“… he (Luv) let fly. The first arrow hit its mark and the second was flying even before the wagon had rolled fully into view. A man shouted with pain and tumbled off the wagon, with two arrows sprouting, one from each shoulder…”
— Chapter 4, Kaand 1, Sons of Sita
That was an attack by the twins, Luv-Kush on an Ayodhyan caravan (carrying funding for an Ashwamedha Yagna).
|Sons of Sita
|Volume-8 of the 8 volume Ramayana series
NOTE: Please read the reviewer’s opinions on the whole series here.
The Story in Book-8 (last of the series)
Sita and her twins (Luv-Kush) live in a forest hermitage run by rishi Valmiki (credited as the original author of the Ramayana). While Luv-Kush are tutored along with other acolytes of the hermitage in the Vedas, Sita and her ex-bodyguard Nakhudi train the twins as warriors.
In the meanwhile, in Ayodhya, Rama now styles himself as an “emperor” (Samrat). He is manipulated by his new ministers, and justifies all his inconsiderate actions as an extremely distorted form of dharma (his ruthless soldiers are sarcastically called ‘dharmanators’). His mothers Kaushlya and Sumitra are unable to influence him. When his brothers (Bharat and Shatrughan) try to provide moderating advise, they are branded as traitors. Lakshmana and Hanuman continue to be unquestioning side-kicks.
At the start of the story, the mischivious twins waylay a caravan bearing the king’s property. The property is restored to Ayodhya by Nakhudi, who returns to the forest with bunch superannuated soldiers, who are disgruntled with things happening in Ayodhya.
Rama collects a huge army, supplemented by another army of vanars and initiates a Ashwamedha yagna. The horse of the yagna is prodded into the forest by a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries (hired by the Ayodhyan army). Their objective seems to be to deliberately make people appear like challengers to Rama, so that they get an excuse to loot and pillage.
The horse and Luv-Kush cross paths and then… (you will need to read the book to know what happens).
Cracker of an end to a cracker of a series
This book is a roller-coaster ride, with Luv-Kush, Sita and her friend Nakhudi as the heroes/ heroines. The biggest villain in this book is a megalomaniacal Rama, who is completely manipulated by some of his ministers. The fight sequences and the descriptions of the forest and life in the hermitage are riveting.
The book also saw a change in Banker’s style, specially the racy, terse dialogues between the twins.
Here is another interesting passage from the book:
“Rama’s mother Kaushlya to Sumitra – ‘For too long now, I have begun to feel as if everything I say to Rama has been falling on deaf ears. Or blocked ears, at least….. turns himself to stone as Rama has done, he feels no need to bother with intellectual debate. He simply does as he pleases and nothing can sway him’.”
Chapter 23, Kaand 1, Sons of Sita
After reading the Vengeance of Ravana, I was ready for another disappointment, but Sons of Sita is a real thriller, and a fitting end to a wonderful series (barring Vengeance of Ravana).
Even with all his convoluted attempts in Vengeance of Ravana and a feeble attempt in Sons of Sita, the author does not manage to provide any coherent explanation to Rama’s behaviour – neither with respect to Sita, nor how became a despot controlled by warmongers in his ministry.
NOTE: Please read the comments on the whole series here , as the reviewer’s opinions on the series are expressed there.
Here is the full list of the series with links to the reviews and online bookstores:
|Prince of Ayodhya
|Siege of Mithila
|Demons of Chitrakut
|Armies of Hanuman (reviewed here)
|Bridge of Rama
|King of Ayodhya
|Vengeance of Ravana
|Sons of Sita (reviewed here)
If you have not yet read any of the books in the series, go for the first one right away! You will not regret it.
Your comments are welcome!