Book Review #72: The Last Hun

the last hun

Name: The Last Hun – Forbidden Tale of King Mahira: The Most Brutal Man Who Ever Lived
Author: Ashwin Razdan
No. of Pages: 194
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Price: Rs. 199/-
Published in: 2019

How did I get it? From the publisher.

THE BLURB SAYS:

Hun, the universal appellation for terror, was earned with brutality and blood. Legend has it that Mahira, a Hun dynasty King of the early 6th century, was the most cruel man of all time. Sagala, the capital of his vast but dying empire, that extended from the Central Steppes, over the Hindu Kush, into what is modern-day Pakistan and north-western India, to the borders of the Gupta Empire, was a place where unrivalled beauty and extreme bestiality existed in uneasy alliance.

Like his predecessors, Mahira too, had visions that made him both feared as well as invincible. Obsessed with the desire to rule the world, he set off into the grasslands of Central Asia, on a journey to unite every kingdom known to man, under his savage rule. But the Gods scoffed at his hubris and visited him with nightmarish visions and excruciating pain. A prisoner of intense suffering, Mahira grew ever more erratic, ever more brutal. His heinous murder of the King of Lanka, lives on in folklore to this day. On taking the kingdom of Kashmir, he ordered the massacre of the entire Buddhist population. On a whim, he slaughtered a hundred of his own elephants.

But, as this victim of malady escapes execution, hatred, betrayal, conflict and war, all he truly desires is the love of his Queen.

Centuries have passed since King Mahira lived and ruled, but his infamy and deeds live on in legend and folklore. And echoes of his aggression, quest for power, world domination and subjugation of people, resound 1400 years later, with dangerous portent, in a world given increasingly to violence and terror.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
 
Ashwin Razdan is a global citizen who grew up in Bahrain, Oman, Dubai, Kuwait, India and the United States. He holds a Masters in Sociology, and a degree in Computer Science Engineering. He has worked for over a decade as a journalist, digital marketer and an award-winning digital marketer. In addition to several industry recognitions, he has been recognized by BW Business World magazine and Digital Marketer Asia as Digital Planner of the Year 2016. Ashwin is currently Vice President, IPG Mediabrands, and leads Coca-Cola India’s Social Media Comman Center. He has also been a founding member of the Marketing Innovation Center, Dell Inc. and worked at Samsung India.
 
Ashwin has authored three widely-read books including the bestseller, New Media: Techniques and Trends, now listed as a recommended reference book by several universities.
 
MY THOUGHTS: 
 
The Writing:
 
The writing is engaging and poetic. The vivid descriptions of events keeps the reader engaged. I also enjoyed the choice of vocabulary and the way it has been used.
 
“….. he nevertheless felt there was something different to the advent of this new day. He could taste it, like honeyed goat’s milk, sweet and silky on the tongue. He wished to savour it but was left with the charred aftertaste of a mouthful of ash from a burnt-out fire.”
 
“The pain was as deep, dark, hard and somehow as grand, as a vast ravine. He wondered idly what it would look like if he dug out the pain with a long knife and displayed that sliver of pulsing heat before the fire, impaled on the tip of his blade? Would it be black like tar or speckled, like a spoiled milk pudding? Would it quiver and drip menacingly, like hot lead…”
 
What I liked and what I didn’t:
 
I really enjoyed the writing style. The way the author described how the characters felt about anything around them was really poetic and imaginative. Also, the characters are well outlined and have depth. Even characters who enter the plot for a brief time are well formed and they tend to stay with the reader long after they make their exit. 
 
Mahira’s character as a cruel ruler is well cut out. His routine nightmares and visions that define his actions are frightening. The book title justifies the story. Mahira is brutal alright. In fact, he is too brutal for my taste. At several places, I chose to skip the vivid descriptions of his brutalities. The way he chose to torture and kill his subjects on whim is really disturbing.
 
Apart from Mahira, the other main characters are his wife, Sitoi; his commander, Jasbir and the emperor of the Gupta kingdom, Baladitya.

The relationship of Mahira and Sitoi is complex yet endearing. The way Sitoi loves and fears her husband at the same time reflects the depth of her feelings.

But there was one character who was depicted to be dead early in the plot, but was shown to be alive later. This part really confused me.

Final thoughts:
 
The poetic and imaginative descriptive writing of the author has been a pleasure to read. Readers who love historical fiction and creative vivid narration are likely to enjoy this book.
 
I give “The Last Hun” Star_rating_3.5_of_5
 
I thank the publishers for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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