Review Pen: Chanakya by Ashok K Banker

Ashok K Banker

Author– Ashok K Banker

Book– Chanakya- the legend begins

Previous Works- Siege of Mithila, King of Ayodhya, , The Darkness before dawn, Blood Red Saree etc

Publishers– Westland Books

Number of Pages– 154

Format– Paperback


Jurist, war strategist, kingmaker. Master administrator. Author of the Arthashastra. But before the legend, there was the boy: Vishnu Gupta.

Pataliputra, capital of the great Nanda empire, is teeming with crime and corruption. Granted unlimited authority by the hedonistic emperor Mahapadma Nanda, evil mastermind Maha-amatya Kartikeya has the city in a vice-like grip.

But another name bubbles up through the chaos; there is talk of a young genius, Vishnu Gupta. When the Maha-amatya investigates the rumours, he recognises a future rival in the boy. He is determined to destroy this competition from the roots – family and all. Vishnu must gather all his wits and his formidable knowledge to protect everything he holds dear. The holy scriptures, his brilliant interpretations of the Vedas and the power of his unmatched mind: these are the only tools he has against the might of the most powerful man in the empire.

Epic storyteller Ashok K. Banker imagines the life and formative years of India’s greatest genius, a man whose influence persists down the ages. In this first instalment of a thrilling trilogy, he recreates Chanakya’s early struggles and triumphs.

Ashok K Banker
© Instagram @thebookpiper


Chanakya – The legend begins, by Ashok K Banker is a fictional re-imagination of the story of Chanakya, the legendary teacher, who led to the fall of an entire corrupt empire. His teachings and tactics are still famous because of their utilization in daily life, even though those were war time teachings.

One of the main reasons behind picking this book was the fact that Chanakya had always been an intriguing character. His ways were cunning and yet honourable. And a single man who overthrew an entire medieval empire, is surely someone who would be respected world wide.

It is the first book in the Itihasa Series by Ashok K Banker and it starts from Chanakya’s early life, when he was an exceptionally bright seven year old.

This book is purely fictional, except the names of the characters, because as far as I remember, Vishnu Gupta and Chandra were not of the same age, in fact, Vishnu Gupta was older than Chandra, to be able to tutor him.
When I started reading the book, it felt rather mundane, as the story progressed, I was hooked. It was the hold my breath sort of excitement, as I turned the pages, wanting badly to know what was next.

Also Read- Review Pen: A Cage Of Desires by Shuchi Singh Kalra

The small boy’s innocent yet charming and extremely intelligent ways were absolute entertainment for me.

The book is written in simple and easy English, which makes it easy to grasp and even the kids can read it without any hassle. The author has beautifully presented the story, making it very interesting and the next page is never a disappointment (until the last one, of course!).

The cover gives a strong vibe of the medieval era and it is a well designed one. Before reading the book, one might get a notion of the cover being a good one, but after the read, you would realize that it depicts the strong character of Chanakya. How the determined mind of a small boy standing in front of the huge palace, had the nerves to have thoughts of revolt against an empire that believed in brain washing the people with fear and had the corruption at its roots, controlled by the ones who run it.


Cover- 4 stars

Title- 4 stars

Blurb- 4 stars

Plot- 3 stars

Writing and Presentation- 3.5 stars

Overall- 3.7 out of 5 Stars

The book was too short for a first part. It just explains the little things and the book ends even before there is much of the plot to be revealed. The book ends on a major cliffhanger and if anyone is even a little bit impatient, I would recommend to read the book only when the rest of the parts of the series are out. The book is so short, it might leave you a little bit frustrated as well.

Reviewed by- Banaja Prakashini

Buy the book-


More books from the Ashok k Banker –

About the author-

Ashok K. Banker is the internationally acclaimed author of over 60 books that have sold over 3 million copies in 21 languages and 61 countries. His hugely successful Ramayana Series is credited with having launched the genre of English-language mythological retellings and influenced an entire generation of authors.

As a journalist, Ashok K Banker broke front-page news stories for the Times of India and Outlook. As a screenwriter, he created and wrote India’s First TV Series in English, and co-created and co-wrote Malaysia’s First TV Series in English, as well as several other hit shows. Born in Mumbai, Ashok is of Irish-Portuguese-Sri Lankan-Indian parentage, and lived in India for over 51 years before migrating with his family to the United States, where he now lives.



The intelligent mind questions and doubts everything; devious oppressors know this and use it to force us to question even the most stark facts. Whom will you believe, the tyrant asks, me, or your own lying eyes and senses?

History has a way of reminding us when we forget; its lessons are cruel but instructive.


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