Natasha Sharma’s “Raja Raja And The Swapped Sacks” is an imaginary story in the historical setting of the mighty Chola Empire. We have read in our history books that King Raja Raja Chola had trade relations with several other empires across oceans. Have we heard fictional tales of this period?
Natasha Sharma’s ingenuity lies in constructing a plot in this period setting. What if someone swapped the wares that the King traded with cheap imitations? Her imagination sets off here taking us, along with OnlyOne — a sleuth appointed for solving the mystery of the swapped sacks — on a ship to Sri Vijaya Empire and then to far off China.
How does OnlyOne find the swapper and save Raja Raja from the threat of losing his trade?
Read this tale of comedy of errors and you will definitely enjoy it.
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- At the risk of my image crashing down well below sea level, I am mentioning this as the first plus. The Knock knock jokes. When the silly joke started, I made a mental note that I should not find it silly and the children of the targeted age group might enjoy such word puns. Much to my disbelief, I found myself stifling my giggles when OnlyOne eventually tortures the Chief Minister of the Sri Vijaya Kingdom. This is in the league of the popular dialogue that gets repeated around 50 times without causing boredom in the Tamil movie NKPK aka Naduvula Konjam Pakkaththa Kanom.
- The fresh writing style of Natasha. A trace of history, a whiff of humour, a big pinch of wordplay seasoned with the unexpected. An eclectic but unique style.
- On a serious note, I like this attempt to set a story in a known historical setting. I am very convinced that a tale of this sort with the names and incidents slightly modified could have easily happened during this period.
- As a Tamil, it irks me when Tamil names, words or other facts are misspelt or misrepresented in books. Thanks to Natasha Sharma for doing her research well and getting the words and facts right.
- Nilomee Jesrani’s illustrations have done complete justice to Natasha’s story. Take a look at the cover and you will agree with me.
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- When the plot is one of a comedy of errors, it is a tight-rope walk and clarity in instilling the confusions becomes very important. It falls short in this respect.
A knock-out tale.
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Duckbill in return for an honest review. Thanks Duckbill.