Saturday, October 13, 2018

A must read historical fiction - Storm from Taxila by Shreyas Bhave

I was eagerly waiting for this sequel of Asoka Trilogy - Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave because I was completely flat when I have read the first part - “The Prince of Patliputra”.  I had almost lost hope of the next part after waiting for a year. (I have seen or left tracking many such good book’s sequels in past) Luckily 2 months back Leadstart publishing newsletter brought me good news of this part. And again my attention stuck to the book and started waiting for the book to reach my doorstep. I have received the book 2 weeks back. I could have finished book earlier if I was not busy with some important work.


Book Blurb
Everyone knows the name of Asoka but few know about his life beyond the sketchiest of details. This trilogy, based on ancient texts as well as folklore, attempts to give new life to a riveting tale. Uniquely conceived, the narrative juxtaposes two timelines, fifty years apart, drawing haunting parallels between them. The first features Chandragupta Maurya and his legendary Guru, Chanakya; the second, his grandson Asoka, and his Advisor, Radhagupta. The style is compelling, the action fast moving. Peopled by unforgettable characters, emotions, situations and events, the narrative has the irresistible force of destiny in a larger than life drama. A classic series that will remain relevant reading decade after decade 
When I have finished the 1st part, there were many questions in my mind which required next volume. How would Sushem react to the killing of Ashwamedha Yagya horse? How will fight between Asoka & Sushem fare? How will Chanakya and/or Radhagupta use their cunning methodologies in their favor? Well, to address these questions along with many new revelations “The Storm from Taxila” is presented to fan like us.

Multiple threads in the timeline of Ashoka started with this part. Radhagupta was included in the Ancient Brahminical order and given the task to free Hariharan from the clutches of Shiva. Asoka was secretly approaching Patliputra, later on, he was inducted inside the city as crown prince. Sushem started marching with his full army towards Patliputra to get his birthright and to knock some sense in Ashoka’s mind. Hardeo marched towards Junagarh to buy salt pans of Saurashtra. And as usual, Chanakya was preparing Patliputra for coming storm. In another parallel, during Chandragupta’s time, Chandragupta was approaching Patliputra to dethrone Nanda. He had taken Guidance of Chanakya and help of Malayketu (Puru King’s son). The story ended with Ashoka and Chandragupta’ coronation in their respective timeline. But that doesn’t mean the end. 3rd part of the trilogy will come soon.

The gem of the story is characterization. Especially characters like Chanakya, Radhagupta, Chandragupta, Ashoka, Devi, Malayketu. Due to the limit, I will explain two characters here. Let’s take the example of Chanakya, in the first part he was a clear hero (though shrewd and cunning) the second part makes you feel that from heroism his portrayal shifted to neutral or semi-antagonist, an authoritative strictly egocentric character. Likewise, Malayketu who was shown as pain in a** in the beginning, you will feel pity for him by the end of the book. Though we thought it is the story between Chandragupta & Nanda or Ashoka & Sushem both heroes are considerably sidelined to give the canvas to more important characters. I know it is difficult to digest but read the book to know more.

I have already mentioned that Chanakya has never opened the secrets through which he had achieved his goals, all we have are estimates. Shreyas has used the best possible ways to bring it to us with help of his own imagination. I would say a must read. And one of the best grab in the historical fiction genre.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 4/5 (better than last part, still can be improved)
  2. Concept - 4.5/5
  3. Characters - 5/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads
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