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In thirteenth century Sri Lanka Asanka poet to the king lives a life of luxury enjoying courtly life and a sweet furtive love affair with a palace servant a village girl he is teaching to write But when Magha a prince from the mainland usurps the throne Asanka's role as court poet dramatically alters Magha is a cruel and calculating king and yet a lover of poetry and he commissions Asanka to translate a holy. River of Ink is a breathtakingly dazzling novel by Paul M M Cooper Located in Sri Lanka in the 13th century Cooper injects the country people climate culture flora and fauna with vibrantly alive lyrical prose and poetry exuisite imagery and sumptuous allegories The poet Asanka is a guilt ridden timid personality who is instructed by the cruel and despotic new ruler Magha to translate the ancient sanskrit epic the Shushupala Vadua Magha believes it will civilise his new subjects and legitimise his rule It is his love for Sarasi a court servant girl which inspires the subversive and reimagined translation which eventually move the people to overthrow the tyrantThe story is split into three parts smoke ink and rain Smoke depicts a nation torn asunder by the chaos and horror of the invasion Magha has the king executed and wants the ueen as his wife but her attempt to kill him means that she is publicly executed A drought descends on the country and there are countless distressing events visited on the people including children by Magha and his invading armyThese appalling incidents continue in part two In the second section Ink the river of blood which is created by the invasion begins to be countered by the birth of the river of ink with the poem Or to be precise Asanka s translation is copied in instalments and spread throughout the nation Magha misses entirely the references and description of himself as the evil Sushupal The third section Rain depicts the end of the drought the reading of the final part of the translation in public where Magha grasps the truth of his part in Asanka s translation The cracks in his rule appear and a revolution is well and truly under wayI love the way that writing is revered with detailed descriptions of the process of making paper and the multitude of ways in which ink is prepared Those who participate in the process are true professionals who can source the origins of pieces of work from the paper and the ink Homage is paid to the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword Asanka never really understands the role he plays in driving a revolution Indeed he rails at his inaction when he asks what is it that a poet can do The strength of books and writings are encapsulated by the enormous pyres of burning books and libraries that take place in Magha s attempt to obliterate all indigenous power knowledge and cultureThere is poignant irony where Magha recounts his father s advice that an enemy can never defeat you unless you give him the means to do so Magha is unaware that he has placed the means in Asanka s hands in asking for the translation Asanka and Sarasi s lives mirror Krishna and Rukmini the characters in his translated poem Where Krishna kills Sushipal Asanka uses the pen to annihilate Magha Magha wants Sarasi as his ueen and it is at this point that Asanka found the physical courage to oppose him The River of Ink is the history of Asanka and his loverSarasi The ink is rendered in Asanka s neverending search for Sarasi at the end whilst never losing hope that he will be with her the light the love and the meaning of his life And of course in overthrowing an unjust ruler This book was a delight to read and savour I would like to thank Bloomsbury for giving me a copy via the goodreads giveaways It was well and truly appreciated I would like to end by telling others to read it they will not regret it

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River of Ink

Asanka must juggle the capricious demands of a king with the growing demands of his own political consciousness and his heart if he wishes to survive and imagine a future with the woman he lovesThe first novel from a remarkable young writer River of Ink is a powerful historical tale set in the shadow of oppression one with deep allegorical resonances in any time celebrating the triumph of literature and love. Actually 35 starsUsually Sri Lanka is not one of the countries I often visit in books That is why this one is certainly among the most special books I read this yearWhat I found especially exciting was to learn a little about Sri Lanka s history and medieval customs which I had known next to nothing about and about the Shishupala Vadha the piece of literature Asanka has to translate It is uite astonishing that Sanskrit allows to write whole lines which are palindromes and other linguistical virtuosities The poems included in the book Asanka s talk of poetry and the mysterious tales he receives make up the part I admired the most I do not want to reveal much since everyone has to discover such a great work by themselves but the author clearly succeeded in showing how literature can reflect reality and influence it at the same timeStill I have to admit I did not like Asanka very much His way of thinking and weak behaving sometimes did not appeal to me at all though he had his moments of strength In contrast to this Sarasi was one of my favorite characters especially since certain additional information was revealed at the end of the story I would have preferred if the conueror s character would have been presented from much different points of view I cannot be sure how accurate his description is compared to the ones in historical documents so this is why I had hoped for an afterword Maybe it is to come since I just read an advance copy of the book which is still to be corrected In any case from my point of view an afterword rounds up a piece of historical fiction and you can access the extent of the author s work Did Asanka or someone similar to him exist Did Kalinga Magha order a translation of the Shishupala Vadha Had the king his first wife executed There is a great deal of uestions which remain uestions after you are done readingI also felt there is certain lack of action but there can be other readers who favor this kind of stories Though when something IS going on the author creates a fitting atmosphere making this scenes enjoyable to readTo sum up I would recommend River of Ink although I did not like it as much as I had hoped Nevertheless it was a journey I will not forget

