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Book Review – Porus: In the Shadows of Betrayals by Roopesh Tiwari

Porus by Roopesh Tiwari is an amazing intense historical retelling. The author leveraged on his master research skills and powered imagination to bring alive the king Purushottam’s timeline in 4th century BC. In short known as Porus, he was a volcano of talent, combat skills, an able-bodied warrior, and an ambitious personality overall.

The novel is lengthy, has many narrative openings. However, its core focus is to portray the transformation of Porus from an unknown rebel to an outlaw living in the jungle to seeking revenge from Ugrasen, Magadha King’s brother.

The storyline has vast geopolitical timeline, it not only narrates the events that turned in favor of Porus, but also introduces kings and shahs from Macedon and Persia. On one side the story is very much Indian, on the other front Alexander and Shah Darius paving their way to engrave a name for themselves in the history. Darius’ story is full of betrayals; he killed many including his close kin and friends to claim the kingdom. However, he fails to defeat Alexander, who seizes the command from his ageing insane father Philip, who doubts the bloodline of Alexander.

Despite Indo-European feel, the novel roots for its Indianism. The author has given a list of characters and glossary for words and jargons used in the expanse of the story. The novel is about Porus. But you see, he is not a king of anywhere in this novel. His life is a wretched suffering caused by the King Nanda of Magadha and his brother Ugrasen – they have killed Porus’ entire family, only two nephews are alive. One is with him, and the other one is fugitive.

Though this novel explores the within world of Porus, yet his focus remains on killing Ugrasen for sweet revenge and to somehow subvert the Magadha kingdom. For that he builds a small army that lives in the forest initially. His tale of valour and courage and combat makes him famous but it also brings him in the limelight of his enemies.

"We have suffered a lot, and now it’s time to reverse the trend. I will win this conflict and kill him during his travel through the jungle, if you all are with me. This jungle is our fort, and we know its ins and outs to Matsya. We know all the turns and twists, ditches, rivers, lakes and wild animals in the area, better than any guide Ugrasen could hire for his journey. We also know our enemy. He is arrogant and overconfident, and these two qualities will be the cause of his destruction in this forest."

The story spreads negative vibes about the king of Magadha. People are not happy, under such circumstances, it’s likely a hero will emerge and fight for their justice. From one end there is Porus and on the other hand humiliated saints like Vishnugupta are devising something to throw the Magadha ruler. Will they intersect or converge to the same conclusion. It will be fascinating to watch out in the next series of books? On the parallel route, runs a Chandragupta mystery, the name taken by Vikrodhna – nephew of none other than Porus.

Other than the main protagonists from all POVs, readers may like other auxiliary characters such as Pinakin, Vikrodhna, Vishnugupta, Antipater, Areobarzenus, and so on.

For historical genre enthusiasts, one thing is sure that Roopesh has successfully cured their skepticism towards Indian historical retellings. He has perfectly intertwined fiction with history and fantasy with reality. The book ends on a dramatic cliffhanger and they will fervently wait for the next books in the series.

Buy the book from Amazon India.


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