Storm From Taxila by Shreyas Bhave
15th to 17th August
About the Book: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?
Read an Excerpt:
Asoka was sitting on the steps to the throne, fastening his knee-high boots when Chanakya entered the chamber in his wheeled chair, dressed not in his usual long robe, but a cotton undershirt. Asoka did not look up but kept tightening the straps of his boots with both hands. The burning torches dispelled the darkness that blanketed everything outside.
As Chanakya rolled forward, his shadow fell upon the throne. “Why are you in armour, Prince?” he asked.
“I am in armour because we are under siege,” Asoka said, finishing his task.
“We have been under siege for a week,” Chanakya reminded him.
“But tonight the enemy is hammering at our walls,” Asoka replied, pointing a thumb over his shoulder.
“The walls will hold Prince.”
“I do not doubt that. It is I who cannot hold on any longer.”
Chanakya wheeled nearer. “What do you mean?”
Asoka got to his feet. “Order the Captain of the Guards to assemble his reserve force at the stables.” “But why?” Chanakya asked, perplexed.
Asoka looked down at him. “I plan to sally out,” he said coolly.
“I beg your pardon, Prince, but why such a foolhardy action?”
“It is military slang,” Asoka explained, looking around for his shield, “sallying out signifies a foray by the defenders, in the middle of the night, to carry out a surprise raid on the besieger’s camp.”
“Well you are not sallying out,” Chanakya said firmly.
“Why do you say that, Prime Minister?”
“Isn’t it obvious? It is dangerous!”
“Great things cannot be achieved without facing danger, Prime Minister. You of all people should know that.”
“Great things!” Chanakya laughed mockingly. “What do you plan to achieve by sallying out, Prince?”
“Small things in this case,” Asoka replied, reaching for his scabbard. “We have about forty horses in the stables, Prime Minister. I and some of the city guards will ride out under the cover of night and raid Sushem’s camp. I am certain we will catch his men totally unawares. If we are lucky, perhaps Maharaja Sushem will fall to my sword.”
“And if you are unlucky,” Chanakya said, “you may fall to his.”
Asoka shrugged as he pulled out his sword and checked its sharp edge by moving a finger over it. “I am not afraid of dying,” He said.
“You do not need to do this, Prince,” Chanakya pleaded. “Everything is under control.”
Asoka pushed his sword back into the scabbard. “Everything will be under control once I am done with this raid,” he said softly.
“Your friend, Shiva of Avanti, comes with your army soon,” Chanakya said, following Asoka in his chair. “He will attack Sushem from behind and force him to lift the siege. That is the plan!”
“The plan!” Asoka stopped and turned around. “Is that your plan? Is that what you wish the people of Patliputra to say, that they were saved by others while their leader hid in the palace?” “Even your grandfather, Chandragupta, was not afraid to hide,” Chanakya said. “He knew that…”
“Stop!” Asoka said, raising one hand. “Look well, Prime Minister! Look at who stands before you! I am not my grandfather. I do not look like him. I do not think like him. Nor do I speak like him. But I am sure about one thing. If he were in my shoes today, he would do the same as I.”
“You are making a mistake,” Chanakya told him. “You will regret it later.”
Asoka sighed. “I regret not doing this on the first day of the siege.”
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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