Ashwatthama’s Redemption by Gunjan Porwal Review

ashwatthama by gunjan porwal
Illustrator: Gunjan Porwal
Published: 15 September 2018

In the past few years I have read so many Indian Mythology books with different approaches and viewpoints, different interpretation and angles that nothing seems to be catching my fancy. Until and unless the story line and plotting is really good or it has been written in an eloquent writing style. So naturally I was skeptical while picking up Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak by the author Gunjan Porwal. So read on to know whether the book impressed me or not.

Ashwathama in Vogue

These days it seems like every other author is coming up with a mythology book on Ashwathama and Kalki. Before that it was Karna. The authors have provided him vindication and now it is Ashwathama, giving him some solace from his eternal affliction. The author Gunjan Porwal has tried to do exactly the same in his book Ashwathama’s Redemption.

Story in Brief

The story is about the rise of an evil, who was presumed to be dead by everyone. As the sign of his resurrection were becoming more and more apparent, Ashwathama and his friends leaves no stone unturned to stop the inevitable.


The author has crafted an interesting story line of the evil Dandak who rules the most feared forest Dandakaranya with an ambition to occupy all the three worlds. He would have done so, had he not cursed by Guru Shukracharya. After waiting for 5000 years he would be rising again, more dangerous than before and invincible.

Now you will say that title of the book is Ashwathama and I am only writing about Dandak. That is so because Dandak was the star attraction of the book. He is the novelty factor in the otherwise the same old story.


Of course, this book is about Ashwathama so the review will be incomplete without mentioning about him. Ashwathama carries deep regret for his felony. His suffering was fathomless. But the rise of Dandak had provided him an opportunity to save the world and to some extent reduce the burden of his sins.

The mental turmoil of Ashwathama was superbly portrayed by the author. In fact I could feel his suffering and suffocation. And at one point I started feeling that he has suffered enough now he should be forgiven.

It is always said that the god has bigger designs for you there is always a reason behind all your suffering and bigger rewards await you. The author has used it in the story quiet effectively and the rise of Dandak could actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for Ashwathama. Everything is presented as pre-planned and pre-thought by Krishna.


Now a few things which actually dampen my experience with the book. More than half of the story was the repetition of all the major incidents of Mahabharata. It was so tedious and boring to read. There was no major plotting done for the story. Every character was merely repeating the stories of the epic Mahabharata.

Such books require thrill to hold the interest in the story which was amiss in the writing of the author. Only the climax scene was the one which has a real dire situation and I was wondering how Ashwathama will save everyone.

The setup of the story is about 100 years after the Kurukshetra war. But it doesn’t give that feeling. It feels like modern time.

This book was sort of mini retelling of Mahabharata. I wonder what the second book will be about. Unless the author churns out some real action in the book number two.

The Verdict

I think a little more attention to the plotting could have done wonders to the storyline. Read this book only if you are not well versed with your epics or new to the genre or the character of Ashwathama really intrigues you just like it is Karna for many.

Overall Score


In the past few years I have read so many Indian Mythology books with different approaches and viewpoints, different interpretation and angles that nothing seems to be catching my fancy. Until ...

  • Story Line
  • Plot
  • Characterization
  • Narrative
  • Pace

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