The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion by Ram Sivasankaran is a fictional essay that is historically extremely accurate and also intriguing, which is able to revive the atmospheres, sounds and scents of the time in a clash among cultures, which are so different, narrating the facts and describing the characters and places in a truly admirable way.
The work opens with a metaphorical image, with harsh conditions which the Maratha Confederacy undergo as the Mughals train their troops to invade the Maratha dominion which is foiled time and again by Balaji Vishvanath Bhat. The great Peshwa, gradually succumbs to his health as his son Bajirao Bhat slowly tempers his physical shape, as he picks up the pieces to defend in the face of hostility of nature and life.
The death of Vishvanath Bhat will bring the young Bajirao to understand and appreciate his princely status, as he is forced to live in direct contact with his other comrades, sharing their same fate, struggling against the empire's enemies, winning the battles even more difficult, and conquering new lands. The outcome of the war depended in no small measure by the sum of the ambitions and weaknesses of each of these dramatis personae.
I just want to say that the book is a perfect example of how history, may be disclosed in an absolutely understandable manner, thanks to the narrative and stylistic ability of the author that excited me from the first to the last page because it not only tells the adventures of an entire dynasty of Maratha princes, but recounts in masterly fashion the story of love between Bajirao and his beautiful wife Kashibai with the epilogue give a glimpse of Mastani.
The author gives us a very detailed account of the life in the Maratha Confederacy at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, complete with a final glossary as he traces the development of Bajirao with rigorous documentation, which show us the war within his personality and comprehensive than the ones described in contemporary sources.
The author has the sensitivity of the narrator, and narrates Bajirao’s life as a story at its centre, with the big politics around, and men and women of flesh and blood going on to depict the educated spies and brave, fierce and relentless invasions and frivolous ladies.
The author tells a dramatic story, populated by fascinating characters, who are sometimes cruel, incompetent and brilliant, heroic and pompous and in a compelling manner, depict us those events of the Maratha and Mughal rivalries on the inaccessible and inhospitable territories in the background and the strategic mistakes that were committed by both sides.
Yet the book is first of all an adventure novel as when the adventure becomes history, history becomes intrigue and intrigue generates adventure. The author, through a careful reconstruction of the sources, a passionate research and a sober and brilliant narrative gives us the historical, social and political background to the wars, with the epilogue highlight the long-term consequences of the incident.
The storyline is spread over the historical epoch of the eighteenth century superimposed with adventures and emotions that capture the reader's attention as the writer takes us into the splendour and the opulence of courtrooms and then enchant us with the wonderful costumes, and the amazing romances in a mix of cultures, traditions and religions.
The book is not only an adventure story but also a love story, and, is a trip around the life of Bajirao and the Maratha culture that tells stories of courage, friendship and loyalty in the face of uncertain times and especially in the face of a history of intense and eternal love.
The narrative style is impeccable with the descriptive passages offer a unique intensity as the views of the characters alternate in a succession of emotions and sensations. The exotic atmosphere is represented with the aid of numerous stylistic figures that accentuate the author's ability to engage the reader.
The author is a very good writer because he managed to paint in an extraordinary way an entire era, providing the reader of historical information of great importance.
Publisher: Westland ◘ Published: 5 January 2016 ◘ ISBN-13: 978-9385724213 ◘ Language: English ◘ Binding: Paperback ◘ Pages: 356