Tuesday 12 February 2013

The Seeds Of War by Ashok K. Banker

Indian mythology or mythological fiction caught my fancy ever since I read a few books in this genre after a few recommendations from a blogger friend. Ashok Banker is a prominent name when it comes to Indian mythology. I have read a few books of the Ramayana series by the author and I thoroughly enjoyed them. That is why when I got an opportunity to review the author's book 'The Seeds of War', I literally jumped at the opportunity. This is the 2nd book of his Mahabharata series, the first one being 'The Forest of Stories'. I haven't read the first book but, I am going to get myself a copy soon. I generally read the books in a series in its chronological order but, here I let go the rule as I am somewhat familiar with the epic.


The Seeds of War, Book Two in Ashok Banker's MBA series, introduces us to the elder protagonists of the epic, as well as some of the great loves and lusts, friendships and enmities, politics and self-sacrifice that will lay the seeds that will eventually fester and erupt into the mother of all wars. At first it may seem that the journey is the reward,with seemingly unrelated love stories, fantastical tales of exploits in the heavenly realms, divine pacts and demoniac trysts. But it soon becomes evident that all these form a tapestry revealing the grandeur and glamour of the Kuru Bharata race itself, the growing descendants of the original tribe that established perhaps the greatest and oldest human civilization ever known in recorded history. Their loves and enmities are epic, their stories astonishing, their personalities mercurial. Every page you turn reveals magical new thrills and wonders. As one larger-than-life personality after another strides onstage, the drama ratchets up to thriller level, the arrow swarms begin to fly and conflicts turn ugly as the author of the Ramayana Series once again proves himself the master of epics.

When you pick up a Ashok Banker book, be sure that, you would be transported into the wonderful world of mythology with great characters and stories. If you pick this book, do read the introduction part where the author tells us what to expect from the book. In the words of the author:

“This is not an epic fantasy. This is not a sci-fi rendition. It is not a futuristic version. If you are expecting any of these things, you’re going to be disappointed. This is simply the Mahabharata of Krishna Dweipayana Vyasa retold by one man. That man is me, of course."

Disappointment is far from what you will feel after having read this book. You will be left wanting for more. The novel takes us through story of Devayani, the daughter of Sukracharya, and Kacha, the son of Brihaspati and then moves on to the tale of Yayati. From there it moves to the life of Shantanu and Ganga, leading to the story of Devavrata, later known as Bhisma. All these stories are greatly interconnected and in due time, their correlation will reflect on the Great War - Mahabharata. Unlike the Ramayana series where the author had taken creative liberties in narrating the epic, here the author says, he has reminded true to the original Mahabharata by Vyasa.

The best thing about the author's work is his narration style. It keeps you glued, interested and riveted. The characters comes live and you can picture every scene in your mind. In short, you are transported to that era! There are many stories or parts of it that I was familiar with, but not a single time I felt a dull moment. That is the beauty of the epic but coupled with the author's narration, it was simply absorbing and very much worth reading.

If you the slightest interest in Indian mythology, you can't miss this one. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Reviews Program. for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books! Thank you Blog adda for giving me the opportunity.

Thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Like most Indian children, I grew up on the stories of the Mahabharata and was delighted to revisit them in Ashok Banker's Seeds of War.

    I loved the magical world he has recreated in simple language that captures the feel of a bygone past. Devayani and Yayati are some of the characters we meet in the second of a series which explain the root of the problem that results in the actual battle at Kurukshetra.

    This is a simple narration with no commentaries or explanations yet uncovers some basic truths and philosophy.

    Definitely a must read for Indophiles and lovers of mythology but if you can't get over the tongue twisting names - do avoid it.


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