Friday, January 11, 2019

Book Review - A Historical Fiction - The Silent Witness by Anuradha

Frankly speaking, if you would like to read historical fiction of a region (state or city) then look for a book written by locals in their native language. If you can not read in the native language, then check the translated edition. You will not get the same level of satisfaction from non-native's work. At least that is my experience till now. I have read K M Munshi's "Glory of Patan", "King/Master of Gujarat" & "King of King". Same way I have read Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan's translation by Sumeetha Manikandan. "The Silent Witness" by Anuradha has touched the same level for me. I loved the book.


Book Blurb
A thrilling saga of loyalty, deceit, love and war. Seventeenth century Malabar. Law and order lay in shambles as the Portuguese terrorize the locals. Native kings troop in separate camps for and against the foreign invaders. The rift is so deep that Samoothiri of Calicut, the sworn enemy of the Kochi kingdom, has finally decided to join forces with Kochi to fight the outsiders. In a dramatic turn of events, the heir to the Kochi throne, Kerala Varma and his brother, Veera Kerala Varma, go into exile in guise of sanyasis to escape the Portuguese. During their journey, Veera Kerala Verma falls in love with Unnimaya, the gorgeous niece of the army chief of Chempakassery Raja, a major Portuguese ally. Another storm is brewing in the horizon. The Dutch, seizing the opportunity to topple the Portuguese rule, plan to partner with Kerala Varma and Samoothiri. Will they succeed. Who will rule Kochi next. Will Veera Kerala Varma’s and Unnimaya’s love triumph above duty.
Focused around the Seventeenth century when the Portuguese were losing their control over Indian (southern) nations due to Dutch aggression & local government/kingdoms' freedom struggle. The story started with Portuguese were still trying their best to keep things in control. The kingdom of Kochi was about to receive its beloved king in form of Prince Kerala Varma. But due to the betrayal of a minister & rival royal family, the prince was denied his due rights just an hour before his coronation. The prince along with his brother Veera Kerela Verma went into the exile (underground) for time being. On the other hand, the king of Samoothiri Kingdom has extended his hand of friendship towards Kochi over years of rivalry. There were many other local chieftains & minister who may give support to Prince. But fighting a war in open with Portuguese was a major concern for the prince. Would be able to overrule foreign invaders? Would be able to handle Dutch inclusion if takes their help? Read the book to know more.

The more I read the book, more I was convinced that inspiration behind Anuraadha is same that was behind Munshi & Kalki. The way story unfolded with characters, it will take you on a historical movie. My personal favorite characters are Prince's brother Veera Kerela Verma & his lover Unnimaya. Lovers' story & struggle gives entertainment/softness to the book. Wherein war, strategies & conspiracy gives an element of engagement & interest. On top of that sketched prepared by artist Namboodiri for various character also let you visualize how they would look like. (Again same in Munshi's original edition has many characters' sketches)

The only problem I faced was following character & locations' name, it took me 50% of the book to follow without checking important character page.

Ratings 
  1. Cover - 5/5
  2. Content - 4/5
  3. Characters - 4/5
  4. Overall - 4.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

We have heard positive review about the prequel of this book "The Saga of Black Gold", we have already added this book in our wishlist.
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