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The Peshwa: The Lion and The Stallion Paperback – 5 Jan 2016
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An Amazon Rising Star of Spring 2016: Ram Sivasankaran’s debut book The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion gives us a riveting fictional account of the life and times of the warrior Peshwa Bajirao and his rise to power. When the Peshwa falls prey to a terrible illness and loses his life, the existence of the Maratha confederacy comes under threat on account of an impending Mughal invasion and the internal fight for dominance.
The book documents Bajirao Bhat’s struggle to rise beyond the grief of his father’s death and his limited military and administrative experience, to establish himself as a capable warrior and administrator.
This is a well-researched book with an engaging, fast-paced narrative. The writer tries to remain as authentic as possible to the real life events and characters he bases his story on; however it is important to note that this is ultimately a work of fiction, and not a history book, and thus it comes with its share of deviations from history.
The writer does a commendable job diving into the life and times of this brave and intriguing warrior from the lost pages of history, about whom not much is known.
Through the course of the book, the readers encounter lively images of a times gone by-of opulent courtrooms, passionate romances, grandiose costumes and epic battles scenes. These exquisite descriptions from the past will leave the lover of the historical fiction genre spellbound. -Amazon.in Editorial Reviews
About the Author
Ram Sivasankaran was born in Madras, India, but has spent most of his life abroad, largely in the Middle East and the United Stated of America. He was brought up on stories from Hindu legend and the great epics and classics of both India and the West. In addition to being a passionate student of history in school, Ram has built a keen interest in stories of valour, heroism, chivalry, beauty, and romance.
A daydreamer of sorts, Ram believes deeply in the power of imagination---the mind being the canvas on which even the seemingly talentless can create new universes, resurrect eras long gone, bring the gods to life and even revive heroes and damsels of yore. Ram makes his debut with a historical novel on one of the greatest and yet, to an extent, less known figure from Indian history---Bajirao Bhat, Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy, mighty warrior, hopeless romantic and one of the most dazzling examples of wartime courage, military readership and battle strategy.
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Bajirao is the son of Balaji Vishvanath Bhat and we see that he escorts along with him in many wars and negotiations. The Marathas are marching towards Delhi to negotiate for the release of Queen mother Yesubai who is still a royal hostage. During this travel we see that Balaji Vishvanath Bhat trains his son Bajirao in negotiation skills, understanding humans and also tests his wit and wisdom. We understand that the present Peshwa wishes to place his son Bajirao as the next Peshwa post his death.
During their, travel to the Mughal empire, Balaji Vishvanath Bhat unveils and defeats the plan of Nizam Ul Mulk. Nizam Ul Mulk is very loyal to the Mughal and wishes to see the empire reinstated in its past glory. The ridicule which this defeat of plans brings to the Nizam is borne by him with a spirit of vengeance. Post this we see that Balaji Vishvanath Bhat dies due to illness and we see the rise of a division within the Maratha confederacy. A huge responsibility befalls young Bajirao who though having very less experience in administration or warfare must now rise to the occasion in the most difficult of times.
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Ram Sivasankaran's book "The Peshwa: The Lion and The Stallion" mostly covers about the greatest Peshwa of the Maratha dynasty, Bajirao. This book covers a part of his lifetime with great detailing with splendid imagination and this book also gave some insights about his father, Balaji Vishwanath. The biggest plus of this book is the character sketches of these two personalities. In the beginning of the story, Balaji Vishwanath holds the title "Peshwa" and how his son Bajirao inherits the "Peshwa" title and gradually rises to power is superbly written. These two characters have both similar and different traits and the transfer of power from father to son is superbly written. Another character who impresses a lot is Kashibai, wife of Bajirao. Nizam's character is an other masterly written character and the way the author shows Nizam's hatred for Marathas was written in a fantastic manner. There are various other small characters who come in various parts of the story but leaves a strong impact, the character of commander Dabhade is one such example.
The speed of narration is like a super fast express and its difficult to stop reading once we start. Various emotions are beautifully blended in the story and these emotions act as the pillar of the story. The imagination of the author is exceptional and his words convert themselves into magnificent visuals and gets registered in the readers mind. His language is classy and simple and can easily travel to reader's mind. The detailing is as good as imagination and this book is a fusion of detailed real facts and striking imaginations of the author. There way, the story moves is unique and some of the events which unfold in the story are unpredictable.
Overall, this book is a remarkably written one and to celebrate our country's forgotten heroes, the Peshwas. With a sequel there for this book, we can expect an another masterpiece from the author. Expectations for the sequel rises and this brilliantly written book creates a curiosity among the readers to imagine, how the story moves in the sequel.
Verdict: Masterpiece from Ram Sivasankaran which will create a wave in historical fiction of India.
The book takes the readers on Bajirao Peshwa's journey from his birth to the first battle he wins against the Mughals. The characters of the storyline are well established and the action and drama are kept realistic. Bajirao's emotional and social face is very well explored. The reader feels like he is present in that era. But I must add, the illustrations felt a bit silly. They would have better not been there.
The epilog just introduces Mastani. The author may have a sequel in mind. The book, being a debut by the author, was very well written. However, for some reasons, it felt like the author is just testing the waters. It was a job well done.
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