The Seeds of War- Book Review

“This is simply the Mahabharata of Krishna Dweipayana-Vyasa retold by one man
That man is me, of course”
-Ashok K Banker

It is a herculean task to reproduce something as beautiful and intriguing like the Mahabharata…

I’ve read Rajaji’s take on this epic, K.M.Munshi’s tales of Krishna and several Amar Chitra Kathas.

I read and re-read these stories, and they seem fresh, every time I read them…
Ashok K Banker’s The Seeds of war follows in the list of such books.

He has done complete justice in retelling these wonderful tales.

The writing style is lucid and keeps the reader glued to the pages.

The Mahabharata, with its numerous characterizations is a difficult tale to retell and the author’s efforts in maintaining the essence of the original in this reproduction is commendable.

The Part 2 of the MahaBharatA series begins with “The Heartbreak of Devayani” and narrates her story, beginning with her love for a Brahmin boy Kacha, her humiliation at being rejected, her revenge on Sharmishta the king’s daughter, her tryst with Raja Yayati, her marriage to him and proceeds to the events following the curse on Yayati.

There are erudite sequences which describe the Life after death. They provide an understanding of the process from the perspective of the scriptures.

Such explanations are rarely portrayed in books which retell the tale and sound fresh.

The tale continues to describe the love between Shantanu and Goddess Ganga and the sequences which follow the birth of Bhishma- the Godfather.

It ends with the Elders making arrangements to sustain the Puru Dynasty and climaxes with the prophesy by Vyasa.

This book is indeed one of those precious books, especially if you are not well versed in Sanskrit to appreciate the original.

There isn’t much of a review that you can do to a book which narrates stories that have stood the test of time.

These stories have for long remained the best entertainers, not just by the mere term of it, but in every sense.

Like the author himself points out, there isn’t anything that is there in this world, which isn’t, in this Epic.

Such is the greatness of these tales and reviewing the stories for their content would be nothing less than stupidity.

You can merely appreciate the author for his effort; sit back and enjoy the lazy Sunday afternoon pouring over this book, like I did.

(Review above assumes the reader’s knowledge of the characters of the Mahabharata. For the uninitiated, you can do one of the two, preferably the second:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Grab the MBA series by Ashok Banker)

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

You can also view the video review of this Book here!!!


I’ve been reading a lot of answers on Quora about the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and I’m really not sure now ,if my take on this epic (that it is beautiful enough to not be “Reviewed”) is the same as it was, prior to my exposure to such opinions…But, given the fact that my entire review was based on the notions that I carried at the time of writing it, I shall say that I shall stick to it…


2 thoughts on “The Seeds of War- Book Review

  1. Rahul Sharma says:

    The Seeds of War is the second part of Ashok Banker’s Mahabharata series, or as he calls it, his MBA series. Banker’s books on the epics are usually a generous mix of myth and fantasy, but in this series, he chooses to simply re-tell the epic, as told by Vyasa, though in his own way. Banker’s inimitable style is very much in evidence here, in his language, his descriptions, as well his take on relationships. It is his characters which makes the book stand apart, above other translations of the epic. They might have lived in another era, a time we can scarcely imagine, yet, never before have they seemed to be more real… his narrative gives them emotions we can relate to, feelings we can understand, and thus we can finally understand why they act the way they do…. and that it what the book is all about. It is not as much about the Great War, but events which led to the war… events which are the fruits of seeds planted years and years ago…. which seem to be so insignificant by themselves, yet lead to events far beyond what anyone could have imagined. Beginning with the story of Devayani, Kacha and Yayati, Banker takes us through the lineage of the Kurus, leading to the story of Devavrata, or Bheeshma, as we know him. It is here that Banker really shows his mettle, beautifully describing Devavrata’s life with Ganga, before he is sent to Shantanu. He lays the groundwork for the other characters of the Mahabharatha to emerge, making sure that we look forward to the next book with just as much enthusiasm!

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