Sayantani DasGupta is a pediatrician by training. She teaches at the Columbia University. She is a team member of We Need Diverse Books and has grown up hearing Bengali folk tales about the man-eating Rakkhosh demons, brave princesses, serpent kingdoms, Tuntuni birds, and flying horses.


The Serpent’s Secret is a fantasy novel by Sayantani DasGupta. The novel is about an Indian princess Kiranmala and her adventures in a magical realm. The kingdom is replete with flying horses, tree spirits, talking birds, mountains of illusion, and many more intriguing objects.

Kiranmala is an ordinary 12-year-old girl living with her parents in New Jersey. Her parents often told her stories about the Rakkhosh demons. They also insisted that Kiranmala was a real Indian princess. On the auspicious occasion of her twelfth birthday, her parents go missing. All they have left behind is a half-written letter, some Indian rupees, and a moving map. Kiranmala is clueless about the whereabouts of her parents.

Even though she grew up listening to stories of Indian princesses and the Rakkhosh monsters, Kiranmala finds herself unprepared for what lies ahead. In the meantime, two boys turn up on her doorstep to help her. The trio barely manages to escape a certain death at the hands of a ravenous demon. They then set out on a breathtaking journey to another dimension.

The novel is highly inspired from Bengali folklore. It takes the readers on an awe-inspiring adventure that includes shifting lands, underwater snake palaces, black holes, demon states, and a lot more. Toward the end of the book, DasGupta also provides a summary of the folk tales that inspired her to write the novel.

The 368-page hardcover novel is an ideal gift for young children. The cover is impressive with an illustration of young Kiranmala and the Serpent King. The black-and-white illustrations by Vivienne further add to the appeal of the book.

Ameya Rating:

The Serpent’s Secret is a children’s fantasy book. It deserves a 3-star score for its interesting depiction of the magical kingdoms. Kiranmala is a silly and goofy character who immediately strikes a chord with young minds. She proves that anyone can be a superhero if and when the need arises. Her bravery and undying spirit make her a true icon.

The simple and plain language makes it easy for children to comprehend the story. The vivid descriptions contained in the book successfully stoke up children’s imagination and take them on a thrilling ride of the magical worlds.

…now that you’re here

As you might know, Ameya runs on a purely non-profit basis. With no tangible products on offer, advertisements and donations are our only two sources of keeping this blog up and running. You could convey your support to us with something as little as $5 - that's less than what an average Starbucks would cost!