Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave is the second installment of the series called Asoka Trilogy. As the title of the series suggests, the books of this series are based on the life of Asoka, a well-renowned Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty. The Prince of Patliputra, the first book of the series, presented a brilliantly crafted tale of the initial years of Asoka, especially his military exploits before he became the emperor. The book not only entertained me but also left a long-lasting imprint on my heart. You can read my full review of the first book of this series here.
I was eagerly waiting for this second book of the series as the first book had concluded with a number of unanswered questions, in addition to impressing me on various levels. However, after waiting for more than a year and a half, I had started to lose hope of seeing the sequel in reality. There was no update and I felt that the second book of the series is somewhat not materialising. Therefore, my happiness knew no bounds when I came to know that the long-awaited sequel is finally coming. Finally, the book got published and I also got my hands on this book. And, as was the case with the first book, this second book too left a good impression on me. So, without much further ado, let’s talk about Storm From Taxila.
Storm From Taxila continues from where the first book left off. Things are pretty much same. The book again takes you into a magnificent world of politics, conspiracies, bravery, cowardice, loyalty, and betrayal. The plot continues to thicken and the central story keeps moving on. A number of new side-plots also develops and move along with the central story-line. As noted in the first book, Chandragupta Maurya’s story runs parallel to Asoka’s story-line in this book too. I won’t disclose anything about the main plot of this book as it might act as a spoiler. However, there is no harm in telling you that you will find answers to the unanswered questions left at the end of the first book. At the same time, you will get a new set of unanswered questions at the end of this book.
The thing that impressed me most about this book is the storytelling style of the author. Without even writing long descriptions of life during the Maurya period, the author has been successful in presenting the hustle and bustle of the Mauryan dynasty. The story moves at a fast speed and this pace has been maintained throughout the book. The characters have been sketched well. These are not black and white, and different shades of grey have been added to them. While Asoka is the main protagonist in this series, the character that impresses you the most is Chanakya. Chanakya, who served as the chief administrator of Chandragupta Maurya, has been depicted as playing an important role during Asoka’s reign too in this book. Now, historical records don’t give any reference of Asoka’s meeting with Chanakya but a look into chronological events suggests that Asoka must have met Chanakya. Whatever may be the case, Chanakya of this book is an attention-grabbing character. I loved the way his character has been portrayed in this book and also appreciated the different dimensions added to his character. It would be interesting to see how his character pens out in the last volume of the series. While I have no problem with the character of Asoka, I would love to see some new dimensions in his representation. Hopefully, I will get the same in the third book of the series.
The author delivered on all my expectations. In other words, this second book of the series definitely delivers on the promises the first book made. I will highly recommend this book to all the lovers of historical fiction. This book will not only entertain you but will also educate you. So, go for it!