Chirdeep Malhotra . Updated: 1/14/2020 11:02:26 AM Books and Authors

Book Review: "Ashok and the Nine Unknown" by Anshul Dupare

The Mauryan emperor Ashok was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, the unifier of the Indian subcontinent. He waged a bloody war during the conquest of Kalinga, and aghast at the destruction that the war brought, he then embraced Buddhism and spread the message of peace. However, it is also stuff of legend that Ashok founded a mysterious secret society called ‘Nine Unknown’. This theme was elaborately discussed in the 1923 book “The Nine Unknown” by Talbot Mundy. However, the author Anshul Dupare comes up with the book “Ashok and the Nine Unknown”, in which he has wrapped the book’s fictional narrative with a heady mix of history, fantasy, mythology, and supernatural themes.

The narrative of the book begins with the end of the Kalinga war. As realization of the devastation of war seeps in, Ashok decides to dedicate his life towards the betterment of society and try his best to prevent any destruction of life. Realizing he cannot do so single-handedly, he creates a secret society comprising nine chosen members, known as the ‘Nine Unknown’, to help preserve knowledge that, in the wrong hands, could be used to destroy humanity. Who are the ‘Nine Unknown’? What are the problems faced by emperor Ashok and his secret society in safeguarding these secrets? The storyline then goes on to answer these questions.

The book cover is fascinating and the blurb given at the back cover is well-written and will entice historical fiction fans to pick up the book. The plot progresses very lucidly and will keep the readers engrossed. The book is beautifully written throughout, the character development is good, and the thriller narrative will keep readers on their toes. There are also maps and pictures included in the book which will be liked by fans interested in the genre of historical fiction. As this book is the first part of a two book series, readers will be eagerly waiting to read the second part.

This book is a riveting and interesting take on the legend of the secret organisation founded by the emperor Ashok. The story is a treat for historical fiction fans, with plenty of twists and turns in its suspense filled narrative, and is sophisticated and elegantly written. Readers, go for this book, if you want to get immersed in an engrossing tale of historical fiction.

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