Ravi Shankar Etteth's novel 'The Brahmin' unravels secrets and mysteries of Mauryan Empire under Emperor Asoka
Set with thrilling historical details and unforgettable characters, Ravi Shankar Etteth's novel 'The Brahmin' kept me glued from start to finish. The story of 'The Brahmin' revolves around a skillful and ruthless spymaster of Emperor Asoka's court, whose intelligence and cunning helps him to unravel a dangerous mystery of the 'Blood Flower' unfolding across the corridors of power.
What is it about 'The Brahmin' that allows him to be treated almost an equal by Emperor Asoka? He even commands the respect of Queen Asandhimitra, who comes to his advice as a friend. Her emotional dependence on 'the Brahmin' is clear as crystal, further strengthened in the narrative through scenes where it seems that she secretly adores the man who can safeguard her husband's powerful empire as well as command the loyalty of Greek soldiers like Antochlius.
More interestingly, the portrayal of powerful and fearless women warriors like Hao and beautiful enchantress like Mur, is fully in evidence in this thriller. The scene where the two women meet is packed with suspense, especially when Mur refers to the men with her, ''They are good men who will kill for me...I always choose the best fighters to accompany me when I travel."
Ravi Shankar Etteth's novel is one that takes you back in time and makes you ask questions about the little we know of our iconic Kings and Queens, who are celebrated in boring history books with equally boring details. Action-packed scenes and dramatic sequences that evolve in Emperor Asoka's court enthralled me about an era that we can otherwise imagine so little about.
But it also ends with a set of questions that we all can ask:
Why was violence a part of acceptable governance norms and great kingdoms?
What set of interests does violence and espionage serve in protecting legacy rule in a multi-cultural society like ours?
And how likely is it that this pattern continues to sow seeds of discontent and violence in today's world?
[Another Book Review: When the Chief Fell in Love]
Ravi Shankar Etteth's novel 'The Brahmin' is a striking, historical thriller that unravels the mysteries of the Mauryan empire under Asoka, with its fast paced, action-packed narrative that keeps readers curious and excited till they know what happens next. Go read it!