Book Review

Book Review: “The Boy from Pataliputra” by Rahul Mitra

Fiction based on historical events/personalities is one of those genres which are gradually getting popular among Indian readers. As a result, Indian bookshelves are gradually getting filled by such books. Indian readers are enjoying these books. I am also one of those readers who love reading historical fiction. For me, historical fiction can be an amazing foundation for reading history or learning about historical events. Therefore, I became really happy when I got an opportunity to read and review The Boy From Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra. And, I am happy to tell you that I made a right decision by accepting this book for review. The book did not disappoint me. The book has been published by Fingerprint! Publishing.

The book takes you to the 4th century BCE and specifically deal with the events related to Alexandra’s invasion of India. However, the book is not about the renowned historical personalities of that time. While readers find mentions of well-known historical figures like Chandragupta, Chanakya, Charaka and Alexandra, this book is not about them. The author has created his own characters and placed them in this prominent time period.

The main protagonist of this novel is Aditya, who is living a peaceful life with his elder brother Ajeet in Pataliputra (capital of Magadha). Ajeet somehow gets entangled in a web of political conspiracy and losses his life. This leaves Aditya heartbroken and he pledges to take revenge. Circumstances, though, also make Aditya a criminal in the eyes of law. One of Ajeet’s friends helps Aditya to escape from Pataliputra. He manages to reach the city of Takshashila. The story moves to Takshashila and we see a transformation in Aditya’s personality. In Takshashila, he starts as a porter but gradually achieves a higher position in the society. From being an irresponsible and carefree aristocrat in Pataliputra, he becomes a man with purpose in Takshashila.

The book is filled with a number of other interesting characters. Though most of these have been sketched well, some could have been developed further. The author has done a brilliant job of mingling historical facts with fiction. Readers slowly but surely become comfortable with the time period the book under review is dealing with. The book deals with different aspects of daily life of this time period and, in this way, creates an authentic backdrop for this novel. This shows that the author has done good research and tried to achieve as much historical accuracy as much he could. At the same time, the book is not just a dumping of historical facts here and there. On the other hand, it is a fast-paced historical thriller and is impossible to put down once you start reading it. There is almost everything that a well-written thriller should have.

The book contains well-illustrated maps in the beginning and comprehensive notes at the end. The inclusion of these enhances the quality of the book. The cover also looks effective. The editing, on the other hand, could have been better. The book appears to be the first part of a trilogy. However, nowhere on the cover, we find the mention of the same. This, according to me, should have been indicated on the cover page.

Overall, this is a book that I enjoyed reading and will confidently recommend to all.


 

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