The Mauryan by Komal Bhanver
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Can Ashoka conquer his enemies, or will his own demons get the better of him?
Known in far reaches of the world as a great conqueror, emperor Bindusara rules over much of India with an iron fist. When a Brahmin prophesies that his wife, the beautiful Subhadrangi, will birth a legendary ruler, Bindusara is ecstatic. But when the child is born a frail, ordinary-looking boy, the emperor, filled with disappointment and disgust, leaves him to his mother and turns all attention to grooming Susima, his eldest son, as heir to the Mauryan throne.
Shunned by his father, and bullied and humiliated by Susima, Ashoka learns from a very early age to be the master of his own fate. Under the determined tutelage of his mother and the company of a few loyal companions, he begins to challenge Susima at every step. When he meets a beautiful and spirited young woman who teaches him the true meaning of courage and changes him forever, he begins to dream of ruling the vast empire.
But kaal has other plans for him, for his ambition and steady rise are being noted by those who want to end the threat to Susima’s succession once and for all. Will Ashoka allow the obstacles along the path of his destiny to overwhelm him, or can he rise above them to become the greatest emperor who ever lived?