The Chola dynasty is said to be one of the longest dynasties in the world. This Tamilian empire saw a great many victories under the reign of several kings. To retell the story of one such warrior is a feat like no other.
Preetha Rajah Kannan achieves this with the utmost dedication to narrating the legacy of Arulmozhi Varman. The Tiger Throne is a historical fiction that will hold you in its sway from start to finish.
I absolutely love reading Indian historical books. Something about getting to see how the monarchs of the land once lived, the challenges they faced, and the environment in which they were raised – all of it is so intriguing to me.
The Tiger Monarch is a retelling of Shri Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan. If the original text is narrated anything like this tome, I can see why it holds its own in the history of Tamil literature.
To be frank, Preetha Kannan’s book intimidated me a lot in the beginning. At 650+ pages long, it is quite a time investment.
Moreover, there are a lot of names and details to remember from the beginning. But trust me, with a little patience, the whole reading experience becomes worth it! I gradually found myself flipping past each page with the wide-eyed wonder of a child.
The author’s writing style is dramatic and vibrant, paying just as much attention to the grandiose attires of the palace folk as to the intricacy of their thoughts.
There are instances where you’ll notice that the telling overpowers the showing. I don’t mind it, but with such a large cast of characters and a complex premise, it would’ve been nice for the writing to have been symbolic in a sense at times. That would’ve perhaps helped me connect with a couple of characters.
One of the questions that most readers who hear about this book have is whether it is entirely based on facts.
Considering that it is a historical fiction and not a nonfiction book, one can assume that Kannan has channelled her own creative liberties to narrate events in the way she deemed best.
That shouldn’t take away from your enjoyment of the read. If you like books that are rich in political intrigue, conspiracy, rivalry, and heroism, don’t hesitate to pick up The Tiger Throne.
At any point, there is a lot going on in the novel. So you will definitely not feel bored.
With a story as charged as this, it is almost impossible to focus on only one character throughout. I love that there are many characters who are pivotal to the story arc. And you get to know so much about them merely through the dialogues they are engaged in.
One suggestion I have for you is to savour the story and read it at a moderate pace. That would help you retain more of the plot points. I read it way too fast and wish I hadn’t done so.
On the whole, I enjoyed reading The Tiger Throne and commend the author for the endeavour of retelling a classic Indian literary piece.