The Thirteenth Day by Aditya Iyengar
Publisher Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages 260 Pages
Publication Year 2015 June
It is about the 18 day Mahabharat war and told as POV of the characters.
The book is about war and mind games spanning on a period of 3 nights and 3 days and starting on the 13th day of the Kurukshetra war. It starts with Yudhisthira and his claim for the throne, his POV is introspective and how history has betrayed him. How he has never got the hero status and how he has been in the shadows of Bhima and Arjun.
The second POV is that of Radheya better known and also at times misjudged 'Karna'. This POV is rough-edged and is mainstream considering Karna had played a very important role throughout Mahabharat.
The third POV is that of Abhimanyu, who is young and impatient and the actions from Abhimanyu decide the fate of the Kurukshetra war.
Throughout the book 'Dharma' or moral is notably avoided, it does good and gives in a different insight of how characters were during the war times. How war affects minds of the most Royal blood and even a peasant soldier. Also no sentiments have been attached in the POV's, the hero worshiped Karna and Abhimanyu are shown and written without emotion and it does seem to affect the pace of the story. Sentiments have been cut down to bare minimum and the most emotional part of the book is at a death of an Elephant.
Iyengar’s novel tells the account from Mahabharat as a sparer version and Godless too. Iyengar’s knowledge of Mahabharat is seen with varying degrees of understanding to the characters and the attention to details given in combat situations.
The book ends abruptly but does leave a mark on you and it feels so matter of fact tone. You do understand it should end and it does.