~ Book Blitz ~
Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave
15th to 17th August
BHARATVARSHA, LAND OF THE ARYAS: 270 BC
Bindusar, the Samrat Chakravartin of all the Aryas, ruler of the Indian subcontinent, is dead. Chaos rules across the empire. The royal succession turns upon intrigue, dark coalitions, violence and death. The realm stands divided and civil war ensues.
In Vidishanagri: Asoka kills his brother’s Ashwamedha stallion and marches to Patliputra with his army. The ancient Brahminical order rises in his supports, awaiting his entry into the capital. Have they made the right choice?
In Taxila: The rightful heir, Sushem, raises an army to meet the challenge posed by his ambitious and gifted brother, Asoka. He prepares to march to the capital and seize the throne by force. Will history repeat itself; will Sushem achieve what his grandfather Chandragupta did 50 years ago?
In Junagarh: Guild Master Hardeo sets out on a private mission to acquire the great salt pans of Sindh. Will he succeed in his secret enterprise?
In Vidishanagri: Radhagupta travels to fulfill the task allotted to him by the Order. Kanakdatta, the Buddhist, stands up to stop him. Will Radhagupta fail in his mission?
The winds of war howl over the sub-continent, blowing every last person one way or the other. Blood will be spilled, secrets revealed and men ruined. History shall be made.
In Book II of the epic Asoka Trilogy, the storm approaches; the harbinger of death and destruction. When the dust finally settles, the great question will be answered: Who is the next Samrat of the holy Lands of the Aryas?
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Read an Excerpt:
The cloaked man stood before them, his hands folded, his back straight, looking them in the eye.
Sushem studied the man from head to toe. He looked harmless enough. He was much too old to be a spy or assassin. “You desired a meeting,” he said. “Well, you have one. Now speak.”
“Allow me to say that I am honoured to meet the young lion in person,” the man said, bowing. “I once had the honour of meeting the lion himself, in a similar tent in this same place, fifty years ago.”
The words took some moments to register in Sushem’s mind. When they did, he froze. “You claim to have met my grandfather?” he asked, surprise showing on his face.
“Indeed, My Lord. I met him when he was laying siege to Patliputra, just like you.”
“What is your name?” Sushem asked, sitting down and resting his chin on his clasped palms. This was getting interesting.
“I am one Dasharath, and I represent the Ancient Brahminical Order.” “For what purpose did you meet my grandfather, all those years ago?”
“To help him take the city, My Lord.”
The words of the fable resounded in Sushem’s head: Like a bolt of lightning he came to liberate us. “No one knows how my grandfather captured the city. It remains a mystery.”
“Not known to the common people perhaps,” Dasharath acknowledged. “But I represent the Ancient Brahminical Order.”
Sushem rubbed his chin thoughtfully. The role of the Order in his grandfather’s victory over the Nandas had been well documented by bards and scholars over the years. “So how did you help him take the city?” he asked.
“It was simple.” A smile crept across the lined face. “Patliputra is invincible, but only above ground. Below it is an entirely different story.”
“Is there a hidden way into the city?”
“Aye, My Lord.” There is a tunnel that joins the infamous underground maze of the Patliputra prisons. It starts not too far from where we stand.” “And you say you took my grandfather through that tunnel?”
“I did. I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.”
Sushem glanced at the Senapati, who wore a dubious expression. Looking back at Dashrath, he asked, “Do you have any proof?”
Dasharath slipped a hand into his cloak and drew out a roll of cloth. He unrolled it slowly, letting it fall to the ground. A small shining circlet of gold remained in his hand.
“The ring…” Sushem said, recognizing it instantly. “It is my grandfather’s fabled ring. He wore it when he captured the city and till the day he died.”
“Do you think this is the true ring, My Lord?” the Senapati asked, inspecting it suspiciously.
Sushem stared at the ring for some time. Then he nodded. “It is,” he said. ‘There is no other like it.” He leaned forward, his grey eyes looking straight into Dasharath’s brown ones. “Why are you telling me all this; showing me this ring?” “The Order wishes to welcome you to the city as it once welcomed your grandfather. We wish to see you take the city and oust the Pretender, your brother, who sits on the throne just as the Nandas once did.”
Sushem took a deep breath. “This tunnel you speak of… can you tell us where it is?”
Dasharath smiled. “I cannot tell you, My Lord, but I can show you.”
About the Author:
Shreyas is a 21 year old guy currently pursuing his B.Tech in Electrical Eng. from VNIT Nagpur. His love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing.
The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and garnered positive responses.
He is also presently working on several other manuscripts and completing the final year of his engineering Course.
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