Title: The Boy from Pataliputra
Author: Rahul Mitra
Publisher: Fingerprint Publishing
Price: Rs 295
Written by first-time author Rahul Mitra, it’s the story of young Aditya transforming into a man in his own right in the politically charged environment of Takshashila where Acharya Chanakya is gathering forces for a unified India, Chandragupta Maurya is establishing his hold as the people’s leader, as the barbarian king of Macedonia Alexander lets flow rivers of blood as he charges into Bharatvarsha, his last conquest to fulfil his dream of worldwide domination.
It’s 326 BC, and Mitra’s book is every bit as fast-paced as his protagonist’s beloved horse Ashvagosha. The reckless and free Aditya has to be smuggled out of Pataliputra, after his brother Ajeet was executed under false allegations and Aditya tries to kill the person responsible – Ajeet’s senior Indukalpa. The carefree aristocrat was suddenly shoved into a life of struggle and anonymity, where life teaches him the lessons of humility, inner strength, confidence and principles. Along the way, he meets a motley bunch in the studious Rishabh, the eccentric Charaka, the sporty Radha and teachers such as Pandi. The boy becomes a man, who joins the king’s guard to impress his girl Devika, only to be eventually pitted against his own friends and teachers who are rebelling against the king’s truce with Alexander.
Mitra’s narrative is detailed and his descriptions of Aditya’s swordfighting training as well as the Vasant Utsav horse race is so real, you feel you’re there witnessing the whole scene. Equally commendable is his characterisation, from the smelly, old dhaba owner Tanku to idiosyncacies of Rishabha, Charaka and Nala. Published by Fingerprint Publishing, The Boy from Pataliputra is a story that will transport you to a different era, each page keeping you hooked and leave you wanting for more.