Roving Eyes: Love, lust & battles of Indian Royalty by Mahesh S
My take on the book:
Roving Eyes is a collection of twelve stories of Indian Royal Families especially focusing on the wars they waged and the women they lusted. The stories touched are about Bimbisara and Amrapali, Vasavadutta and Udayana, Chandragupta and Helena, Agnimitra and Malavika, Pratapaditya and Prabha, Vimaladitya and Kundavai, Vikramaditya and Chandralekha, Prithviraj and Sanyogita, Deva Raya and Pertal, Purushottam and Padmavati, Baz Bahadur and Rupmati, Aurangzeb and Hirabai.
The stories are picked from across timelines in Indian history and while some of them are popular, few are hidden gems. As the author explains in the introduction to the book, of how women and power were the only enticing elements for Kings in the past, all the stories primarily revolve around those two themes, with both cleverly weaved into the narration.
The stories are very well researched, covering multiple cultures of those times while also explaining concepts that are long forgotten from that era. At the center of the stories though is how and what attracted these mighty warriors to those women, whom they loved or lusted, and at times went to extreme lengths to claim as their own.
Since there are a total of twelve stories squeezed into less than 250 pages, the stories are crisp. However, that also felt like a disadvantage for me, at times, as the author had to compress a lot of content into a few pages. That way, I wished few of the stories had been elaborated more and the book could have been divided into two parts.
Kings, empires, the magnificent forts and their thirst for war and power always fascinated me, and if you are also a history aficionado then definitely pick this book and it is sure to entertain you.