Author: Samhita Arni
“The famous dancer, Madhavi, is at the court of the Chera king for a grand performance. The kingdom’s first son, Shenguttuvan – The crown prince of the Cheras – is getting ready for his engagement to a Velir princess. There is celebration in the air. But when an astrologer predicts that the second son, Uthiyan, is destined to be greater than his elder brother, the Chera court erupts in chaos.
The courtiers begin to play the brothers against each other. Life becomes dangerous for Uthiyan, and the prince is forced to flee his home in the garb of a monk. On the perilous journey rife with assassins and conspirators, he is joined by others who seek refuge at the just court of the Pandavas king. But darkness is descending on the ancient city of Madurai.
Tormented by rage and lust, beset by betrayal and terror, Uthiyan is forced to choose a side in a conflict that is certain to end in bloody violence.”
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“With a start, Uthiyan turned around. There was something there, hovering above him - the faintest glimmer of eyes - watching him... I am death, came a whisper”. This is a riveting and strong quote from acclaimed author, Samhita Arni’s latest book– ‘The Prince’.
The story follows the life of a Chera prince, called Uthiyan, who is caught in between the woes of power, loyalty, and collusion when a renowned astrologer predicts that he is destined to be greater than his brother, the crown prince. His peaceful life turns upside down as a string of assassination attempts and family conspiracies emerge from the depths of the palace. Even the walls are watching his every move. He either has to continue being a pawn in the plots that involve him and his brother or spend the rest of his days in exile. Uthiyan retreats from the kingdom and chooses to live as a monk, hoping to find peace. But little does he know that the world outside the palace is also a dangerous place. He journeys all over Tamilaham, encountering eccentric people at every step of the way. But do these characters always have his or their best interests at heart?
This fresh and compelling tale about a young adult trying to find his true self is sure to keep readers engaged! Samhita Arni uses interesting and dynamic vocabulary throughout the book. Uthiyan is a multi-layered character and readers see him transform from a snobby, sophisticated prince to a mature, experienced, and appreciative man. Poems and poetic form are the heart of this novel, and we see them through the eyes of Uthiyan and the mentors he meets on his journey. Arni also eloquently describes the cities and lineage of medieval South India, through the plot.
But, at some point, the story became too drawn out for me, and I think that there was too much focus on the overall theme of death. As a result, I would recommend this book to readers above the age of 13.
Regardless, ‘The Prince’ is undoubtedly a powerful novel and should have a place on every young adult’s bookshelf.