Siege of Mithila is the second book in the The Ramayana series by Ashok K Banker. And after reading it, I must say that it was much better than the first book The Prince of Ayodhaya. I am not saying that first book was a not good but level of imagination was much high than the first book.
The book Siege of Mithila does not deviate from the original Ramayana but the fact is every event in the book has been presented in different manner which completely different from the original and out of box. Of course, it is very logical as well. The novelty factor is there in each chapter. So, be it Sita’s swayamvar, Ahiliya salvage all are presented in different light which were refreshing to read.
All actions was not concentrated around Rama and Laksham with Vishwamitra as in original Ramayana. There is also a lot of things happening in Ayodhaya as well which ensures that there is not a single dull moment in the book. The excitement is buzzing everywhere and it is difficult to put down the book even for a while. Twice there are attempts of assasination of King Dasharatha in the palace which is very enthralling to read. Sumitra does some sleuthing to prove her innocence.
Sita of Banker’s Ramayana is completely different from the original epic. This Sita is full of valor and life and not docile and homely. She sets her own rules and live life in her own way. She is a true warrior princess. It will be interesting to read how her character further enfolds in the coming books of the series. She is modern day Sita which readers can’t resist admiring.
Even other female characters in the book like Kaushalya and Sumitra are not mere characters whom we can overlook. Who are overshadowed by other lead characters of the book. They make their presence felt. Banker has given enough space to them and substance to the characters.
But my biggest complain about the book is that Banker stretches things like anything. He will keep on describing and narrating incidents or event or emotion beyond the necessity that sometimes I felt I like skipping it which I did and did quite often.
Re-telling an already popular tale which is etched in the minds of Indian is in no way an easy task to do. Keeping the readers engage in every page and also keeping the boredom away is also a very difficult task at hands. But Ashok Banker seems to pull it quite well in Siege of Mithila. There is a lot of depth in Banker’s imagination. The fantasy and adventure are impeccable.
Other Books in the Ramayana Series by Ashok Banker
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