The Peshwa: The Lion And the Stallion

by Ram Sivasankaran

Read this in about 4 minutes
The epic tale of Bajirao Bhat is worth telling and retelling for generations to come. The name Bajirao and Mastani go hand in hand. But very few people know the tale of the conquests of Bajirao. The man who never lost a battle but surrendered to life towards the end. The author has written a historical fiction of Bajirao's conquests and how he came about fighting wars. It may entice few readers but maybe not those who already know quite a deal about the legend. 

Cover page

The Peshwa army was known for its cavalrymen. The horses and their riders were the strength of the army. Bajirao himself on his horse is an apt cover art. The font compliments the picture. It is definitely a great cover for a historical fiction of this kind. It is a great composition too.

Characters 

Balaji Bajirao Bhat is the prime character of the story as it can be concluded from the title. Except here he is not the fearless great warrior as we all know him. Here he is still a boy who is learning the trade. Bajirao is often tested by his father for the wit and wisdom. A great Peshwa himself Balaji is training his son to be the next Peshwa in line. Bajirao is a man who fears for his family and military. He is vulnerable when he is about to go to the war. He makes mistakes and apologizes for them. He understands the cost of his deeds but does not possess the tact for politics. Bajirao in the book is going to break all the imagines of the sword of the Chhatrapati as we know him. 
There are other characters in the book such as Kasibai - Bajirao's wife and companion; his father - Balaji; the great Senapati and traitor - Dabhade, etc. All the characters are interesting to read about. 

Content 

It is the tale of Bajirao. He is still a young boy who is about to enter adulthood when he is promised to Kashibai. Bajirao is a young man still learning the ways of court and war. He is trained in the military, unlike earlier Peshwas. The story begins when he comes face to face with the Mughals in an entourage to free Chhatrapati's mother from the Mughals. It is his first diplomatic encounter with the Mughals. The book primarily talks about the slow initiation which leads to the first Great War against the Mughals. 
The story starts with an interesting plot but it gets over before the thirst for the history is quenched. The author asks readers not to compare the book with actual history but the wrong facts irritate history lovers no less. The facts are completely off track but at the same time, it's not helping build the story. The content may be disappointing for those who look for a bit of history in a historical fiction. 

Language 

The author definitely possesses the art of story-telling or so it may seem initially. The narration begins well but there is a flat tone throughout the book. There are no paragraphs that excite you or fill you will anger. 
The descriptions, too, gets tedious. The need to describe the attire of each person every time throughout the scenes in the book may seem necessary initially; but towards the end, it feels like too much work to read those paragraphs. That being said, the author possesses a flair for writing. It is the composition and the toning that needs to be worked on. 

Good points 

The cover page is a great work of art. It does a great work of segregation the book into the genre and highlighting it on the shelf, both. The characters are interesting to read about. The book portrays the Peshwa in a new light which may interest many. The book talks about the first few years of the Peshwa when he is just ascending to the seat next to the Chhatrapati. It is not the epic story of the legendary warrior that we all know of. 

Bad points 

The writing is great but it gets tedious after a few pages. The descriptions are too many which throw the story out of focus at times. The entire tone of the book is quite flat. The epilogue towards the end about Mastani does not invite readers to read the sequel. 

Overall 

I have mixed feelings about this book. This may not be the best book in the genre but it has some good points. The book may not be a complete disappointment for those who are new to the genre but those who have been reading historical fiction may find it to be lame. 

Who do I recommend this to 

This book is for those who want to read some historical fiction or are new to the genre. 

Quotable quotes

Men will always be delighted to see reasons in your negotiations and proposals, as long as you put a sword to their throats first.
A man may be loved and respected but he must also be feared. That is the recipe for strength.For power.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The review is my own, completely uninfluenced.