Paul M.M. Cooper Ð 6 FREE DOWNLOAD

Sanskrit epic into the Tamil language spoken by his recently acuired subjects The poem will be an olive branch a symbol of unity between the two culturesBut in different languages in different contexts meaning can become slippery First inadvertently then deliberately and dangerously Asanka's version of the epic centered on the killing of an unjust ruler inspires and arouses the oppressed people of the land. River of Ink is without a doubt one of the cleverest books I have ever read Not in a showy or flashy way but through its simplicity which speaks volumesI was drawn into Asanka s story straight away Although not a period of time or a location that I am overly familiar with Paul M M Cooper did a fantastic job at setting out the scene without info dumping and I felt very much at home there feeling the heat on my skin and the fear in the air It was though our introduction to Asanka the court Poet that made me aware of just how special this book was going to be Asanka is in no way a hero which sets him apart from other leading characters in literature He is a normal man fearful in love riddled with issues and above all else at times cowardly something to which he readily admits Already I felt a connection to him as the protagonist for our story He was real River of Ink is written almost in the form of a love letter from Asanka to his lover a serving girl Sarasai a love for which he bases most of his decisions and choices throughout the novel This is another reason that the novel felt so clever to me It foreshadowed so much of the later story in such a simplistic way that it kept me on tenterhooks throughout Asanka s lengths to protect Sarasai from the new King and his desperation to prove his worthiness to her by meddling with the translations of the King s stories is what leads us to seeing his amazing development whilst still remaining the same old Asanka at heartThis is a beautifully written debut from Paul M M Cooper and is worth every one of the five stars I rate it as It is a story of love freedom and strength that is set in a historical time that was well researched and brilliantly portrayed5 StarsReview copy was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest Waterstones Bookseller Review


10 thoughts on “River of Ink

  1. says:

    River of Ink is a breathtakingly dazzling novel by Paul M M Cooper Located in Sri Lanka in the 13th century Cooper injects the country people c

  2. says:

    January is too early to start proclaiming anything the 'best book of the year' right?Well obviously I can't say for sure but this very well might be'River of Ink' is historical fiction with the feel of epic fantasy It's an ABSOLUTE MUST for any fan of Guy Gavriel Kay It's a shame that this isn't going to show u

  3. says:

    In the blackness I was struggling through the briars of Lanka's dark forests I swam in the depths of the lotus pool and then it was a pool of ink then a river drenching my robes filling my lungs my eyes with its haunting smell If the life you knew the life that you enjoyed and were comfortable in was stolen from you what would you do? Would you be one of the nameless who died? Would you fight? Would you be afraid? So afraid tha

  4. says:

    The central metaphor of the title could just as well be in the plural for flowing images appear throughout – of rivers rivulets of water blood and sweat as well as the ink with which the stories are written and which it

  5. says:

    35I would have probably enjoyed this if I'd had the time and the will to read ituni lessons and other stuff aka the AnY fandom going crazy over important stuff kind of swallowed me I haven't really wanted to read a

  6. says:

    ‘River of Ink’ is without a doubt one of the cleverest books I have ever read Not in a showy or flashy way but throug

  7. says:

    We first reviewed this book on our blog where we also talk to the author about Sri Lanka writing and research lovely physical book is just such a great opener to a good story Paul’s book has a striking cover an e

  8. says:

    Actually 35 starsUsually Sri Lanka is not one of the countries I often visit in books That is why this one is certainly among the most special books I read this yearWhat I found especially exciting was to learn a little about Sri Lanka’s history and medieval customs which I had known next to nothing about and about the

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    Writers and artists employ powerful tools that can shape how a society views itself its past and how it envisions its future They are