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Prince of Ayodhya: 1 (Ramayana) Hardcover – Aug 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books (Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446530921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446530927
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,223,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Dr Chirag A Patel on 30 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
At last there is a fantasy author of Asian origin whose work is being published in the U.K. by Orbit.
The author is writing his version of one of India's most famous religious scriptures - The Ramayana. Fortunately this three thousand year old story has been split into seven books to make it digestable, and so far the first two, Prince Of Ayodhya, and Siege of Mithila are on par with the best fantasy epics of our generation.
I encourage all fans of science fiction and fantasy, ancient Indian history and the origins of Hinduism to read the author's version which has been adapted for our times but still incorporates the tradition and mysticism of ancient India.
Personally I look forward to part three, Demon Lord Of Chitrakut more than the new Robert Jordan, George R Martin, David Gemmell or Guy Gavriel Kay offerings.(Something I never expected to admit
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By Lopa on 25 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
The writing is fluid, characters well developed. The author has taken on the difficilt task of retelling one of the great classics, and come out with flying colours.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 13 Jun. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book. Its a great story and in this version has been sympathetically updated to appeal to a wider audience. I can't wait for the next part to come out.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 43 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A triumph in cultural storytelling 5 Sept. 2003
By Scott Masterton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Prince of Ayodhya is a wonderful story based on the Indian classic poem the Ramayana.
It's a re-telling of the tale made flesh by Ashok Bankers' lush imagination. Those that have studied the Ramayana will enjoy their favorite characters as they come to life and take on dimensions that the poem could never touch. However, no particular knowledge of Indian history and culture is needed to enjoy this book. Mr. Banker has written this story to be enjoyed with little or no background knowledge of its' history.
The Prince of Ayodhya is fantasy and high adventure set in a world that most westerners have never experienced. If you love fantasy, adventure and historical fiction, you'll love this book.
A new and original voice has stepped into the world of fantasy and adventure! Bravo Mr. Banker, I can hardly wait for the next installment!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An Instant Classic 3 Mar. 2004
By not4prophet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"In a masterwork as imaginative as the greatest creations of J. R. R. Tolkien..." Oh, how many times have we heard that one before? Our bookstore shelves are clogged with would-be epics churned out by talentless hacks who can barely assemble a sentence, much less a novel. Given this profusion of overhyped, underwhelming crap, it's understandable that many readers might be skeptical of a newcomer fantasy author touted as a grandmaster. This time, however, there's no need. The claims are true, the talent is real, the result is stunning.
"Prince of Ayodhya" is, of course, an epic fantasy set in ancient India. It follows Maharaja Dasaratha, ruler of the mighty Kingdom of Ayodhya, and his three wives and four sons as they receive disturbing news from the seer Vishwamitra: the Demon Lord Ravana has been gathering an army of hellish beings in preparation for an assault on the mortal plain. The cast here is huge, but Ashok Banker juggles his characters well. Virtually all of them take on the larger-than-life personalities of epic heroes and villains, leaving an unforgettable stamp on the story rather than just going through the motions. One reviewer complained that the characters were too simplistic. It may seem that way at the start, but new layers of complexity unfold as the story progresses.
The best way to describe this book is to say that Banker gives his tale the scope of an epic. This is a story not just about big characters, but about big cities, big journeys, big armies, big battles, and a promise of even bigger events to come. Here we actually see not just a few people, but instead an entire nation being drawn into an expanding battle. This author has also mastered the little details of writing. His ability to evoke setting and mood through little details of sight, sound, and smell matches the best in the genre. His handling of pacing matches his talent at writing. There's never a slow moment in this book, and character development scenes are woven into the narrative so well that they fit perfectly.
Is this book perfect? No. Banker does have a few problems, such as an obsession with putting somewhat cheesy cliffhangers at the end of every single chapter and some chapters that are too short and choppy. But these are minor mistakes that barely put a dent in such a tremendous accomplishment. Overall, I give "Prince of Ayodhya" a hearty recommendation, and I can't wait for "Siege of Mithila".
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Awesome 19 Dec. 2003
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
i am an ABCD (ha, ha - indians will get it) but i am very familiar with the Ramayana, having read it in various editions that are true to the original sanskrit. i also watched the tv series as well (yuk, too histrionic).
all i have to say is this. the Ramayana was first spoken. i'm sure when the Ramayana was written down in Sanskrit, it was a sacrilege. when Tulsidas wrote the Ramayana in Hindi, that was considered a sacrilege. Then at some point it was translated into English. When it was made into a comic book, it was considered a sacrilege. When they made it into a tv show, egads! it was a mortifying sacrilege.
here's what a lot of the naysayers don't get. People aren't even reading the Ramayana anymore! so many of my friends here in the US are CLUELESS about it. they know nothing about it. they are real american-born-confused-desis.
Mr. Banker's retelling of this story does not hurt it. it is an excellent job and it will get more of our kids to read again. hopefully, creative artists will also create a video game for it and a movie, a la Harry Potter.
