Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi is his second book and my first by Ashwin. Honestly I had not heard of the book and just picked it up randomly at Crossword just for the love of history in stories. And am I happy that I did.
The book is at the core about the politics of power. Acquiring it, implementing it and retaining it. It is like reading two stories simultaneously and is written so tactically well that the element of curiosity is kept alive while not confusing the reader with too many boomerang switches between two stories separated by 2300 years. It beautifully and effortlessly conveys the bare fact that human beings at the core have not evolved nor changed, only our systems, technologies and comforts have evolved and changed. At the core we remain as we were ages ago - insecure, vulnerable and manipulative.
The story takes the reader through the raw kingmaker abilities of the central characters Vishnugupta alias Chanakya and Pandit Gangasagar Mishra. Though living their lives centuries apart they are conjoined by a secret ancient mantra - a power mantra. It is the tale of the sheer intellectual brilliance why which they plan, manipulate and maneuver their proteges Chandragupta Maurya and Chandini Gupta to the pinnacle of power and become the power behind the power.
Chanakya's Chant is a book you would just not put down and would want to rush to its final pages but you will dare not skip any page in between. It is racy, saucy and leaves you vulnerable. Its a guarantee that after you read the book you just cannot look at people the way you looked at them before you started the book least there is a greater Chanakya in you before hand.
The only complaint to the publishers is that it is such a beautiful piece to have in your collection, that the cover and pages quality could have be better.
iVerdict: Outstanding. Recommended.