1852 A.D. A nation under peril. A band of rebels challenging a Global Empire. India’s first Martial Arts series.BUY NOW
“The events in Book One: The Kalari take place in the 1850s, in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent covering the region of present-day Kerala (as it existed in the fictional alternative reality – Reality Theta).”
“Their descendants are still alive, hiding in the forest for half a century. Only a handful know they exist. They are still following the old ways of Kalarippayattu. They should be able to help us.”
Built over a course of fifty years, in a natural canyon occurring behind the Yarudam Falls, the Prassahar was a hidden sanctuary of Kalarippayattu, dedicated to Lord Parashuram, the father of Indian Martial Arts. Larger than a small town, with a flourishing economy, a self-sustaining health and education system, and full of technological marvels, it was way ahead of many large kingdoms across the subcontinent.
I can’t see this anymore. I have tried my best, but this is not the sanctuary it once used to be. I can’t be a part of the slaughter and the torture and the rape, the very things you once escaped."
Hakkan’s tribal camp was located in a large clearing in the forest in the northern part of the Kingdom of Travancore. It was started years ago as a refuge for people who were shunned from the society and needed a home. However, over the years, it grew into a den for all kinds of underground activities. From a community of tribals, they became tribal dacoits. Rape, theft, smuggling and dacoity abound, things were no longer the same as the old days.
Balaram was the master of the Trivandrum Kalari. Known as the ‘Lion of the South’ among Indians and ‘The Bare-Handed Killing Machine’ among the British, Balaram went by many names in the professional fighting circles. In Book One, he trains Sai at his Kalari and hosts one of the biggest tournaments of Kalarippayattu, the Agastya Trophy.
A series of tragedy forced the boy from a good family to flee his home and become a tribal dacoit. After years of plunder, Skarat ended up at Hakkan’s tribal camp and rose through the ranks to become his deputy. In Book One, he leaves the camp and joins hands with the British, becoming their top assassin, entrusted with the task of capturing Sai.
Despite being the scion of the great Vadu clan, Sai Vadu Kechary was a simple boy who had recently graduated to adulthood. Deep inside, he was still a boy, a boy who had just lost his father and was entrusted with the insurmountable task of fulfilling his father’s lifelong dream of defeating the British. In Book One, he flees his native village and joins Balaram at his Kalari to train further in the art of Kalarippayattu.
Mohini was a master of her trade, a gorgeous performer, and sometimes, a lady of the evening. However, her alter ego was Lady X, one of the greatest spies in the Kingdom. Most people who hadn’t met her or seen her, believed her to be a myth, believed that she didn’t exist. What more of an honour could a master of espionage demand? In Book One, Mohini is running a secret tavern in the heart of the city of Trivandrum.
Escaping the horrors of her father’s camp, the lost girl ended up in the city of Trivandrum and made Balaram’s Kalari her home. Five years later, Kalyani was one of the fiercest warriors of the Kalari, and was skilled to face the mightiest of opponents and fight the toughest of battles. In Book One, she is living at the Trivandrum Kalari, where she meets Sai and begins a romantic relationship with him.
Master Ezhufzi was the oldest and one of the greatest masters of Kalarippayattu across the subcontinent. He was the only one alive who had mastered all the four stages of Kalarippayattu and was well versed with the art of the Marmas: a collection of the deadliest fighting techniques in the subcontinent. In Book One, he runs a hidden sanctuary dedicated to Kalarippayattu, called the Prassahar.
Vadu’s brother, Takran, was a terrific fighter, just like his brother. But deep inside, he was a calm man who planned his every move and would think thrice before picking up a sword. And in his own way, he was trying to fulfil his brother’s dream, starting a rebellion against the British. In Book One, Takran sets out on the task of building an army, and ends up at the Prassahar, seeking support of Master Ezhufzi.
“This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictious manner. Any resemblance to actual person, living or dead, or actual events, places, locales or incidents is purely coincidental.
The views, opinions and beliefs expressed are solely of the author in his personal capacity and do not express the views, opinions and beliefs of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas or any other individual or organisation.”
Author of 'Daughters of Char Chinar'
"Ambuj Gupta’s Pratidwandi is deep, dark and disturbing but definitely worth a read ...Read more
This gripping nationalistic saga takes one hurtling through the incredible resistance movement pioneered by the heroic Indian martial arts exponents against the inhuman British in Kerala. Gupta writes like H. Rider Haggard. I read it in one go. Strongly recommended."
Author of 'Rage Against the Dying of the Light'
"This historical fiction showcasing the beauty, bravery and richness of lesser written....Read more
Indian martial art Kalaripayattu fighting their existential battle against the tyrannical British rule is a gripping tale. The easy flow of narrative style complements beautifully both the vividity and grandiosity of imagination, giving it a magnificently fictional texture."
Author - Be Better Bit-By-Bit
I am a non-fiction reader and the reason I pick fiction to let my emotions and senses...Read more
experience the ups and downs. Pratidwandi ticks all the boxes. Romance, heroes, villains, super girls, war, suspense, drama, thrill, emotions. Ambuj Gupta has packed loads of stuff in this beautiful meal. The characters are lively, the theme and stage are almost cr ying for a Bollywood calling. Ambuj finds an interesting connection between an ancient martial art form, its tutors & pupils, British regime and then sews them together to narrate a war story. A must-read for its characters. And, now eagerly waiting to experience the next story from Ambuj's imagination locker.