Here’s my review for the book titled The Prince of Patliputra written by Shreyas Bhave.
To start, let me take a moment to appreciate the book cover. It is a map of Akhand Bharat that Maurya used to rule. The map on cover successfully makes top-of-the-mind impact and makes to you want the book. Cover quality and binding of the book is good, no complaint regarding it. I took 10 days to read the book but still it is as new as it was when I received.
Now thanking the author himself for finding me and sending me the autographed copy of the book. This is a generous act by a 21 years old debutant author. Really appreciate it!
The story of the book starts with a prologue that is absolutely brilliant. It is nicely and smartly written one which will make you turn the pages quickly. The list of characters and the position they hold is listed at the very beginning which is quite helpful. The first thing I noticed about the book was the word “Asoka”; the author has used it instead of famous name “Ashoka”.
The first scene starts with Tissa, who is brother of Maharaja Sushem and son of Samrat Bindusar. Initially it looks it the author is trying to create a plot for the story. However the brotherly relation between two of them are nicely narrated in this chapter and in the forthcoming chapters as well. Then characters of Radhagupta, Chanakya and Asoka are introduced. The story goes fifty years back, to the time when Chandragupta Maurya was on the rise in Taxila. All these chapters look decent and like I said, somehow setting the plot for the upcoming story.
When someone writes a historic-fiction, especially about Mauryas, it is quite common that the whole story revolves around Chanakya but Shreyas Bhave has walked a different. He has given enough importance to characters like Radhagupta, Sush7em, Tissa, Asoka, Hariharan, etc. At some occasions I felt like the events, time-line and relations between characters can be a subject of debate on the ground of history.
The book has two parallel storylines, one of Asoka and the second of Chandragupta. While Asoka is sent to battle against the rebels of Avanti, Chandragupta is seen in the action to stop Alexander’s march to conquer whole Bharat. Asoka meets Devi lost his heart to her very soon. Chanakya tries to unit Rajas of Bharat to battle against foreign invader. The two timelines are well narrated but I find that at some stages is stretched a little too far which is bit boring. I found Asoka’s journey to Avanti through Vidishanagri very well written compared to Chanakya-Chandragupta storyline.
Few things like Ashwamegh Yajna by Sushem, Chanakya meeting Avark, Puru battling Alexander, Asoka dealing with rebels… makes the books a pure page-turner. Very big part of the book is occupied with the ancient thinking of only Brahmin and Kshatriya should be on the privileged positions of the kingdom. It is very well researched narration of how big issue ‘caste’ was in the ancient time. I do not wish to give any spoiler here because I believe that giving this book one read is definitely worth the money you’ll need to spend.
In the book you’ll find two young hearts falling in love and striving to keep their love alive. You’ll read about how people who are in blood-relations are ready to kill each other for the throne. When it is question of money and power, no one can be trusted and that’s what the book states very well. How caste and religion were most dominating factors and people will not think even for a moment to kill others in the name of religion’s pride, you will get very clear display of it.
To conclude my short review, I will say that this book is a promising one which will make you wait for the next book of the Asoka Trilogy. I am giving this book 4.5 star out of 5.