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Ashwatthama's Redemption: The Rise of Dandak Paperback – 15 Sep 2018
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About the Author
Gunjan Porwal, engineer by day and writer by night, is fascinated by Indian mythology, especially the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2002, Gunjan worked in MNCs as an engineer while contemplating writing anything other than code.
Gunjan lives in Pune with his wife, children and parents. Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak is his debut novel.
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Let’s start with the subject on which the book has been written. It is more about what happened after the epic war of Mahabharata and it discusses the character of Ashwatthama briefly and tells every detail about his past and involvement in the mentioned war. He is already living in guilt of doing some bad karma during the war time but now there is a new challenge thrown upon him where he must fight the super-devils with extra power. He comes to know about a bow which if he gets, he would be able to defeat these super-powers and there starts the whole foundation and basis of this book.
The first half is very superb where the characters and their background is introduced. Each and every character is so nicely described that you can relate with them immediately. All the kings discussed in the book, majorly, Rana and Vikram, are very nicely handled throughout the book keeping their dignity in dialogues and conversation intact. Their chemistry with our protagonist is also very beautifully handled. The love angle between Urmila and Rana is also respectfully portrayed. The second half is more about the actions involved and has many such sections where you must play with your imaginations and relive every moment discussed in the story. The anti-climax and climax are beautifully closed out which also gives hope of the sequel and I must say which I very rarely feel, that I am wanting to read the 2nd part as soon as possible.
The mythological and fictional mixture is very perfectly handled by the author which does not insult one of our epic books, Mahabharata. Author has discussed Mahabharata in various parts as a conversation and through it, also tried to explain many spiritual and human concepts like karma, life, death, guilt, ego, mind games etc. Every instance of Lord Krishna is worth reading and re-reading in this book. Even the mention of Ramayana comes in between which is also interesting to read and how the karma of people in both the stories are connected due to being Avataras of the same God is an intriguing read altogether. Best part for which I would remember this book is whenever the Mahabharata is dictated in a conversation to any of the characters.
Talking about the drawbacks, I just felt that there was certain characteristics of each character being discussed initially but author could not do justice to everything that he mentioned about them. Except this, I believe this book is a must read for sure. I give it 4.5* out of 5. Recommended like anything.
The title and blurb compels one to lay one's hands on the book. In spite of it being the debut work of author Gunjan Porwal, the book emanates a flavour of seasoned writing through out. A lot of thorough study and research seems to have been done. Use of Sanskrit shlokas add a gleam to the book. Characters develop beautifully through the story. The best part about Ashwatthama's characterisation is that the author no where tries to justify his actions during the Kurukshetra war and yet succeeds to project the positive side of his character. Strong narration and seamless flow of events makes it a page turner. Nowhere, author tries to stretch the events too much. The only disturbing element was at certain places I found repetition of content especially stories from Kurukshetra battle. The book is an interesting foray for mythological fiction lovers and author has tastefully blended the two in this book. I will strongly recommend this book to the readers of this genre. Overall a 4.5/5 stars for me.
After a century of living in isolation, Ashwatthama is approached by his friend Vikram to help him in a quest. Ashwatthama is the only living person who can wield a mystical bow and Vikram needs his help in retrieving that bow and use it to fight with an ancient demon who is trying to resurrect after five thousand years. After much persuasion by Vikram Ashwatthama agrees and starts his journey to the Himavant. Later Rana and Urmila also join them in their journey and all four of them are all set to save the world. How can a cursed Ashwatthama wield a mystical bow? Who is trying to rise from the dead? Will Vikram and his friends retrieve that bow? How are they going to save the world?
This book is candy for all Indian mythology lovers. The only thing that I didn’t like about this book was that it is not finished and there will be a sequel. The narration and the plot were really good and gripping. The story can keep a reader hooked till the end. The writing style of the author was simple but catchy. The cover page is in shades of green with the picture of Ashwatthama wielding the bow which is very beautiful. What are you waiting for? Go buy this book now.
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