivaites, is bigger than that of shias & sunnis. But they do not have different temples. One is free to go to the temple of the other devotees to offer his own prayer.  The Italian priest, Luigi, learnt that a Hindu astronomer, named Aryabhatta, enunciated the heliocentric theory about earth 800 years before Copernicus. He also knew that a contemporay astronomer in his country was having trouble with the Roman Catholic church because he has shown that his equations corroborated the heliocentic theory of Copernicus (revised later by  Kepler). The idea that the earth moves around the sun is opposed to the teaching of christian faith, prevalent in Europe.



The boy Sankaran, a fictional character was younger than Galileo. That makes possible the meeting of both the persons, as the priest Luigi suggestd that the youngster, conversavnt of the hindu mathematics, should go to Italy to meet Galileo and exchange their knowledge. In spite of a religious ban to cross the seas & oceans he sailed forVenice. Once in Padova  he met Galileo, who was a professor there, and impressd him with his knowledge of the Italian language and also with his knowledge in mathematics. He also gave, in short, an account of the Indian mathematicians worth mentioning  To Galileo’s surprise, who not only ignored totally of Aryabahatta and his heliocentric theory but also that the Indian languages have scripts which are not ideograms. All the more that, in spite of his theory, Aryabhatta was not bothered by anybody. But some trouble was waiting for the boy. People from the church doubted  that he is a spy from India. For his security, Galileo sent him to Venice. He went there accompaied by a girl named Julia who, in Padova used to take care of Galileo’s house hold. Then comes last chapter which justifies the title of the book. The end of the book is a story of love and frustration. I am not going to divulge the end. Only thing I can tell you that it does not ends well for any of the protagonist of the novel. To appreciate the story one has to go through the whole book.

As the whole proceedings of the sale of this book will to go the fund of Sankara Netralaya, a charitable eye hospital. I can only wish a tremendous sale of the book. I also wish that Dr. Suryanarayanan writes more books of this quality.

Marie Jose HUBERT, Orange, Paris

I enjoyed very much reading your book Murder in Venice, I learned new things and I loved the suspense.

Sankaran is a remarkable human being. He teaches us about friendship, respect for the older generation

and different cultures. Most of all the immense knowledge that his people, the hindus, had developed about

astronomy and mathematics. Galileo and Sankaran 2 men of vision and ahead of their time, regarding their

understanding of science.

Thanks again for such a fun book I will recommend it to my friends and family.


Mrs Ailsa Paterson, English Teacher (professional courses)

    I much enjoyed reading "Murder in Venice". It was a pleasure to find so many different themes in a comparatively short story: 
     a plea for tolerance, a respect for learning, a denunciation of closed minds, and much (for me) new information on 
    Indian astronomical studies - the whole in a narrative full of human interest. I hope the book will be widely circulated - 
  it has lessons for us all, of whatever cultural background.

    Princess Gouri Parvathi Bai, Kowdiyar Palace, Thiruvanandhapuram, Kerala

   I did read your novel and found it to be one with a difference, maybe even a twist at the end. Having lived all my life in    Kerala, It was easy for me to understand the whole book with its special references & situations so peculiar to our way of life. I    would be interested to know how the Europeans received it and what their understanding of it is.   Good luck to you and      keep on writing and enjoying it too.

Mr Madhav Vinod, M.Phil, Sri Chitra Medical Sciences, Thiruvanandhapuram

Your book is a great compilation of scientific melodrama entangling spirituality and divinity, with lively characters gives a feeling of drama act happening right in front us, where the prologues are so detail that every bit and every location gives us a feeling of real time experience, just like I felt many a times that I am right in front of them when any conversation takes place or just gets a feeling of travelling with sankaran, where ever he goes etc. I can never believe this to be fiction rather it is fictitious to  believe it as fiction, for the fact that  the "fiction"  part is confined only to the characters or characterization else the entire composition is greatly informative in terms of historic events and cultural outline. Alas I can say one thing, well! every reader if not many times at-least once would have had goose bumps while reading this book, I swear it happened to me many times, not exaggeration of course