Empire by Devi Yesodharan

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Name         – Empire

Author                  -Devi Yesodharan
Publisher              – Juggernaut Books
Number of Pages – 328
Publishing Year   – 2017
Edition                  – Hardcover
                    – 599
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Rating : 3.5

My Review

Mythological and historical fiction is the new trend in Indian Literature. There has been a surge of books with several definitions and versions of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Freedom Struggle, and India’s wars but little has been written these days about the forgotten reign of kings of one of the longest ruling empire in the Southern India, The Chola Dynasty. Ms. Yasodharan has unveiled the era with a fictional element of Aremis.

The rich Indian port Nagapattinam is attacked by a Greek pirate ship. While they expect to loot the port and get back to their kingdom overnight, it does not to occur to them how prepared and unbeatable the naval forces of their adversary has been. Defeated pathetically, the Greek are forced by Ananta, the supreme commander of the Indian Emperor, to concur to the treaty containing terms and conditions put forwards by the Cholans. Hundred gold coins, three of their undamaged ships and sixty of their able bodied young men below the age of fourteen are the conditions of the treaty. To find an unharmed soldier after a battle in which they were brutally defeated was nearly impossible. All that the Greek commander could rustle up is twenty soldiers of their first battle, two cooks and one eleven-year old girl. To his surprise, Anantha accepts the captors including the girl.

The girls Aremis, grows in the Indian soil, trained by Shrey, to b sculpted as a fine warrior. Slowly, she makes her weakness her strength and starts fighting with brain. However talented she proves her to be, she is treated as a useless foreigner by her peers even after her emperor trusts her to guard his person. 

The plot is unique and it is to be encouraged that the protagonist is a woman, contrary to the male dominated character build up seen off late in the similar genres. Author shows how a woman uses her weaknesses smartly and make them her strength. It is not easy for a girls to survive in the male world. Aremis’s determination and focus is too good to be true. The story is solely about Aremis. It is also about a dynasty ruled by a king who is never satisfied with the conquest, for whom war is an intoxication. The story is not just about Rajendra Chola, Chola Dynasty and Aremis, it is also about the fights wars, Srivijayans and Song China.
The book seems to be a bit longer than required. One more round of developmental edit is required.

This review is in return of a free book from the publisher  

About the author

Devi Yesodharan was a speech-writer for Infosys chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy. Now, when she isn’t obsessively reading up on the Cholas, she works as a co-founder on Trendlyne, a financial investing platform. Empire is her first novel.

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