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Historical fiction is a trend in literature that is fast taking over as a genre. We see almost every new author write period dramas to begin with. With the success of the Shiva Trilogy by Amish, Indian authors have got a fresh impetus to experiment with historical characters. But The Untold Story Of Arundhati And The Black Emperor is distinct from the scores of historical fiction that is being written today.
Now you would obviously ask why is it so different? It is historical fiction after all. So it is, but Rashmi Singh paints a picture of ancient Southern India in her novel 'The Untold Story Of Arundhati And The Black Emperor'. Most other attempts at Indian historical fiction have explored North India and the empires that flourished there. We seem to have comfortably forgotten that Southern India had some of the greatest Dravidian dynasties of her time.
So the settings of the Black Emperor or the Pulakesein's court is fresh and full marks to Rashmi Singh for acquainting us with ancient Southern India again. Pulakesein or the heartless Black Emperor was the greatest king of the Chalukya dynasty who became the overlord of South Indian. But his heart was stolen by none other than a court dancer named Arundhati. The Untold Story Of Arundhati And The Black Emperor also includes a tale of forbidden passion between another dancer Sivagami and the rebellious Prince Narsimhavardhan I.
One tale of love inspired another passionate love story until these forbidden afflictions lead to widespread devastation and doom. We have heard the stories of Salim and Anarkali; it is now time to move on to a slightly more realistic tale of passionate love that includes cunning and a terrific mix of human emotions.
The writing style of Rashmi Singh also sets The Untold Story Of Arundhati And The Black Emperor apart. The narrator keeps on changing and she keeps cutting back from present to past to future time frames to keep the plot interesting. We cannot end this book review without mentioning the sub-textual title 'Sluttish Times'. This phrase has been picked from one of William Shakespeare's sonnets where he says that 'Time' is the biggest 'slut' as 'Time' betrays everybody.
Read The Untold Story Of Arundhati And The Black Emperor just for the pleasure of a sneak peek in parts of our history that remain unexplored. You will find many tales worth telling in the dusty and yellowing pages of South Indian history.