A typical Ashwin Sanghi novel with all the elements that appear in all his books. If you have read his books before you will understand what I mean…….Here are some obvious examples:
- A roller coaster ride between the between the past and the present – I was shuttled between 340 BC and current day India to the extend that that my head was spinning – only this time the plot was about is about a king maker creating a King!
- Bollywoodish with a new spin on the rags to riches story – If Chanakya created Chandragupta Maurya by selecting the smartest kid from a group of children playing “King and subjects” we have Gangasagar Mishra who creates India’s woman prime minister by selecting an intelligent girl called Chandini from the slums of Utter Pradesh!
- 2 story lines and Information overload – In typical Sanghi style, a parallel is drawn between the two stories. The reader is exposed to loads of political strategies of modern India and 340 BC. There is an overload of information on almost everything and anything – politics, dirty politics, assassination plots, weird sexual encounters, the art of black mailing…..get what I mean?
- Climax – As with his other by the author and the climax of the book is a bit of a let down like his other books! The way this long book ended just didn’t do justice to the everything that the reader has read in the previous pages
The most interesting parts of the book were definitely the chapters on Chanakya and his political games. Chankaya is portrayed as a brilliant strategist and an intelligent king-maker. The reader has a glimpse of Chankya’s past and his motivation to morph from being obscure Brahmin to a king-maker. This portrayal is something that we would not have studied in our history books that just mention Takshila and the Arthasasthra.
I loved the chapters steeped deep in history while compared to the chapters on present day politics and to be honest, I had skip many sections on political processes and talks as they were too overwhelming for me! It was so overwhelming that I forgot the plot many times and had to refer to the chapters that I had completed to get on track again. It was very refreshing to read about the Greek and Persian invasions and also a glimpse at the character profile of Alexander the great and his strategy to invade the conquer the world.
However, the book is a pretty good read and will definitely be a page turner for those who love to read about politics. Another feature that goes for this book is the fact that the author is able to tie the threads between the various plots and sub-plots with great ease! I mean I forgot many of the sub-plots, but I had to mention this as I am sure that this is no easy task for any writer. The book exposes the underbelly of political chaos and its murky details in India – a place where thugs rule with loads of shady elements and ever bigger thugs for company. The saving grace was the fact that at the end of it, good triumphs over evil 🙂 I guess I was disappointed as I expected a book that was not so political…..
“The early bird catches the bird, but it is the second mouse which gets the cheese”. More like someone does all the work, but then I storm in and get all the credit!! This oft repeated line throughout the book took my fancy and it clearly describes the state of politics and corporate life and maybe other professions that people choose to pursue.
Did I mention that it took me ages to complete the book!
I have enjoyed all books by Ashwin Sanghi, but one can’t shake the feeling of “If you have read one book, you have read them all!”. I am definitely looking forward to get my hands on Ashok Bankers of the Maurya dynasty; more history and less straying away from the plot I am sure 🙂