Book of the Week #8:

The Prince of Patliputra,

by Shreyas Bhave

“What if you had hit me fatally, Buddhist?” Sushem asked him. “What then?”

Kanakdatta had laughed and said, “Then you would not have bought my bows?”

Now, as we approach the end of the second month of this blog, it is only fitting to feature a book that is more significant to me as a writer than as a reader.

And when an old junior from your college publishes a book based on your favourite historical figure which is then published by your very publishers, it is a big deal… Yeah, we even had the same project manager!

But having met the writer before reading the book, that is what makes this really special…

And, firstly, one must applaud the effort that must have gone into the research required to produce a book such as this one…

Writing a book in this genre, whether completely fiction or completely non-fiction, is in itself tough enough. Therefore, writing one that is midway between the two, and then ensuring the transitions between fact and fiction are seamless, must have been a colossal task…

Additionally, the brutal honesty with which the facts are portrayed, and here I am thinking about a particularly disgusting one, actually made me do some research of my own.

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

-Mark Twain, Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World

Stranger, yeah… But this disgusting? Ugh! I am glad Shreyas had at least warned me about it…

Now, I will have to admit, this book might be slightly difficult to follow for the uninitiated, particularly the first few chapters.

The plot, quite obviously and quite justifiably, is heavy on history, and the structure itself is not the simplest. However, the narrative style is lucid, and you don’t have to run to the dictionary every few sentences, so that does make things easier.

Another issue readers might have would be the fact that this is not really a complete story, instead just the first part of the story. And, as Sasori, my man, states clearly and repeatedly, I hate to be kept waiting…

However, as a writer, I am expecting similar complaints about my book as well, so I can really understand…

And, being as terrible as I am, I go one step further by just referring to my series as Series, and not as Trilogy, or Tetralogy, or Pentalogy

There is something novices should take a note of, from this book: How the timeline and location of this book form its plot, instead of being relegated to just the setting

It also highlights the pros and cons of choosing a domestic setting.


  • The readers, well, the domestic ones, are familiar with the setting, and to an extent, even with the plot. Still, this familiarity can work in favour of the writer, in terms of interest and anticipation, and really just resonance.
  • The writer gets the use the quintessential Ashoka Chakra every-freaking-where! That is a major bonus. Bumbling your way through foreign symbology, looking for an apt logo, is not among the most productive of activities.
  • Bumbling through foreign anything is not very productive. It is better to work with what you do know, or what you are in a position to find out.


  • The readers are familiar with the setting and the plot. This familiarity can work against the writer, in terms of strong pre-existing notions, or in some cases, just the sheer monotony.
  • It may not appeal as much to the global audiences.

That turned into a tutorial real fast, did it not? I should probably reel it in…

Now, to whom would I recommend this book?

  1. Whoever loved history as a kid would definitely love this.
  2. Whoever did not love history as a kid should really give it a try, to see what history can feel like, if you just add a little imagination to it…

Okay, so that covers all the kids there are, right?

Now, you can find the book here:

Well, that is all for today.

Thank you.

Published by

Yashas Mahajan

Author of Arrkaya: Origins, now available online... Increasingly being referred to as The Writer Guy...

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