If you have any interest in retelling of Hindu mythology, it is almost impossible that you haven’t heard of Ashok Banker. With over 63 books from various genres like science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime, thriller stories, and novels to his credit, he is one of the best known and internationally acclaimed Indian authors. So when he decides to narrate the story of one of the most intriguing characters of Indian history, Chanakya, you know you have to read this one.
Chanakya, is the first book in the trilogy and it lays the foundation for the next books. Everyone is more or less aware of the political and economic acumen of Chanakya in the Mauryan empire but hardly anything has been written about his early years. Chanakya or Vishnu Gupta with an extraordinary prowess to grasp the teachings of historical literature often stood out in his peer group. His mentors and gurus were not only dumbfounded by his capacity to learn the difficult shlokas and versus but also failed at times to answer the very many doubts and questions.
Vishnu Gupta’s mundane life in the village takes an important turn when his father comes to Pataliputra to attend a conference of learned scholars from all over the country. What these naïve citizens did not know was that the kingdom which was famous for its glamour and greatness also had an underbelly of violence, crime, injustice and cruelty. The empire was being run parallel by two rulers- a clueless emperor who thought he controlled the kingdom and a “Rakshasa” who remained obscure but had a minute grasp over every single element. With his unscrupulous means, he makes sure that the real power remains in his hands. Vishnu Gupta and his simple family are pulled in the vortex of this dark side of the city. Vishnu’s sharp intellect does not fail to realize that the only way to remain safe and bring about the desired change in the society is to stay back. Thus begins the journey of seven-year-old Brahmin lad to become the remarkable individual that changed the course of history in the coming years.
In Banker’s typical writing style, he keeps the story simple yet interesting, a real page-turner if you will. You might have heard the anecdotes earlier but they still seem new. Overall, the book is captivating and can be finished in a couple of days. This first book of the trilogy has certainly done a great job of leaving us craving for the next ones in the series. I, for sure, will eagerly wait for what Banker has to tell us about Chanakya.
About the Author: Ashok Kumar Banker is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of over 63 books, which have sold over 3.2 million copies in 21 languages and 61 countries. He has been credited (by The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, among others) with having pioneered English-language genre fiction as well as English-language television serials in India. His ground-breaking internationally acclaimed eight-book Ramayana Series was the first trilogy, series, and SFF genre fiction in English published in India. (Source: http://www.ashokkbanker.com/home/about/)
I received a free copy of this book from WritersMelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.