Reviewer : Puja Roy

Puja is an avid reader who loves to explore life’s various facets and bring them out through her short stories. A Copywriter by profession, she also blogs at speakometer.wordpress.com.

~ Review ~

Though historians have produced varied versions of the different dynasties that ruled our country, by far the Gupta period has been considered as the ‘Golden era’ of Indian History. Rajat Pillai, the author of “Yoddha the dynasty of Samudragupta” tries to retell a complex episode of that period in an interesting and realistic manner.

The story begins at a time when Samudragupta, after his lifelong battles and huge territorial success, is an accomplished king. However, he is an exhausted man. He has just won a battle, has his trusted loyal friend Harisena by his side, but his heart aches for something else. He is the king and the most powerful man of ‘Aryavrat’. But there are other things in life that he wishes to enjoy now, after years of hardship and bloodshed which being a king, he had to endure.

Samudragupta for all these years has kept both his sons away from common knowledge. His elder son Ramagupta has been raised as a normal boy in the military camps and his younger son Chandragupta or ‘Chandra,’ as he was fondly called by his foster parents, was raised as a village boy unaware of his ancestry. Samrat Samudragupta battled death conspiracies keeping his enemies at bay for all these years. He doesn’t want his beloved sons to become a victim of hatred, like him. Hence, he had kept them away, far detached from his kingdom. But now its time to bring them back to the kingdom and declare his elder son as the crown king.

The storyline widens after this, as we come to know that a mysterious ‘source’ has deployed a secret spy to kill Samudragupta. This killer, whose real identity is unknown till the very end of the book, makes clever and dangerous attempts to kill Samudragupta but misses his target each time. Meanwhile, the king’s younger son Chandragupta too becomes the victim of personal vendetta as he endures multiple attacks from unknown sources.

Towards the end of the book, we get to know who these conspirators were and what were their real motives to do so. Through a heroic battle with his own kith and kin, Chandragupta emerges as a promising prince and realises that the purpose of his life is to protect ‘Aryavrat’ like his father.

Partly thriller and partly historical, this fictional story explores various incidents unfolding deep, dark secrets of the kingdom during the reign of Samudragupta, who at the end of his reign had brought most of the Central and Northern India under the control of the ‘Gupta empire’.

The language of the book is simple. Easy flow of an action-packed plot makes it gripping for the reader. The reader’s journey through the characters isn’t interrupted by a rather complex storyline, and that makes the book unputdownable till the last page. The kingdom of Magadha and its adjoining areas are extremely well depicted. With the turn of pages, the reader will get a chance to explore India’s ancient geographical territories and will also learn about many historical benchmarks that had brought the Gupta empire its timeless shine.

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