I spotted this book first on my goodreads timeline and ended up hearing about it later from Pankaj. Needless to say, I grabbed the opportunity to read this when it came my way.
Written by debutante Rashmi Chendvankar, The Rigveda Code is a book in the mythological genre with a female protagonist. Yes, you read that right, a female protagonist. And not just any female protagonist, Princess Rikshavi is a warrior princess. Bows and arrows and wars and everything. Hallelujah.
This book takes place 300 years after the Mahabaratha war, after Lord Krishna passes on from his avatar. A princess is born in the Royal Household of the most powerful kingdom at the time, Vrij. Princess Rikshavi grows up under the secret tutelage of her mother and her mother’s own guru while her father, who thinks that only men ought to take up arms and that a woman’s place is in her home, searches all the lands, overthrowing smaller nations, in a frenzied hunt for Lord Krishna’s fabled Sudarshana Chakra which he is rumoured to have left behind somewhere in the “country”. This hunting leads to dire circumstances and soon, rumours fly that a war may start and that Vrij may not have an heir to help the king.
That is my version of the synopsis.
I really enjoyed this story. It takes a while to really kick off, exactly 25% actually. But if you get through the first 25% (which is a brief telling of how the first few years of Princess Rikshavi’s life is) you’ll be glad you stuck around. The story has twists and turns and excitements and best of all, a brilliant female protagonist who is as human as they come.
Rikshavi is vulnerable but impressively strong. Soft yet incredibly tough. Yes, I sound like I’m writing out her marriage profile but I might really be in love with this character. She is amazing. And this book, had it been longer and more detailed, might have tossed other mythology books from the top 10 lists on landmark and the like.
The only place this book come up short is in the attention to detail. In fact, this book is so intense that I think (and this is just me) that it would have been great as two books. Book one till the twist that you’ll see if you read the book, no spoilers. And book two till the end. Or just a book twice as big. I wanted more of the princess and her friends and her life and her relationships and thoughts and everything. I suppose that’s what the author aimed for, to leave the reader wanting more.
Pick it up if you’re looking for something different from the done and dusted mythology tropes and come back here so we can talk about how awesome Licchavi is.
*I received a copy of this book for review. My opinions here are completely honest.
PS: I was supposed to do a Top Ten Tuesday today but I don’t really know that many historic or futuristic books. So…… Next week.