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Chanakya by Ashok K Banker Review

chanakya by ashok k banker

Chanakya was the most shrewd economist and diplomatic politicians ever witnessed by our Indian history. His thrilling life and stellar personality had so many layers that it always intrigued the authors and readers equally. Ashok Banker is the latest to join the list.

The Story In Brief

His book Chanakya: The Legend Begins is the first book in The Chanakya Trilogy series. This book is about the initial childhood days of Chanakya who was then known as Vishnu Gupta. Not much is known about the early days of Chanakya as a consequence the author has to take the help of imagination to create the storyline.


Vishnu Gupta was the brightest child in his village. He had an exceptional photogenic memory and a remarkable presence of mind and equally prodigious ability to grasp the situation and accordingly work out the solutions. It was rare among the seven year old child.

But Vishnu Gupta’s adversary Maha-amatya Kartikeya was also no less. He was the king maker and the real ruler behind the throne. He was evil and brutal and the real cause of ever increasing crime, corruption and injustices in the capital city Pataliputra.

What happens when the two meet?  The collision between the two will blow away your mind.

Apart from these two characters there is a third character that of Chandra which will soon find its prominence in the coming book. I expect him to be Chandra Gupt Maurya who will be the founder of Maurya dynasty and will bring justice to the Magadh empire along with the guidance of Chanakya.

The first book has been used by the author to lay the foundation of the two most important characters of the series. Vishnu Gupta is the protagonist and equally powerful is the antagonist Maha-amatya Kartikeya.

The author has put extra effort into the antagonist character. He is dangerous and I always have this creepy feeling whenever he comes into the picture. The author has successfully instilled fear for the character and it will be interesting to see how Vishnu Gupta deals with him.


As you can guess, it is character driven story, but this doesn’t mean there is no thrill in the plot. There are a couple of edge of the seat thriller scenes in the storyline which has been wonderfully written by the author. It will definitely give you heightened feelings of suspense and excitement.

Debate Scenes

There were a few scriptural debate scenes which was natural as Chanakya was also a great scholar . Such scenes need a little research and understanding which was clearly lacking in the story. The author seems to be reluctant to get into the details. Other authors like Ashwin Sanghi, Anand Neelakantan or Amish Tripathi would have grab such an opportunity and would have written a full fledged debate on a sholka or shastrarth debate.

The Writing

The writing of Ashoka Banker was at its best. It was lucid and descriptive. You can imagine every scene. The narrative flows seamlessly and effortlessly without any glitch. The plot was gripping right from the beginning.

The Verdict

If you are in a mood to read historical fiction, then definitely pick Chanakya. It’s a crisp read and is about Chanakya’s childhood. So there is something new to read. But if you are looking for some serious read on Chanakya then there are other books for that. This version of Chanakya by Banker is more of a historical fantasy. The author refrains himself in going deep into shastrarth debate and concentrate more on establishing it as an action pack thriller. Something which he has done with his famous Ramayana retelling. It is a four starer read.

About Ritu Mantri

A happy soul whenever a book in hand, Ritu Mantri love talking about books and recommending them as much as she love reading them. Books keep her sane and infuses a new meaningful sentence each day in the book of her life.

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