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Book Review: The Thirteenth Day by Aditya Iyengar

The Thirteenth Day by Aditya Iyengar


Aditya Iyengar's The Thirteenth Day
Title: The Thirteenth Day
Author: Aditya Iyengar
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Rupa Publications (June 1st 2015)
Genre: Epic, Historical, Action
Read: Paperback
Stars: ★★★★☆
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart




It is the tenth night of the great war between the Pandavas and Kauravas. Bhishma, the venerable patriarch of the families, lies fatally wounded on the plains of Kurukshetra. On his deathbed he offers Radheya, his nemesis, a chance to rule the Kuru kingdom by capturing Yudhishthira.

In the Pandava camp, Yudhishthira, a reluctant warrior, tries desperately to hold his allies together and escape capture without appearing to be a coward. Meanwhile, his young and impulsive nephew, Abhimanyu, a warrior prince, dreams of glory and yearns for a chance to save the Pandava cause. The lives of these three warriors, Yudhisthira, Radheya and Abhimanyu, collide brutally on the thirteenth day. A story of how stories are created, how fact becomes fiction, how history becomes mythology and how men become legends, The Thirteenth Day re-imagines India’s greatest epic like never before.


My Review:

Note: Thanks Aditya Iyengar for offering me this book to read and review 🙂

Cover: Detailed!

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes!

Readability, language: Easy on the mind!

Why did I choose this book: A different angle to the many times retold story, caught my interest. I’ve read Draupadi’s perspective in the The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and have Uruvi’s (Karna’s Wife by Kavita Kane) point of view lined up. This was a good addition to the list. 😀

This is a retelling of the Mahabharata with the subject as Abhimanyu. This is his story – his quest for glory, his contribution to the war and his death.

As Abhimanyu’s story the title is appropriate for it was on the thirteenth day of the Mahabharata war that his valour on the battlefield made him a known name for ever. A darkish cover, there is something about it that I quite like, it drew me in every-time I walked past, inviting me to peer at the details. The blurb does a quick job of setting the stage and telling the reader what’s coming. Short and sweet.

I remember watching B R Chopra’s Mahabharat on Doordarshan, and the chakravyuh had made such an impact. I found myself cheering the young hero, being filled with indignation at his murder and feeling grief at his death; the emotions searing the character in my memory. So, this plot isn’t new and yet, it felt so because of the perspective.

Set in Kurukshetra the story starts out on day 10 of the war, when Bisma falls to the arrows of Arjun. In a bid to save the Kuru race, Bhishma asks Radheya to take the throne and bring about peace. The next couple of days are all attempts to capture Yudhishthira and it is these attempts that lead up to the chakravyuh. Aditya Igengar doesn’t just describe the war but also all that happens behind the scenes when the war is not on, in the camps and around the campfires, and does a good job of it.

The story is narrated from the perspectives of Yudhishthira, Radheya and Abhimanyu. The story unfolds with insight into their characters, their fears, their motives, their ambitions; I’d never before got to know Abhimanyu’s story this way. Aditya Iyengar has described each character well through the eyes of the main storytellers. The main and support characters are rich in detail and it felt like I knew them.

The story seems to follow a three act structure made up of days – 11, 12 & 13. There aren’t any loose ends but there is an abrupt end, smoothly delivered, such that the reader doesn’t feel all that bad about not knowing what comes after. The pace of the story is good with a build-up towards climax, that kept me glued to the book.

I enjoyed Aditya Iyengar’s style of writing and language. The Thirteenth Day was simple and easy to read both in words and sentences. The paper quality is good and the font makes for comfortable reading. The book is a breeze to read and an enjoyable one at that.

I’d recommend this book if your are a epic fan and even if you are not. For this book has insight into the minds behind the war and action & drama. So if you are someone who likes a good action drama, this is a book to pick up. YA and above.

Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart

About the Author:

Aditya IyengarAditya Iyengar has worked for ten years as a writer in advertising and television. He has been writing fiction for five years now, mostly in the hours between sunrise and ten AM.

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