Author: Deepak M.R.
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Which character stands out for you from the Mahabharata?
Abhimanyu: The Warrior Prince by Deepak M.R. tells us the story of a young warrior, who is in his quest for love, valor, and honor. As he experiences life to become a great warrior, his journey is one that is full of ups and down. As he embarks on a journey to find his father, he finds the love of his life. As the Kauravas and Pandavas prepare for the great war, he decides to join the fight and put his skills to test. As the sixteen-year-old warrior single-handedly brings the mightiest warriors of the time to their knees, it is treachery that ultimately kills him. A retelling based on Vyasa’s Mahabharata, this is the story a young warrior, the best of his time, a devoted son, a loving husband, and a great warrior.
Mythological retellings are tricky because of the core idea that the basic story is known to all. The key is to recreate the narrative to focus on the central character and use their perspective to narrate the said events. This becomes even trickier when the central character is one who hasn’t has many stories about him. Deepak has taken the story of Abhimanyu, a character who is brave and heroic, yet is mentioned in a small part. Focusing on the epic through Abhimanyu’s character, we see him come to life as a kid and how he matures as a warrior. I loved how his training is explained and how details about his archery skills are shown which exhibit his grit and valor. I loved the part where he breaches the chakravyuha and how the Kauravas break the code to murder him. The description is heart wrenching and Deepak’s narration makes you feel the pain that Abhimanyu experiences.
The character sketches in the book are well developed and I loved the fact that Deepak does not let the focus move away from our central character. Everything that happens in the book is related to him and the incidents are used to build his character and persona. Deepak narrates the story of Mahabharata in short so as to give context but at the same time makes sure to keep his central character in the play.
Overall, a retelling of the great epic that I would recommend if you like mythological fiction. The book scores a 4.56/5 for me.
Get a copy of the book on Amazon India here.