I love Mythology as much I love Mystery and Thrillers and that’s the reason I signed up for a review copy on Writer’s Melon when Kavita Kane’s The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty came up for review.
At a glance
- Title – The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty
- Author – Kavita Kane
- Pages- 325
- Publishers- Westland Publications Ltd
It’s only recently that I got a few of Kavita Kane’s novels and I am yet to start those but this one sounded even more tempting to start with.
The blurb itself sounds so intriguing and here it what it has to say…
‘I learnt to love like a man—to love without feelings. And I shall never forget this lesson.’
Matsyagandha, Daseyi, Yojanagandha — the queen of Hastinapur, Satyavati. Abandoned as a baby, preyed on by a rishi, she hardens herself, determined that the next time she is with a man, she will be the one to win. And win she does: the throne of Hastinapur for herself, and the promise that her sons will be heirs to the kingdom. But at what cost?
In a palace where she is disdained and scorned, Satyavati must set aside her own loss and pain if she is to play the game of politics. She learns to be ruthless, unscrupulous — traits that estrange her from everyone around. Everyone, except the man she cheated of his birthright.
A piercing, insightful look at the grand matriarch of the Kuru family, the woman who set off the sequence of events that ended in the bloody battle of Kurukshetra, The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty will re-align your reading of the Mahabharata.
Here is my review of the book….
The story starts with Bhishm lying in a bed of arrows, his memories piercing him more than the arrows below him.He wonders when he will die or when he had died- was it when the throne and title was snatched away from him or the day when he failed to save the honor of women like Amba and Drupadi or was it when his father,two half brothers and nephew Pandu died! He lies there thinking about all that was destroyed or rather all that he destroyed for one woman -Satyavati!
The seeds for the downfall of the great Kuru Dynasty were unknowingly planted by Devavrat and Satyavati. Little did they realize that their seemingly ‘small’ act would change the fate of the Dynasty in the years to come.
Abandoned as a baby, Satyavati is taken in by her Uncle,Dasharaj, who rears her as his own child . Satyavati is well aware of the circumstances of her birth and how her father made her twin, the Prince and decided to abandon her.
She grows up with this bitterness and has a never ending desire to rewrite her fate.
Rishi Parashar grants her a boon of eternal youth and beauty, musky fragrance that will waft across miles and unimpaired virginity in return for a child that she should bear for him.
Shantanu is heads over heels in love with the young Satyavati even though she is young enough to be his daughter. He seeks her hand in marriage but Dasharaj needs assurance that her children will be the heir to the throne not Shantanu’s son Devavrat.
Heart broken and unable to make the promise, Shantanu returns to the palace and Dev finds out the reason for his father’s brooding. He goes to Dasharaj’s house and give’s up his right to the throne and also vows to never marry!
On hearing this the Devas bestow him with the name Bhishm- a person who takes the most terrible vow. His father can neither rejoice nor can he mourn his son’s decision.For the great sacrifice that he has made,Shantanu grants Dev- icchamrityu – the power to choose the time of his death.
The wedding takes place and the whole kingdom is unhappy and they show it openly. They want the crown prince,Dev, on the throne and not a new Queen.
Slowly amidst the scorn and disdain, she get close to Bhism and both of them together run the administration of the Kingdom.
What happens after she wed the King and how much the Kuru clan suffers is the rest of the story.
Satyavati is portrayed as an evil empress here. She goes from being a commoner to the Queen of the kingdom.She is the one who is willing to go to any lengths to attain what she wants and most often ruthless in her decision making which is seen clearly in her efforts to establish the lineage of the Kuru clan.She is very opportunistic and with her sweet words get all things done in the way that she wants.
She is also depicted as an ambitious,adamant and head strong lady who is cunning and yet is a very shrewd administrator.
This is the story of Mahabharata through the eyes of Satyavati,a woman who had the determination and will power to attain what she wanted in a place where she was not welcome and scorned upon.
Satyavati and Bhishm together wade through the loss of Shantanu, Satyavati’s two children, attacks from the neighboring countries and all through this Bhishm is her pillar of support who is also instrumental in several of her plans though he is against it.All this he does when Sayavati insists are in the interest of the throne of Hastinapur.
The Queen’s vulnerable side is seen only by Bhishm.He loyally stays by her side and keeps up his vow to serve the throne till his last breath.
The whole of the book or rather the epic in itself is summarized by Ambalika –What a paradox it is…this war of the scions- the virile is the celibate, the impotent was made the king and the widows were made to supply the heirs from a stranger-son of a Queen -mother.
This, in its essence, captures the story of the Kuru Dynasty!
My thought’s on the book:
- Though I know a bit on Mahabharata,thanks to the famous TV series that I grew up watching, I came to know about the lesser known facts like the birth of Satyavati, Dasharaj,Uparichar Vasu,birth of Veda Vyas,Kripi,etc through this book.
- The writing is simple and is a gripping narrative.
- Each character has a strong personality which is well portrayed by the author.
- There is never a dull moment in this book. It is really unputdownable and each time I had to take a reading break to attend to some chore, my mind would be with one of the characters.
- It has the right blend of fiction and mythology.
- By the end of the book, I actually sympathized Satyavati. I knew her as a greedy and selfish woman who usurped the throne from Bhishm but never imagined the humiliation she had gone through after becoming the Queen.The rejection by everyone in the country and being addressed Daseyi in the palace and yet she had lived with her head held high , hiding her sorrow shows what a strong woman she was!
- And I loved the cover of the book.Such a beautiful picture!
If you love Mythology go for it without a second thought,it will make an interesting read. You are sure to discover a wide range of characters! Even though there is a little mix of fiction,Satyavati will remain in your heart for a long,long time!
About the Author
Kavita Kané is the best-selling author of four books, all based on Indian mythology: Karna’s Wife (2013), Sita’s Sister (2014), Menaka’s Choice (2015) and Lanka’s Princess (2016). A senior journalist with a career of over two decades, she quit her job to write books. With a post-graduate degree in English Literature and Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Pune, the only skill she has, she confesses, is writing.
Born in Mumbai, with a childhood spent largely in Patna and Delhi, she lives in Pune with her mariner husband Prakash, two daughters, Kimaya and Amiya, two dogs, Beau and Chic, and the uncurious cat Cotton.
A huge thanks to Writer’s melon and Westland Publications for sending across this book for review.
Check out the 50+ books that I have reviewed so far in the Book Reviews page.