REVIEWS

The Boy from Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra- Review

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The Boy from Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Pages: 356 pages
  • Format: Paperback
  • Author: Rahul Mitra
  • Publishing Date: 15th March 2017
  • Publisher: Fingerprint Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 8175994371
  • ISBN-13: 978-8175994379

Review:

The first thing that hits you when you read this book is how much research the author has done to represent the historical background accurately. In the front of the book, three maps are included to give a broad understanding of ancient India. Also thorough notes at the end of the book are very helpful for readers like me who are not well versed with Indian history. Mr. Mitra has used many ancient words in the story which was a little confusing for me. But the notes at the end of book helped me a lot.

When I received this book for review, I thought that the story might be about Chanakya or Chandragupta. But set against the backdrop of Alexander’s invasion of India, this tale is actually about a boy Aditya (from Patliputra) and his journey from being a wayward aristocrat to a dignified man with principles.

Story is divided in three segments; the first part is about Aditya and his elder brother Ajeet who works in Magadha’s task force. They live in the capital Pataliputra. Though Ajeet reprimands Aditya for his carefree behavior, he also loves him to bits. Everything seems fine until one unfortunate incident turns Aditya’s life topsy-turvy and forces him to live a life of a runaway.

Part two is all about how Aditya with the help of his friends, takes the reins of his life in his owns hands and changes his destiny. He lives in the city of Takshashila now and has finally achieved everything; a fine job in King’s army, reputation in society and a beautiful girl whom he loves.

But just when everything seems alright, a new dark threat in the form of Alexander hovers over Bharatvarsha. After the conquest of Persepolis; capital of Persian empire, he is on his way to conquer and obliterate India. As all the local rulers shake hands with  the enemy, the students of Takshashila University including Aditya’s friends declare open rebellion to upheld Chanakya’s ideology of Akhanda Bharat. Aditya is in a quandary. What will he do in such a situation? Will he tear apart his carefully constructed world for the future of India?

Author has perfectly amalgamated fantasy with reality. I loved the fact that rather than distorting the actual historical facts and the stories of real historical figures from Maurya Dynasty, Mr. Mitra crafted a tale of a completely new fictional character set against the tumultuous backdrop of Alexandar’s invasion of India in 4th century BC. Also there is a lot of information about India’s internal politics of that period. For example, though fictional it gives us an insight into turbulent relationship between Kingdom of Magadha and Bauddha Bhikkshus . It was also interesting to read author’s  viewpoint on ‘As a King treats another King’ in the notes section.

I liked the language used by the author, which is a blend of modern day vocabulary with ancient words. The narrative would have turned into a boring essay if he had only used archaic words. The usage of modern day words made the conversations interesting. However my only issue with the story is its underdeveloped characters. Apart from the main protagonist, most of the secondary characters lack depth. To spice up the story, there should have been a little bit more focus on atleast some of the characters.

Considering this is author’s first book, he did a fantastic job of merging history with fiction. The story surely didn’t disappoint me. Also the cover of the book is enchanting. I am eagerly waiting for the next book in the Pataliputra Trilogy.

My Rating: 3/5

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