It’s always bewitching to find historical fiction in the bookstores and in your bookshelves. It’s not just because for the information or the plot, it’s rather the landscapes they brief through which the characters saunter, the period or the century to which the plot and the characters belongs to, the kind of nostalgia it brings through the writings, all make the readers crave for historical fiction. Atleast that’s what I think of historical fiction.
And to my surprise there are very few books in English that has offered to describe in fiction about the stories of Cholas. Devi Yesodharan’s “EMPIRE” seems to fulfill that vague fissure by writing a plot set in Nagapattinam about Cholas. The interesting thing is that the plot follows the events that happen after a foreigner is trained to become a Chola, that too a woman named Aremis.
The cover design for the book done by Wasim Helal is wonderful with simple and profound illustrations. The clever placement of Yavani at the backside of the cover revealing only the enraged Chola warriors and the elephants is a good one that will intrigue the reader about the book.
The author has described that this is an accidental novel, but the details that go inside describing the landscapes of the 11th century Nagapattinam, the depiction of the characters of that times, the heirarchies and the extent of the social structures reveals that this is a well researched book that doesn’t disappoints on its grandeur. The plot is well set and the characters are woven around one another in a neat fashion though at some places the story strays from the plot but the author makes sure the plot is back from where it started. The characters of Anantha, Shrey, Aremis, Mandakini are struck in the readers mind and this shows the level to which the author has etched these characters potraying them with the plot.
The canny use of verses based on anonymous poets for a song sung by Anantha and Padma is taken from classical Tamil Anthology “AKANANURU” clearly indicates that the author clearly establishes his genius upon the readers.
The plot reveals before our eyes like a movie and it is easy to follow since the narration is in a first person and no confusion follows because of that. I couldn’t believe this is a debut book that is this grandeur in its plot and I could also see good comments for the book already.
But still, the abrupt ending of the book without mentioning about what happens to Aremis in Nagapattinam, the cunning plans of Perumbil and about the prophecy had me in confusion and cliffhanger. I expect the author would have reserved it for a sequel of the book and why not expect it ? It would be very cool to have a sequel for the Empire and I will be waiting for it very eagerly. With a rich imagination of a plot like this, I could already sense a movie in the making.
Some of my favourite quotes :
Background Image Credits : Juggernaut Publications Website
Editing of the Quotes : Corlos Zudin
About the Book:
Title : Empire
Author : Devi Yesodharan
Publisher : Juggernaut Publications
Genre : Historical Fiction
Copy : Review Copy
ISBN : 9789386228376, 9386228378
Get the digital book in Juggernaut here : Empire by Devi Yesodharan (Juggernaut)
Flipkart : Empire by Devi Yesodharan
Amazon : Empire by Devi Yesodharan