Fourteen thirty one is the year remembered for the martyrdom of Joan of Arc. But another landmark event was unfolding in a future French colony. Cambodia was a cultural cauldron of Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism. The largest metropolis of the pre industrial era was also facing a climate change calamity. The story unfolds in fifteenth century Cambodia and travels to China, Sri Lanka, India and the Middle East, as Princes Adithya and Mahendra set out to seek help for their beleaguered country. Will the splendid twin cities of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom survive? Who wins the heart of Mandagini, the warrior princess?
“Is the reddened water flowing across
the reflection of the setting sun
or the blood of the dead? …”
~ Towards the Sunset: Another Tale of Two Cities by Ezhuthu Aani
Another Tale of Two Cities is a story about twin cities, Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom in the verge of destruction and warriors Aditya and Mahendra are on the quest to save their country. Will they succeed in their quest or not, their journey and who will win the heart of Mandagini, the warrior princess fills the rest of the plot ( I don’t want to disclose much since it will destroy the suspense) It unfolds the suspense filled history of Cambodia.
Historical fiction was never of my taste but this one simply grabbed my interest. Everything about this book; the cover, the title, the author name, plot gives an outstanding feeling. Each page gave me the hunger to go on for more. The historical detail, the fights, sense of patriotism and bravery each concept is penned so well by the author that it kept the level of interest intact; it also shouted about the effort behind the boo;. The social set up and culture, the background details all are considered precisely in the book. The end note was a bang on and the poem Towards the Sunset added to its beauty. I must say that the strong plot is the wow factor of this book. I must appreciate the translators for keeping up the essence and beauty of the story.
The only odd thing i found is the mid section where Mahendra is spending his time in Hongxi; that didn’t connect well with the otherwise well structired plot-line. I also found it off since i kind-of took side with Aditya over Mahendra 😉
Overall it is a wonderful success considering that it brought about a great story of love, hate, patriotism, bravery… incorporating historical facts. I will rate this masterpiece…… 4.5 / 5 🙂 and would like to recommend it to all historical-fiction lovers.