01 January, 2017

Book Review - The Peshwa (The Lion and the Stallion)



The Peshwa impresses you right from the cover. Bold colours of powerful red and gold dominate the scene with a rider astride his war horse, radiating raw strength and ferocity through his eyes and body language.


The book retains its magnetic hold on you throughout and you will find it extremely difficult to put it down for even a moment. It’s a real page turner and keeps you hungering for more, especially when it ends. Without further ado, let’s look at what the book is all about.

What’s the Story about?
The Peshwa follows the life of Bajirao, son of Balaji Bhat - the senior Peshwa. The story covers the growing strength of the Maratha Confederacy across India during the dominant Mughal rule. The two powers co-exist through mutual understanding but this peace is threatened when Balaji stops the heinous plan of Nizam-ul-Mulk of the Mughal Empire causing the Nizam to unleash his revenge on the Marathas at an opportune time.

The untimely death of Balaji due to cancer puts the weight of being a Peshwa on the young Bajirao who has to deal with not just external enemies like the Mughals but also internal politically motivated individuals. Much bigger than all this though is the looming hellish activities carried out through the vengeful Nizam on the Marathas.

The story captures the young Peshwa in the midst of a new life with his wife and young son, while facing brutal war fare amongst his own people as well as the Nizam. Will Bajirao’s scant experience in the battle field cause him to fail? Will his love for his wife and son prove a distraction? And more than that, will he live up to everyone’s expectations and be their Peshwa they can believe and trust in?

How’s the Book?
The book is extremely interesting even if you’re not a history buff. I’ve never been one for history unless it’s a documentary on History TV channel, but this book with it’s effortless style and engaging language kept me hooked. Though this is based on a historical character, the author has fictionalized it to some extent so please don’t take it as a realistic capture of history though the author Ram Sivasankaran has followed the timeline and facts to an extent.

It is faced paced, though there were some places where I felt that the story could have been shortened to keep the story going. The characters are well etched out lending a wholesome reading experience. The battles are narrated with great detail and evoke visual imagery in the mind - kudos to the author for evoking such an effect!

It’s a book worthy reading when you need something between light and heavy. Seems like there will be a continuation of the book as per the last chapter’s ending where we’re introduced to Mastani. Looking forward to it!

Had just one doubt though - Couldn't figure out who the Lion and the Stallion referred to - the senior Peshwa and Bajirao or someone else?


About the Author
Ram Sivasankaran is an avid reader of epics, Hindu legends and stories of chivalry. This is his debut book covering the charismatic historical figure of Bajirao Bhat, Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy. His lucid writing, captivating grasp on narration, and intense vividity of expression marks him as superlative writer of today. He reads your mind and writes the next sentence according to what you want to read or know - and this is truly remarkable of him as an author!

Title: The Peshwa - The Lion and the Stallion
Author: Ram Sivasankaran
Published by: Westland Ltd.
ISBN: 9789385724213
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 338
Personal Rating: 4/5
Available on: Amazon and Flipkart


Note: I received a copy of this book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.