Beginning of the end: Amish Tripathi talks about the fourth book in his 'Ram Chandra' series
A neat culmination to Amish Tripathi’s Rama Chandra series, War of Lanka hints at the possibilities of a new story.
Published: 11th December 2022 05:00 AM | Last Updated: 11th December 2022 02:22 PM | A+A A-
Amish Tripathi is a best-selling author, with several other hats. He has written non-fiction books and one on Suhel Dev. He is, however, predominantly identified with his works of mythological fiction. His latest is the fourth book in the Ram Chandra series, after Ram, Sita, and Raavan. War of Lanka is the natural and inevitable denouement of the first three installments and ends the Ramayana story, so to speak, but not quite, since we are told in Vashishtha’s words, right at the end, that the story will go on. In some way, the Meluha strand from his Shiva trilogy will be integrated with the Ram Chandra one. The author will tell us, in due course.
There is a renewed interest in writing in the mythological fiction genre in English. There are authors who have one-off books and there are those who write a series. Tripathi’s books are, of course, interwoven much more with each other, than many of his contemporaries works. Those who have read all or most of his books will know that his writing has matured over time.
His prose has noticeably become better and tighter. The sufficiently hidden indications that the author had provided through the earlier books in the series, much like clues in a detective story, come together in this final installment with neat twists and clever turns, making it the best fiction that Tripathi has written to date.
Everyone knows the basic Ramayana story. We know Kumbhakarna, Indrajit and Ravana will be killed. Lanka will be burnt down. Apart from the fact that he spins a good story, those familiar with the author’s style know that he throws in an unexpected angle––novel and innovative. With most authors writing mythological fiction, it gets tricky, raising the question, ‘should creativity be allowed to distort what we know of history?’ Tripathi has, however, managed to steer clear of any such controversy.
Credit goes to his impeccable research and the fact that the story of Ramayana or Shiva isn’t quite recorded history in that sense. There are beliefs and indeed, in the case of both the Shiva and the Ram Chandra series, some of what the author writes may seem to jar with popular perceptions, but this is not done with any disrespect, but a lot of veneration.
Outside fiction, Tripathi is interested in economy, governance, and present-day society. Therefore, contemporary issues also have a way of getting woven into his storytelling. This relevance and the use of modern language that today’s reader can relate to are perhaps partly responsible for his works becoming bestsellers, though one can balk a bit at a character from Valmiki Ramayana using such modern language. The bottom line is that this is a wonderfully readable book, ending, but not quite ending, the Rama Chandra series. There is reason to expectantly wait for the story that will tell us about the rise of Meluha.