Book Review – The Mauryan: The Legend of Ashoka by Komal Bhanver

There are very few things that one remembers after school from all the lessons one sat through. And if it is history, I’d conveniently throw it out of my mind. Of the few things I remember, there’s the revolt of 1857 and some stuff about a few Indian kings and queens. Now, by Indian, I do not mean North Indian. They are a bunch of people who ruled various parts of the country North, south, east, west; Mughal, Rajput, Chola, Pandia etc.

One of those things I remember vividly is my teacher telling about emperor Asoka. After a war, all he could see was blood and all he could hear were wails. And this made him embrace Buddhism and the concept of peace. Very often I wonder why our history books endear to a few and not many. Komal Bhanver‘s The Mauryan: The Legend of Asoka is a book that fed my curiosity the way history textbooks couldn’t. Of course the element of fiction aside, the manner of the tale is captivating.

The Mauryan by Komal Bhanver

Asoka was born to King Bindusara and his second queen, Subhadragi. A son, whom the prophecies foretold as a ruler of epic proportions. But, Asoka was born weak and average looking. His father was unimpressed and showered his affection on his elder son Susima. Bindusara’s neglect of Ashoka only makes his mother more devoted to the purpose of raising an emperor worthy of the prophecy. He grows up to become a warm and capable boy. As time progresses we are shown glimpses of the future king in his actions and words. He wins over his teachers and everyone he meets with his personality, almost everyone except for Susima’s friends. Meanwhile, his brother continues to have the one thing he has always craved – his father’s love. Despite being a favourite of the courtiers and the general public Asoka still manages to come up lacking in his father’s eyes. The first book ends with Susima being declared the successor whole Ashoka stands by and watches.

The Mauryan, being the first part, aptly describes Asoka’s journey from birth to adulthood. As a young boy, as a student, falling in love, experiencing heartbreak… all of the usual stuff that any child would go through royal or otherwise. The telling of this tale is captivating and keeps the reader hooked. One almost feels sorry for Asoka yet continues to cheer for him.

This book being the first part of a trilogy has managed to set up the stage for a great play. With excellent backdrops, well-defined characters and brilliant writing The Mauryan: The Legend of Asoka was a good read. Komal Bhanver has managed to manage to put the intrigue in history. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second instalment of the series.

You can find a copy of The Mauryan: The Legend of Asoka here – Amazon, Flipkart, Kobo, AbeBooks.


The Mauryan: The Legend of AshokaThe Mauryan: The Legend of Ashoka by Komal Bhanver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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