Here’s my review for the book named Ashvamedha – The Game of Power written by Aparna Sinha and published by Srishti Publishers & Distributors. Actually, the book was recommended by one of my Facebook friends, and got it at a good price from Amazon. (Amazon link at the end of the blog).
The book’s cover is interesting in that is featuring one horse and a knight of chess. On the back, there’s a synopsis of the book and a short introduction by the author. The 214 paged book is a political thriller and the story does complete justice to the title.
Basically, the story of Ashvamedha revolves around a protagonist named Ashwin Jamwal. He is a man with leadership qualities and a willingness to change the country for its betterment but is reluctant to join the political arena. He meets Indra Mohan Raathi in his college days who ask Ashwin to join his newly founded Nationalist Party, which, according to him is aimed to clean politics and to take India on the path of real development. He is not even thinking to accept the call at that time and goes to join the bureaucracy after completing his studies. While fulfilling his duty as a dignified and honest bureaucrat he is squeezed from all areas including political and social. In the end, he gives up his job and decides to join politics as he thinks that the ultimate control is in the hands of politicians and nothing can be changed unless the politics of the nation is forced to change.
The initial part of the Ashvamedha mentions a plane crash, the murder of two characters named Ashish Kumar Nandi and Sumona Thandi but these incidents are not finding proper relevance in the main story. There’s also a conversation between Ashwin and Prateek (who’s Sumona’s brother) but then that is also looking like a short story without much reference to it in the latter part of the book.
The author’s storytelling is fast paced and not at all boring. Besides I.M. Raathi and Ashwin Jamwal, there are characters like Suresh Armugham (secretary of Nationalist Party), Adya (girlfriend of Ashwin), Arun (Ashwin’s best friend), Tahir Naqui (National Security Advisor), etc. These characters are very important in the whole story of how someone becomes the most powerful man on the earth. However, among all these names, one name that appears, again and again, is Hades. Hades is a faceless person.
The story is about the hunger for power and the desire to rule the world. It touches on different parts of human emotions and relations. The author has covered a wide range of aspects of domestic and international politics. It was interesting to read how realistic the storyline was when it comes to terrorism and international commitment to fight against it. Can the powerful nations come to the same page when the question is about saving three fourth of the world’s populations from the biggest terror attack ever? The story is about one man’s desire to be the most powerful person on the earth, but to become so, he has to dethrone someone who’s already so, and to do that he has to make someone the most powerful man. In simple words, it’s a story about creating a power center to occupy it and become powerful. The story is really gripping and makes the read enthralling.
I found only two disappointing things in the Ashvamedha. One of them is, some initial parts of the story are not finding themselves linked in the latter part of the book, or rather they are irrelevant to the main plot. Second, the climax of the story is a bit too unrealistic, even if I consider the book a fiction one. At times the story moves too fast and looks oversimplified considering that the main plot of the book is about politics.
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