11 May, 2021

The Cobra Goes To Greece

The indefatigable King of Sting is back with another yarn of match -fixing in chariot races and gory deaths

Narendra Bisht
The Cobra Goes To Greece

It takes either extreme cockiness or unsnubbable ambition to attempt a magnum opus on ancient Greece when all you know to begin with is the smattering of lore and legend that you picked up as a schoolkid from comic books. But Aniruddha Bahal has plenty of both. In fact, you could say Bahal’s new novel, The Emissary: A Tale of Love, Vendetta and War, set in Greece during Alexander’s reign, is the result of a snub that misfired. This was in 2002, when Bahal met the grandmaster of put-downs, Sir Vidia Naipaul. Discovering that Bahal had read no history so far, Naipaul ticked off the young writer, suggesting that writers of fiction had to make history compulsory reading. Bahal returned home to do just that: attracted vaguely to the heroes of ancient Greece, Bahal picked up a bunch of books on ancient Greek history. And being a man who revels in taking risks, he instantly decided to write a historical fiction of that time. Eight years later, Bahal is not only out with a breathless, 456-page saga of match-fixings in chariot races,...

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