Another Tale of Two Cities
By Ezhuth Aani
Review By Ila Garg
Another Tale of Two Cities, a novel by Ezhuth Aani, is published by Inspire India Publishers. The cover is designed in a reddish orange backdrop which gives it a fiery appeal. The visual here is of a town which is situated near a river bank (or so it seems as a shadow/reflection of the town is seen on the cover right below the original town). The title at once took me back to the Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and I was intrigued.
Ezhuth Aani (Dr Ananthakumarasamy Ramanathan) is a specialist vascular and general surgeon in Australasia. He has trained or worked in 6 countries across four continents, meeting people from over a hundred nations. Drawing on his rich experiences from exposure to various cultures the author has a uniquely inclusive world view. He has patents for an antifog mask and a syringe holder. He has also published a new method of calculating dates. He has had the privilege of naming an operation after his birth place Yarl. Writing under the pennames Aani or Ezhuth Aani (pen), Dr Ramanathan has written two novels and an anthology of poems in Tamil.
He has published an English novel I am the Lord earlier. Another Tale of Two Cities is his second novel in English.
The blurb reads as, “Fourteen thirty one is the year remembered for the martyrdom of Joan of Arc. But another landmark event was unfolding in a future French colony. Cambodia was a cultural cauldron of Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism. The largest metropolis of the pre industrial era was also facing a climate change calamity. The story unfolds in fifteenth century Cambodia and travels to China, Sri Lanka, India and the Middle East, as Princes Adithya and Mahendra set out to seek help for their beleaguered country. Will the splendid twin cities of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom survive? Who wins the heart of Mandagini, the warrior princess?”
Unlike Dickens’ novel, this tale deals with the history of two kingdoms, Angkor Wat and Ankor Thom. The historical plot is set in 15th century and narrates the story of two kingdoms at war with each other. Our history is laced with such incidents.
The book begins with a tussle between prince Adithya and princess Mandagini. Both are determined and want the other to surrender. Ultimately, the prince wins but they both lose their hearts to each other. Thus, the famous statement that quarrels pave way to love is established in the beginning of the plot.
History has also been a witness that behind every war there was a woman or a woman-centric issue. Here also, it is a woman who becomes the cause of the war between these two princely kingdoms. As we go on exploring the plot further, we will find that the two princes (Adithya and Mahendra) fight with each other to win the heart of princess Mandagini.
Thus more twists and turns come up in the journey and make the plot really exciting. The lucidity of the story is commendable. Ezhuth Aani has done a good job with the story by weaving in themes of society, love, religion, bravery, etc. The language is kept simple and easy to comprehend for the readers.
How Adithya and Mandagini realise their love for each other, how Mahendra comes in the plot, who manages to win the princess’s heart in the war, despite loving Adithya will Mandagini be able to see a forever with him or the fate will separate the two are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in Another Tale of Two Cities.
Its concept is good and characterization is nicely done. For me, this one is a recommended read!