Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Parthiban's Dream

A melting pot of mystery, adventure...

(June 2007)
A gripping story spanning a wide canvas, Parthiban’s Dream is a melting pot of adventure, mystery, romance, black magic and history. It is cast in the times of the Cholas and Pallavas, and brings alive the period in its lively and intricate description of the life and times of the people. In the background is the bustling port town of Mammallapuram (now called Mahabalipuram) and the sound of stone-chipping and sculpting can almost be heard as the writer describes the dream of Narasimhaverma Pallava, the King of Kanchi.

In the foreground is Woriyur where the waning Chola kingdom is surviving on the dreams of King Parthiban. Burning with desire to restore the Chola kingdom to its past glory, Parthiban raises his flag in defiance of the powerful Pallava ruler and refuses to pay taxes to the Pallava state. A war ensues and Parthiban loses his life on the battlefield. Enter a strange character – the Sivanadiar – a strange old man ostensibly dressed like a devotee of Lord Shiva, but obviously he is a lot more than that. Parthiban dies, leaving his infant son and young wife in the cares of the Sivanadiar.

The novel picks up the thread of the story six years after the death of Parthiban, with his son grown from a mere slip of a lad to a handsome and chivalrous young man, the pride of father’s kingdom. He lives his father’s dream as does his mother Arul Mozhi. The presence of the mysterious Sivanadiar, and the dream of King Parthiban overshadow the entire novel.

The adventurous Vikraman visits Mammallapuram and gets a glimpse of the beautiful Pallava Princess Kundavi. Unaware of each other’s identity, the two fall in love with each other. However the Chola Prince’s identity is revealed and the wrathful Narasimhaverma, finding his enemy of his doorstep, banishes him from his kingdom. Vikraman seeks his fortune in the lonely island of Shenbaga Nadu where he is easily accepted by the people as their ruler. Bolstered by his new status, Vikraman makes bold to regain his old territory. Black magic in the middle of thick forest, a vicious hunchbacked dwarf, and several shadowy characters from a hazy past complete the picture that is Parthiban’s dream. Who is the Sivanadiar? What role does she play in the story? Do Vikraman and Kundavi marry in the end? To know the answers to these, you really must pick up the book.

A simple and elegant style of writing and eloquent charcoal illustrations in a folksy style are highlights of the novel. A pictorial historical map, tracing the Pallava and Chola kingdoms, would have added spice to the presentation.

- Sumathi Sudhakar.
The Author
The Translator
Gita Rajan
The Illustrator
Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Cover Art: Srivi Kalyan
Age Group: 10 + years
Statistics: 240 pages
ISBN 81-89020-64-1 [PB]
Price: Rs 150 [PB]

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