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A Woman's Legend Retold With Modern Sensibilities And Creative Limitations

Building An Empire is the second book in The empress of Indraprastha series, continuing the story of Draupadi from her perspective. With many of the same limitations as the first book, the second instalment is indeed deeper, longer and more interesting than the previous one.

 

The age old story of Mahabharata retold in parts in the words of the fire-born beauty, Panchaali, continues as she continues her yearly rotation of living with each of her husbands. Most part of the book is dedicated to her family life as she raises her children and balances her duties to four husbands and her longing for the fifth – Arjun, during his twelve year exile.

 

The timeline is difficult to track, though. Months or years passing and the Upapandavas growing up appear inconsistent with 9 month pregnancy and yearly shift of sharing quarters with the husbands. The time spent with the children, especially their nutrition seemed a little repetitive and vague, in the grand scheme of the epic.

 

Building of the nation of Indraprastha from the barren wasteland of Khandavaprastha is prominent and, for the most part, enjoyable. As the climactic Rajsooya Yajna brings events to a more stable pace, unfolding of events have been given their due weightage.

 

What I found lacking was the politics. The complex regional politics and delicate intricacies of ruling did not find much focus in the book, primarily because of the narrator being Draupadi. Most battles, skirmishes and even the political altercations are off page, only described in conversation.

 

This isn’t a bad thing if you note that the book is about Draupadi, not the whole of Mahabharata. And as such, the author chose to depict the version of Duryodhan’s fall in Mayasabha that involved Draupadi.

 

This saga still has a long way to go to fill the pages with colours of intrigue, excitement and entertainment to reach the zenith of MythFic. Wishing all the best to the author for the next book.

Building An Empire is available on KindleUnlimited: https://amzn.to/48syy47

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