Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Book Review - The Boy from Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra

You can take one of the heroes from history or mythology and recreate their journey as your story. But creating a completely new character in parallel to a historic hero and taking your reader to this new character's journey with equal enthusiasm is a challenging task. Rahul Mitra in his book "The Boy From Patliputra" has done a wonderful job by creating the story of Aditya in the timeline of Chanakya and Chandragupta Maurya.

Book Blurb
It is 326 BC and Alexander, the barbarian king of Macedonia, has descended upon Bharatvarsha with a multi-national horde of Yavanas, Pahlavas, Shakas and Bahlikas.
As the invader advances relentlessly and wins bloody battles in quick succession, as local rulers fall over each other to shake hands with the enemy and as the students of Takshashila University break into open revolt, one young man is faced with a terrifying choice, a choice that threatens to tear his carefully constructed world apart. for Aditya is the boy from Pataliputra, the boy who was once a reckless and carefree aristocrat, but who has now been forced to become a man with a purpose to fight for honour and love.
With a sweeping narrative and interesting everyday characters like the smelly old dhaba owner Tanku, Philotas the unlucky Greek soldier, the no-nonsense medical student Radha, Pandi the hard drinking mercenary and the lovely Devika, the Boy from Pataliputra is the mesmerizing story of a young man’s growth to maturity, but also, equally, a story about the rise of a nation.
Aditya, the main protagonist of the story, is our boy from Patliputra. Being born in the upper caste families and brother of petrol guards of the city, Aditya was a spoilt teen. Roaming freely and carelessly was his favorite time pass. Even at sixteen when most of the people of his age started settling down, he was not serious about life. All he cared about was his horse and hunting with his Chandal (low caste) friends. Sometimes it takes just a small spark to destroy the whole forest. A similar fire had destroyed Aditya's life when his brother was sentenced to death due to corrupt and irresponsible governance in Pataliputra. Things that were taken place during that incident had changed complete future of Aditya. He left Magadha and went with a caravan to Takshashila. Life was never same for Aditya after he left Magadha. He went through the complete transformation. Things in Takshashila started on mixed track and shifted to better with passing times. But they say only change is constant. A threat was lurking on Bharatvarsha. The Alexander was preparing for a war against Indian ganarajyas. Aditya was about to get into this massive whirlpool.

I never say no to Historical or Mythological fictions. When I first got my hands on this book I was under impression that book might be about Chanakya or Chandragupta. But the author has completely new plot under his sleeves. This first part is divided into three parts: Transformation of Aditya, Progress of Aditya in Takshashila, Alexandar's entry into India. 
  • I liked the way story evolved in the first part especially after Aditya left Pataliputra. His journey towards Takshashila reminded me Shiva's journey towards Nashik from Shiva trilogy. 
  • The second part was mixed with medium pace along with one of two fast pace incidents. This part has more resemblance with one's college life. Well at the same time, the author has also maintained enough political and war tempo to remind user they are reading historical fiction around war. 
  • As everyone knew the role of Chanakya and Takshashila University during Alexandar's seize, the third part had covered it till war of Alexandar with Porus (Puru). This part was like a fantastic cherry on a cake. I finished this part uninterrupted.

Though it was a historical fiction, the author has wonderfully portrayed few nostalgic points that can remind us our college life:
  • Aditya's hopeless love towards Devika can remind you many of your college friends who run after girls even after knowing they are not destined to be one.
  • Aditya's experience and fun in drunkard state. One can easily correlate with hostel fun.
  • Aditya's visit to Tanku's can remind you college canteen visit, where people sit gossip about various things. And Tanku will remind you that moody canteen owner.

I will eagerly wait for the next book in series. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover - 4 / 5
  2. Characters - 4.5 / 5
  3. Storyline - 4 / 5
  4. Content - 4 / 5
  5. Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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