About the author:
Ashok K. Banker is an internationally acclaimed author of mixed-race and mixed-cultural parentage based in Mumbai, India. He aims to retell all of the major myths, legends and itihasa of the Indian sub-continent in a span that will cover over seventy volumes.
My thoughts on the book:
It was only recently that I got introduced to the Mahabharata series, and the talented author Ashok Banker. Having seen the Mahabharata as a television serial, I was quite keen to read it as a story. I was wowed by the first book, The Forest of Stories. The second didn’t let me down in any way either.
When it is a series, and the second book has to keep the flow between its beginning and the first one’s end, that to me needs to be done well, and it has been. I liked the chapter “Prarambha” which introduces the Forest of Stories, and since Mahabharata is one continuous book, I think it’s a chapter that might not have been there. This chapter sets the tone, it says that the epic is eternal even without Vyasa, its recited even without Vaisampayana and retold even without Sauti.
This book brings out the scond parva, wherein we hear of the rivalry between the two maharshis Brihaspati, teacher and guide of the Devas, and Shukracharya who is the teacher and guide of the Asuras. The first has the divine knowledge to guide the Devas to victory each time, and the second has knowledge to the secret of immortality – the Sanjivani. The first part is the love story of Devyani, daughter of Shukra and Kacha, son of Brihaspati who’s been sent to retrieve the secret of the Sanjivani. This is a true love story, one whose power even overwhelms Shukra so much that he trusts his disciple and his daughter’s lover with the secret when the Asuras kill Kacha and trick him into consuming Kacha’s ashes.
Then Devyani, who is rejected by Kacha for an interesting reason, falls in love with a king, Yayati. We’re taken through their quite different love story, and which leads to Yayati’s immortality. I quite love the philosophy that Yayati shares to the righteous. After that, we’re taken through another unusual love story, that between Shantanu, who was a rajarshi cursed by Brahma into the mortal world, and Ganga, the goddess in mortal form. This leads to the birth of Devavrata, who we later come to know as the great Bhishmacharya.
For me, this story leaves us wanting more and very soon. It’s left at a very crucial position. I heard the third book is going to be out sometime this year. I’m praying it is very soon. Just like the first book, this holds your interest through the read and brings the characters and the epic story to life. This also goes into my library and it’s going to be there for good. This is a tale I shall be rereading soon, and one that any fan of mythology would enjoy.
Title: The Seeds of War
Series: Mahabharata Series (Book 02)
Author: Ashok K Banker
Genre: Mythological Fiction
Price: INR. 295
(April 11th, 2013)