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January 20, 2024

My Rating - 5 out of 5 stars

Publisher - Srishti 
Genre - Historical Fiction
Publishing year - 2024
Language - English
ISBN - 978-93-95192-82-8
Pages - 174

The Fall of an Empire by Abhijeeth Hiliyana

Book Review - 

Abhijeeth Hiliyana's The Fall of an Empire delivers a powerful and captivating conclusion to the trilogy that began with The Boy Who Would Be King and continued with The Crown of Vijayanagara. In this final installment, the author skillfully navigates the complex historical narrative surrounding the Vijayanagara Empire, focusing on the tumultuous period after the reign of the illustrious Krishnadevaraya.

Set against the backdrop of 1565, the Vijayanagara Empire faces internal strife and external threats. Ramaraya is the son-in-law of Krishnadevaraya, who remains loyal to the empire despite nursing feelings of betrayal. The narrative takes the reader through dark decades filled with political intrigue, warfare, and the challenges faced by Ramaraya in restoring peace and prosperity as the chief minister to the young emperor, Sadashivaraya, after the death of Achyutaraya.

The strength of the author's storytelling lies in his meticulous research, the vivid portrayal of characters, and action sequences. Ramaraya emerges as a multifaceted protagonist, embodying both the virtues and flaws inherent in a leader. His unfulfilling wish to succeed Krishnadevaraya while still serving the emperor with honesty and integrity portrays his complex nature. 

The story's central conflict arises with the united threat of the Deccan Sultanates, signaling imminent danger to Vijayanagara. Ramaraya and his brothers Venkatadri and Tirumala grapple with the responsibility of being the savior the empire desperately needs. The battle of Talikota, a historical turning point, is vividly depicted, unraveling the fate of both Ramaraya and the Vijayanagara Empire.

One of the book's strengths is its ability to balance historical accuracy with engaging storytelling. Abhijeeth Hiliyana's prose is both evocative and accessible, making the historical events and characters alive on the pages. The pacing is well-managed, and the climatic moments are rendered intensely, keeping the reader hooked until the end. 

It can also be read as a standalone novel, as the author skillfully provides enough context for readers unfamiliar with the previous books in the series. The narrative flows seamlessly and serves as a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. This series is a must-read for enthusiasts of historical fiction and those intrigued by the saga of the Vijayanagara kingdom.

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