Book Review: Chanakya (Itihasa Series Book 1) by Ashok K. Banker


ISBN 978-9387578166

Genre: Historial Fiction 

Publishers: Westland

Price: Rs. 250/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
Behind the Book

Jurist, war strategist, kingmaker. Master administrator. Author of the Arthashastra. But before the legend, there was the boy: Vishnu Gupta.

Pataliputra, capital of the great Nanda empire, is teeming with crime and corruption. Granted unlimited authority by the hedonistic emperor Mahapadma Nanda, evil mastermind Maha-amatya Kartikeya has the city in a vice-like grip.

But another name bubbles up through the chaos; there is talk of a young genius, Vishnu Gupta. When the Maha-amatya investigates the rumours, he recognises a future rival in the boy. He is determined to destroy this competition from the roots – family and all. Vishnu must gather all his wits and his formidable knowledge to protect everything he holds dear. The holy scriptures, his brilliant interpretations of the Vedas and the power of his unmatched mind: these are the only tools he has against the might of the most powerful man in the empire.

Epic storyteller Ashok K. Banker imagines the life and formative years of India’s greatest genius, a man whose influence persists down the ages. In this first instalment of a thrilling trilogy, he recreates Chanakya’s early struggles and triumphs.

About the Author

Ashok K. Banker is the internationally acclaimed author of over 60 books that have sold over 3 million copies in 21 languages and 61 countries. His hugely successful Ramayana Series is credited with having launched the genre of English-language mythological retellings and influenced an entire generation of authors. As a journalist, he broke front-page news stories for the Times of India and Outlook. As a screenwriter, he created and wrote India’s First TV Series in English, and co-created and co-wrote Malaysia’s First TV Series in English, as well as several other hit shows. Born in Mumbai, Ashok is of Irish-Portuguese-Sri Lankan-Indian parentage, and lived in India for over 51 years before migrating with his family to the United States, where he now lives. Ashok can be found online at

I have been reading Ashok K Banker's books since quite some time and have really enjoyed the way he presents mythology - in a refreshingly different perspective. If I had to pick up one favourite, it has to be his fantasy fiction - Awaken.

Coming to this book, it traces the childhood and early struggles of Chanakya . Considered to be the father of politics in India, this man has been inspiring in many ways. His lessons are considered next to the curriculum of some of the greatest institutions in the world. If someone has mastered Chanakyaniti (as it is called) one is considered to be worldly-wise.

It was interesting to read how he gathered all the knowledge which he used later on to spread his wisdom and also how he came across as a misunderstood individual many times due to his outspoken nature. One thing I like about the author is, he uses very simple language in his story telling. This ensures the reader can connect easily and reading the book, is a treat.

He also doesn't give too much information, overloading the reader. And keeps the engagement quotient to the T in the book. It is a quick and short read, which leaves you wondering what next in the second book of the series. Though there are a lot of unanswered questions as you move towards the end of the book, you also know that perhaps they will be answered gradually as the series unfolds.

One can always argue that Chanakya has been widely publicized in various television series of the same time so far and if this book actually has anything new to offer apart from what all the series have told about his childhood and growing up years. For that, all I can say is - you need to read the book to know the answer.

Filled with ample wisdom, witty one liners and some brilliant anecdotes this book is an entertaining read. Recommended and eagerly waiting for the next part in the series!

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Butterscotch Cake - crunchy and delectable in every bite!

Source: Joy of Baking