what people don't realize is that the Ramayana is a mixture of religion, mythology, and history. we have to get past the mythology, which can't be proven. we have to get past the history, which was 1000s of years ago. we have to aspire to the divinity. Let's understand that Rama had to make some incredibly difficult choices in his life. He is the most heroic, virtuous man who may have ever lived. Let's keep his glory alive.
People, get over it. Please! this is a great book.
Thank you, Mr. Banker
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Indian writers take epics global 16 Oct. 2003
By "ganeshp" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Adam and Ulysses are people that many of us grew up with as are the fairies and elves from British folklore thanks to Western writers and film-makers dabbling in Greek and Roman mythology, Biblical stories and myths and folklore to capture the imagination of modern readers and audiences. And in India, too, vernacular writers have turned to our very own epics, history and mythology to recreate them as popular writing. Now, it's the turn of Indian writers writing in English, who have already made their presence felt in world literature, to take our epics global to readers of fiction.
Ashok K Banker's Prince of Ayodhya, Book One of the Ramayana, which was recently released in India by Penguin is a journey in that direction. "The original Ramayana was written three thousand years ago by a reformed thief-turned-sage named Valmiki. Now, with breathtaking imagination and brilliant storytelling, Banker has recreated this epic tale for modern readers everywhere," says the book's cover. And the author himself is upbeat about this mammoth exercise that he has embarked on. "After I finish the seven books of the Ramayana, I intend to write the Mahabharata, the Book of Krishna and finally the book of Kalki and Ganesha, which in a sense will be coming back to the beginning of creation,'' he says. In fact, he has fin-ished writing the first four books of the Ramayana over the last four years and has sold the rights for all the seven books to Orbit publishers in UK.
Banker, however, stresses that it was not really a motivation to create popular fiction and take Indian epics global that has driven him. "For me there was no external motivation of money, social context or political circumstances. I was writing from personal obsession and a childhood love of epic story-telling. I wanted to take all the great leg-ends of Indian history and retell them. In the West history and my-thology has been told and retold millions of times. Even today popular fiction and films and even science fiction, TV are recreating them,'' he says.
Efforts to recreate history and mythology are obviously well re-ceived by historians and teachers of history in India. Feels Dr Samita Sen, Reader, Department of History, Calcutta University, a recipient of the prize fellowship at Trinity College (Cambridge University) in 1990-94: "Both mythology and history are cultural resources available to us for creative re-engagement. It is not only possible but even desirable that we draw on these resources and involve ourselves in a 'modern' engagement. The absence of such engagements have resulted in a near-monopoly of obscurantist and crassly commercial approaches. There is, of course, a long tradition of literary engagements with my-thology, rather more than history. Expectedly, however, these have been more in regional languages than in English. It is to be remem-bered that 'Indian writing in English' may have a long history but it is only very recently that it has leapt to prominence. This means that there is now a market and a relevance for such enterprises.''
But apart from the urge to retell the stories, it has also been a personal journey of discovery for Banker and a search for his roots. "My parents came from different religious backgrounds and split up when I was very young. My search for an identity has been very intense and I have often wondered whether I was really Scots, Goan, Gujarati, Dutch or Sri Lankan,'' he says.
And again from a historian's point of view, such a journey though personal, is viewed as a step in the right direction. "The issue here is not about knowing more mythology/epics as much as establishing an emotional relationship with our cultural past/present. In the latter sense, fictionalized accounts of myths/epics are a step in the right di-rection,'' says Dr Sen. And while Banker has borrowed heavily from all the available ver-sions of the Ramayana including Valmiki and Kamban to retell the story in today's idiom, he has also tried to explore more intensely and thoroughly than ever before the nuances of character.
Though the story so far has action as a central theme the author is not really looking at selling rights for a film script. "There's a story at the heart of it all. I'm not interested in film rights at all. And neither am I interested in creating a brand. I love writing and the book is cen-tral for me,'' says Banker. The book is already being distributed in 55 countries and 7 languages. "It is very exciting for me that 1000s of readers around the world are getting familiarised with the Ramayana for the first time through my book. I've got letters from readers in places like Cambria, UK, and Irvington, USA. saying they've never read an Indian tale before. Interestingly, apart from non-Indians there are many readers of Indian origin too who are buying the book,'' he says.
The book which was published first in UK earlier this year has already has two reprints and 30,000-40,000 copies have been sold.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful story told by a master story teller. 25 Mar. 2006
By Nick Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful book. I first got this book from a friend who recommended it as a good read. I, being an American Baptist, had no idea that this story was actually a retelling of a great Indian Epic, full of bramin magic, horrible beast, proud Armies, and a great hero.

Because of this wonderful book I have learned a great deal about a culture that I would probably not even really take the time to research.

As for the actual story. It was an amazing story once you get past all of the Indian words that are used. Once you begin reading it is kind of slow in the first few chapters but once the story gets going you'll be amazed.

I can't wait to finish reading this entire series and I look forward to the completion of the 6th and final book.

I strongly recommed this book to anyone interested in a good read. Expecially to those who are not Indian as this book will open your eyes to different cultures and send you back begging for more.
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