Title: Yoddha – The Dynasty of Samudragupta
Author: Rajat Pillai
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Rajat Pillai’s ‘Yoddha — The Dynasty of Samudragupta’ is a valuable contribution to the evaluation of our knowledge about one of the greatest rulers to have ruled the Indian soil. It is a briskly written, lively and accomplished account of history that readers will be able to sink their teeth into.
We all know that history has been told and retold by generations and that not everything that is publicized in the name of history should be believed. The only truth about history is that it is written by winners to meet their own ends.
As such, what little we know about Samudragupta and his vast achievements are from the inscriptions and retellings of accounts from his life scattered throughout the Indian subcontinent. Even with all the difficulties involved in uncovering the historical reality, Pillai has nevertheless proved through his writings that one can, with reasonable certainty, say quite a lot that is true about these lost legends. He, however, also adds that in his present historical fiction, he has taken poetic liberty to justify a lot of incidents that he mentions in his book.
Not only do we get to read about Samudragupta, Chandragupta Vikramaditya too finds equal importance in Pillai’s version of one of the most illustrious clans in Indian history. As the story open, we realize that the much-loved king, Samudragupta, did not get along well with his extended family, who wanted to see him dead. He becomes so terrified about the safety of his children that he sends both his sons away from the grandiose of the palace life to be brought up in a natural environment. Things however do not go as planned and both his sons came back only to be caught up in a vicious web. Young Chandra has to wage a battle not only for his identity but also for his sanity. The story ends with Chandra taking up the reigns of the Gupta dynasty and keeping a watchful eye on his enemies lurking everywhere.
Constructing the life of a legend from scraps can be challenging and yet Pillai has done a decent job. His characters take on a dynamic persona as they interact with each other, make schemes, and bid their time through a maze of lies, deceit, hidden truth, and jealousy. The way the story flows is appreciable. Pillai’s mastery over his language is substantiated by the fact that reading his book is effortless. The story has been written in a way to encompass the various stories of the Gupta period in an interesting manner.
Highly readable, Pillai’s Yoddha will be of interest to history buffs and thrill seekers alike.
Rajat Pillai is a graduate from IMI Delhi. He is the author of two previous novels – Chandragupta: Path of a Fallen Demi-God and The Dead Woman Writing.
I'd like to thank the publisher for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!
* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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