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Book Review:The Peshwa by Ram Sivasankaran

I first read about Bajirao as part of a history lesson in
school. Very recently Film maker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali recreated and romanticized Bajirao to etch a memory that would stay in mind for some time to come.

Now you have Author Ram Sivasankaran who makes his debut with yet another version of Peshwa Bajirao.

I loved the bright and eye catching cover of the book as soon as I saw it, and was curious to find out how Sivasankaran would interpret this hero of the 18th Century Maratha Confederacy.
The book starts with the senior Peshwa, Balaji Vishwanath Bhat, foiling the plan of Nizam Ul Mulk of the Mughal Empire and asserting the power of the Marathas. A blow that would prove to be a costly one, with the vengeful Nizam lying in wait for an opportune moment to strike back.

A terminal illness snuffs out the life of Balaji Bhat, placing the heavy crown of responsibility on the young head of his son, Bajirao who is the new Peshwa.

Will Bajirao live up to his illustrious father’s name or will his lack of experience allow the enemy to close in faster? Will Bajirao’s love for his young wife and newborn son soften his resolve to place Confederacy before family? Will he live up to the title of Peshwa?

With his extensive research and clear and concise writing Ram Sivasankaran weaves a tale that keeps you turning the pages. What I particularly liked was how the story covered not one, but two Peshwas. Balaji Vishwanath’s solid character and his tete-a-tete with his son, Bajirao, were my particular favourite parts of the book. It is during these father-son conversations that Bajirao’s character is built and he is polished and readied to prepare him to be the future Peshwa.
Another character I particularly liked was the evil giant,Bangash,or The Butcher as he was known as. A man of unimaginable proportions and intentions that turn to childlike loyalty while they remain pure evil, he was a character I looked forward to.
What I found interesting were the little illustrations dotted along the book at most crucial parts of the story.
My only quibble? If the war bits could have been pruned a little it would have made the pace of the book crisper.

The book ends with an Epilogue titled, ‘The Princess of Bundelkhand’ introducing Mastani. Do we have a sequel or part 2 in store, Mr Sivasankarn?

I received a copy of The Peshwa from Writersmelon.com in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.

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