Book excerpt from Scion of Ikshvaku: Sita is suave and fearless in Amish’s Ramayana

hidden

Sep,10 2015 15:50 58 IST

Editors note: Amish Tripathi, the author of the bestselling Shiva trilogy, is out with his new book. After Lord Shiva, it is Lord Rama's turn to be novelized into Amish's fantasy re-imagining of the Ramayana in his new book, Scion of Ikshvaku. The Shiva trilogy, which included The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas and The Oath of the Vayuputras, was a smash hit amongst readers and the new book comes highly anticipated. Scion of Ikshvaku hit the bookshelves on 22 June and is expected to be a bestseller, following the footsteps of the Shiva trilogy.

Scion of Ikshvaku_book cover

The following is an excerpt from the book, Scion of Ikshvaku:

‘Princess Sita!’ screamed a man, possibly the leader of the mob. Their elaborate attire suggested that this crowd was made up of the well-to-do. ‘Enough of protecting these scum from the Bees Quarter! Hand him over!’

‘He will be punished by the law!’ said Sita. ‘Not by you!’

Ram smiled slightly.

‘He is a thief! That’s all we understand. We all know whom your laws favour. Hand him over!’ The man inched closer, breaking away from the crowd. The air was rife with tension; nobody knew what would happen next. It could spiral out of control any moment. Crazed mobs can lend a dangerous courage to even the faint-hearted.

Sita slowly reached for her scabbard, where her knife should have been. Her hand tensed. Ram watched with keen interest: no sudden movements, not a twitch of nervous energy when she realised she carried no weapon.

Sita spoke evenly. ‘The law does not make any distinction. The boy will be punished. But if you try to interfere, so will you.’

Ram was spellbound. She’s a follower of the law...

Lakshman smiled. He had never thought he would find another as obsessed with the law as his brother.

‘Enough already!’ shouted the man. He looked at the mob and screamed as he swung his hand. ‘She’s just one! There are hundreds of us! Come on!’

‘But she’s a princess!’ Someone from the back tried to reason weakly.

‘No, she’s not!’ shouted the man. ‘She is not King Janak’s real daughter. She’s adopted!’

Sita suddenly pushed the boy out of the way, stepped back and dislodged with her foot an upright bamboo stick that held the awning of a shop in place. It fell to the ground. She flicked the stick with her foot, catching it with her right hand in one fluid motion. She swung the stick expertly in her hand, twirling it around with such fearsome speed that it whipped up a loud, humming sound. The leader of the mob remained stationary, out of reach.

Dada,’ whispered Lakshman. ‘We should step in.’

‘She has it under control.’

Sita stopped swinging and held the stick to her side, one end tucked under her armpit, ready to strike. ‘Go back quietly to your houses, nobody will get hurt. The boy will be punished according to the law; nothing more, nothing less.’

The mob leader pulled out a knife and swiftly moved forward. Sita swerved back as he swung the blade wildly. In the same movement, she steadied herself by going back one step and then down on one knee, swinging her stick with both her hands. The weapon hit the man behind his knee. Even before his knee buckled, she transferred her weight to her other foot and yanked the stick upwards, using his own legs as leverage as his feet went up in the air. His legs flew upwards and he fell hard, flat on his back. Sita instantly rose, held the stick high above her head with both her hands, and struck his chest hard; one brutal strike. Ram heard the sound of the rib cage cracking with the fierce blow.

Sita twirled the stick and held it out, one end tucked under her armpit again; her left hand stretched out, her feet spread wide, offering her the balance she needed to move to either side swiftly. ‘Anyone else?’

Excerpted with permission from The Scion of Ikshvaku, Amish, Westland.