Author: Adity Kay
9789350095669 | PB | pp. 354+xx | 2020 | Hachette India
This is the tale of Emperor Harsha, a scholar prince, who now needs to bear the weight of the crown. Trouble is afoot and he has to battle his enemies who follow no dharma…
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India, seventh century CE. Harsha, the youngest prince of the northern kingdom of Sthaniswara, is immersed in his studies at Nalanda, wanting nothing more than to achieve both scholarship and enlightenment. As far as he is concerned, the future of the realm is secure in the hands of his beloved older brother, the strait-laced crown prince Rajyavardhana. But when the time comes for his sister’s swayamvar, which will draw royal suitors from across Bharatvarsha, Harsha must tear himself away from his books – for only a little while, he hopes.
It quickly becomes clear to the newly returned prince, however, that all is not well in Sthaniswara – that there is no shortage of jealous neighbours eyeing its prosperous cities. Events take an ugly turn when Devagupta, king of nearby Malava, makes no secret of his ire at not being chosen by the princess. And when their father dies under mysterious circumstances soon after, the princes fear something sinister is afoot. As Rajyavardhana takes the throne, Harsha sets out to unravel a web of intrigue he suspects spans kingdoms.
But his mission is soon cut short, as war rocks the land, and treachery lays low his brother. Burdened with the crown, the scholar prince now has to battle enemies who follow no dharma, exact vengeance upon the devious Devagupta and hunt down the more sinister foe pulling all the strings. And as a new force rises to the south, Harsha must ready himself to face his greatest challenge yet.
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