THE RISE OF DANDAK
- Author: Gunjan Porwal
- Genre: Mythological Fiction
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Om Books International (15 September 2018)
- Language: English
BLURB as on Goodreads
Over a hundred years after the Mahabharata War, an ancient power threatens to destroy the new Age of Men, by establishing the Age of Terror of the asuras, long believed to be extinct. the only hurdle in its path is Guru Dronacharya’s son, the mighty but accursed warrior Ashwatthama, who lost all his powers following Lord Krishna’s curse and who unwittingly finds himself drawn into the quest of the lost bow of Lord Rama, the Kodanda. As ghosts of the distant past return to haunt him and the line between friends and enemies blurs, Ashwatthama must fight his inner demons to emerge victoriously. He undertakes a perilous journey—across the vast plains of the Ganges, to the snow-capped peaks of the Himavant where the price of failure is a fate worse than death and death is a privilege not granted to Ashwatthama.
Is this all part of Lord Krishna’s great plan? Will Ashwatthama be able to regain his lost glory?
Mythological Fiction is a fast-growing genre in contemporary Indian Literature. Our Indian mythology is very interesting with its larger than life characters and surprising events. And nowadays, more authors are venturing in its mystical arena.
Ashwatthama is a lesser-known figure of the epic Mahabharata. In the war that saw heavy bloodshed and gore, fight for dharma and adharma, events resulting due to karmic cycles, deceitful and treacherous means to win over one’s rivals, Ashwatthama played a vital role. He is seen with contempt for his actions which we have been listening for ages. This book attempts to mold our views about him and give him a chance for redemption.
The book is set in the Kaliyuga where reigns the hatred and revenge. Vikram is a ruler who wants to stop the asura Dandak from resurrecting or else he will wreak havoc on the earth. For this, he seeks Ashwatthama who is a part incarnate of Lord Shiva, a demigod. Both of them are accompanied by the prince of Avanti, Rana, and are set to get their hands on the powerful bow of Lord Rama. Only this weapon can bring the end of Dandak. In their journey, they face several challenges and fatal obstacles. The adventure awaits them as the book moves forward.
At the onset, the book didn’t attract me. I found it a little difficult to connect with it. But as it went ahead and Ashwatthama came into the picture, it piqued my interest. From there on, it totally indulged me. I loved the retelling of the Mahabharata at several places and the unpopular facts related to it. It was a pleasure to discover so many new points about the unfolding of the war as it happened. It felt as if what I knew already was so little and what I came across with this book was so vast. The fight against evil is hard but it is inevitable to avoid the annihilation of mankind. And so, Ashwatthama was bound to take up war, though it involved facing his demons of the past full of sins and guilt associated with them, to redeem himself and save the earth.
Evil cannot survive if people find courage in their hearts to stand up for the good.
It was the bravery of the side characters such as Vikram, Rana, Urmila, and Nyta along with Guru Apasmitra and Janamejaya that helped Ashwatthama in his efforts for averting the rise of Dandak. They successfully defeated his allies – Raktavija and Vidyut. But how far would they be able to carry their success?
The book did end properly but in a way, it disappointed me. Perhaps I was expecting something else. I found it quite plain and not in sync. However, every ending has a new beginning! The writing style is smooth. The language and flow of the story are proper. Though when the confrontation of Raktavija and the warriors took place, that scene could have been more gripping. The title completely justifies the storyline. And the cover has been designed perfectly.
Through the gaps filled here and there, the book attempts to teach us many things. It brought to my attention the effect of Karmic cycles. It strengthened my faith in the power of love as well as the importance of trust. The narrative has been captured and developed very well by the author. Details of the palaces, the places where the characters visit, the description of the characters and the whole arrangement of events have been done wonderfully. It was an amazing experience reading the book. I appreciate the efforts the author has put in researching and coming up with this book.
If one likes to know about different aspects of Indian mythology, he should definitely go for this book.
MY RATING: 4.5/ 5
BUY YOUR COPY: ASHWATTHAMA’S REDEMPTION
About the Author:
Gunjan Porwal, an engineer by day and writer by night, is fascinated by Indian mythology, especially the Mahabharata and Ramayana.
After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2002, Gunjan worked in MNCs as an engineer while contemplating writing anything other than code.
Gunjan lives in Pune with his wife, children, and parents. Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak is his debut novel.