Book Review: The Boy From Pataliputra


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Title: The Boy From Pataliputra
Author: Rahul Mitra
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing

Rating: 4/5

*** Spoiler Alert! ***

The Boy From Pataliputra by Rahul Mitra is a book set in the 4th century BC. It is about the journey of one boy, from Pataliputra, and his personal transformation through new experiences and affiliations that he comes across. The story is adventurous and straight, and at many places thought provoking.

The book begins with the introduction of two brothers, Ajeet and Aditya. Being the elder of the duo, Ajeet is the responsible one, pushing the care free Aditya to steady up and make something out of himself.  But Aditya learns it the hard way when Ajeet is framed and executed for a crime he did not commit. Shocked and resentful, Aditya is sent away to Takshashila under the guidance of Pandi, a merchant with excellent swordsmanship.

Takshashila opens up a new world of learning and opportunities for Aditya. Where on one hand Aditya is getting the pieces of his life together, on the other, Alexander is planning a startegic attack on the Indian subcontinent. The book ends with the Battle of Hydaspes between Alexander and King Puru, whose batallion also includes students from Takshashila such as Aditya and his friends.

Personally, I liked the book. The story is mainly about Aditya and his life which is sandwiched between Alexander's victory in Persia and the Battle of Hydaspes. Set in history, it is a fresh perspective from the author's eye who has included characters like Chanakya and Chandragupta into the story. The narrative is moderately paced and rightly so. There are some situations that need the subtlety and it is adequately provided.

The story is strong and interesting, making it a compulsive read till the end. The climax is definitely asking for a sequel. These kind of books would be great for a series, in my opinion. Anyway, The Boy From Pataliputra doesn't disappoint and is a result of some deep and thoughtful ideas.

A couple of quotes from the book may help support my conclusions.

"The point at which the mob realizes it's own might, is the crucial point of inflexion."

This quote was in reference to revolutions that have taken place since ages but there is a pattern to it that the elites are unaware of. It is so beautifully explained, worth pondering over. Another example:

"The struggle is not easy, it is hard and it takes time. Changing any situation takes time, whether it is that of your own life or the condition of our country."

The above quote is from a speech given by Chanakya. He urges his followers to keep patience and re equip themselves with zest, after they lose many comrades in the battlefield​. The logistics and startegies of this revered acharya haven't found a match yet, as we all know.

All in all, the book depicts the story of a careless person being moulded into a grounded and confident one through courage, humility, discipline. It is a great read and I would definitely recommend it.

*** This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. ***


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