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The Forest of Stories

(The first book in the Mahabharata series)
A novel by

"If English is the language you are comfortable with, yet you want to read the Mahabharata in a version as close to the Sanskrit epic as possible, then pick up The Forest of Stories. This is the first part of a series on the famous epic and takes us through the stories of kings, gods, valor, power, revenge and love which make up the Mahabharata."--INDIA TODAY

Book 1 of Ashok's long-awaited retelling takes us deep into the haunted jungle called Naimisha-van. Here, at the ashram of Kulapati Shaunaka, a dusty traveler arrives with sad tidings: Maharishi Krishna-Dweipayana Vyasa has passed on. Yet the great collator of the Vedas has left behind a fabulous legacy, the epic narrative poem called Maha Bharata. At the urging of the ashramites, the traveler Suta begins to recite the great composition, starting with the incredible creation myths and tales of gods and giants, snake-mothers and gargantuan eagles. And as the night wears on and the tale grows darker, he senses the presence of countless ghostly beings in the shadows beyond the flickering oil-lamps, the restless souls of the many millions butchered in the climactic war that ended the great tale itself, gathering now to hear the epic saga that led eventually to their destruction and the decimation of the Kuru Bharata race.

Ashok Banker is regarded as a pioneer among Indian authors. Credited as the author of the first Indian English crime novels, the first Indian TV series in English, co-writer of the first Malaysian TV series, the first Indian author of fantasy, horror and science fiction to find worldwide success, the first successful series author and many more firsts. His hugely successful Ramayana Series was published in seven languages in 56 countries to great international acclaim. With over one million copies of his books in print worldwide, he is one of India's most successful and best-loved authors.

This is not an epic fantasy. It's not a scifi rendition. It's not a futuristic version. If you're expecting any of those things, you're going to be disappointed.
This is just one man's Mba. Done on my own time, without a contract, without any sponsorship or financial support from anyone, without assistants or associates. Just a guy, reading a lot and writing a lot.
Even today, while you can find literally hundreds of translations of similar epics of western culture, you would be hard-pressed to find a single complete unabridged translation of the Mahabharata in print anywhere in the world.
In order to write this retelling, I referred to every single available English-language translation and retelling, rechecked the original Sanskrit, then wrote my own rendition. Unlike my Ramayana Series, where I often took great creative liberties, imaginative leaps and ventured into outright fantastical diversions, my Mba sticks very closely to the Vyasa Sanskrit epic. I have kept the structure and order of the parvas and chapters exactly as in the original epic. I have tried to cover all the details in the original as well. I have also tried to stay as faithful to the original as possible.
This is my attempt at reclaiming the world's greatest epic as a great, great, great story.
A story.
Not a religious polemic. Not a historical document. Not an itihasa.
Just a great story. Perhaps the greatest ever told? Quite likely.
I love this epic. I loved writing it.
And for that reason, and that reason alone, it's possible that you'll enjoy reading it too.
Happy Reading!

Ashok K. Banker

Used availability for Ashok Banker's The Forest of Stories

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Paperback Editions

February 2012 : Paperback
thumbTitle: The Forest of Stories
Author(s): Ashok Banker
ISBN: 9381626375 / 978-9381626375
Publisher: Westland Limited
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

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