Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms

Fiction - Anthology
162 Pages
Reviewed on 03/06/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms is a work of fiction in the historical, fairytale, and adventure subgenres. It is suitable for the general reading audience and was penned by author Rupendra Dhillon. As the title suggests, the work features a collected anthology of different stories focusing on the age of monarchy, when grand kingdoms covered large areas of Western Europe as well as Tibet and India. As monarchs and aristocrats rule over the land, the everyday people are faced with deadly plagues, bloody wars, and other unimaginable darkness that threaten to end their days early. What results is a highly engrossing series of stories that bring history and its many dynamics to life.

Author Rupendra Dhillon captures an adventurous spirit that we often only associate with classic literature like the tales of Ali Baba, King Arthur, and the works of Chaucer. This spirit is brought into the modern age by some sharp, amusing, and engrossing narrative techniques, but it is beautifully balanced with a well-chosen lexicon of historical phrasing and atmospheric descriptions to remind us of the moment we’re supposed to be in. I especially enjoyed ‘Queen Mother,’ set in the city of Udabhandh, which was both captivating and culturally educational to learn more about world history and the hierarchy of Indian monarchic systems. Although these are technically only four shorter stories, the level of depth and construction within each one made it feel like a novella filled with a rich plot and deeply well-developed characters. Overall, fans of immersive historical writing and fascinating social dynamics will surely adore Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms as much as I did.

Nino Lobiladze

Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms by Rupendra Dhillon is a thrilling collection of four stories with an unusual historical perspective. Escape tells us about Rajah Virbhan ruling the prosperous kingdom of Tomara. He is younger than forty, has a promising heir, and thinks about greater accomplishments before giving way to the next generation of rulers. Rajah sees a weakened Karakota kingdom as his next conquest. The circumstances are almost perfect, but something went wrong for the ambitious ruler of Tomara. Queen Mother is a tale of Prince Trilokyachandra getting married to a woman for her brilliance. Is the strong-willed Queen Vijyavati a blessing or a curse for the kingdom and her family? A King's Son speaks about the choices of Ngapo Prithvipal, whose only son and heir Gautamdeva prefers books over martial arts. King's Prize, a continuation of the previous story, is about Prithvipal's grandson, Dharmaputra, and how fate, or the gods themselves, block the way of his imperial ambitions, playing tricks with his mind.

Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms is a real treat for fans of historical prose with an element of suspense and family drama. Rupendra Dhillon masterfully creates intricate and unpredictable plotlines. The main theme of this collection is the lust for power, and this gifted author explores it from many different angles. Queen Mother is character-driven and impresses with many twists and turns, culminating in the unexpected ending. In Queen Mother, the author skillfully develops the topic of responsibility versus love and inner freedom, taking it to the philosophical level. King's Prize had a touch of the supernatural, which demonstrates the consequences of vanity. The explanations regarding the hierarchy and titles peculiar to India and Tibet provide an interesting comparison to the European tradition. The broad vision of the author regarding the rise and fall of empires and his passionate writing style allow us to understand the characters and their motivations perfectly.

Pikasho Deka

Welcome to the Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms by Rupendra Dhillon, a collection of four short stories from a bygone era of Indo-Tibetan legends and myths about kings and queens trying to rule their kingdoms against all odds. In the first story, Escape, we follow Rajah Virbhan, who, in his attempts to expand his territory, fails to see the danger posed by his kin amidst the spread of a deadly plague in his kingdom. Queen Mother is the story of the brilliant queen of King Trilokachandra, Rajkumari Vijyabati, who forges new relations of trade, commerce, and friendship with the Chinese Emperor on her nation's behalf. In A King's Son, Ngapo Prithvipal's efforts to make his son a great warrior end spectacularly in disaster. King's Prize follows Dharmaputra and his hunger for conquest that puts him on a path of bloodshed, costing him everything.

Imagine Game of Thrones without the fantastical elements, and you will end up with something like the Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms. If you're a fan of historical fiction, courtly intrigue, and ancient warfare, Rupendra Dhillon's short story collection will be just up your alley. Narrated in the style of historical anecdotes, the tales in this book are soaked in Indo-Tibetan history and mythology and take you back in time to an era of flawed kings, ingenious queens, and ambitious princes. You can't help immersing yourself in the pages. Each story has a moral lesson embedded in its core. I very much enjoyed reading it and gladly recommend it.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Throughout history, we have seen kingdoms rise, expanding their reign and rule, creating a dynasty and infamous legacy. Yet, history also reveals how kings and empires come and go. What happens to bring these notorious kingdoms to their doom? Rupendra Dhillon pens a collection of short stories providing insight into this problem in Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms. Life expectancy is short, plagues wipe out populations seemingly overnight, and assassins lurk within palace walls. Trade routes must be secured. Armies need to be skilled in warfare. Heirs to the throne should be educated in both knowledge and combat. Queen mothers and wives become excellent spymasters; they are more than pretty faces to adorn the palace walls. Yet, sons are misled by love. Those loyal to the king often betray. Armies are defeated. Blinded by ambition, even the best of kings become overshadowed by their greed and lust for power. “Darkness comes softly,” and with their dying breath, their renowned kingdom descends into obscurity.

Magnificent Tales of Doomed Kingdoms by Rupendra Dhillon is a fictitious anthology of ancient Indian kings and their kingdoms. Not knowing much about India’s history, I found the short stories interesting. Dhillon concisely pens the rise and fall of the kingdoms with historical insight. The characters are well-written, portraying life in the royal family. Family is family, each member has a purpose, yet not all members live up to expectations. I appreciated Dhillon's ability to reveal the humanity, the good, and the bad in these characters. There is more to nobility than being born into it. As each plot unfolds, Dhillon allows us to hear not only dialogue but the thoughts of the characters. This writing technique fills in gaps and provides a depth of understanding. Each of the short stories is unique. Although the plot is similar, the setting, characters, and conflict are different. Ultimately, it peeks inside the palace and into the heart of a king to reveal all.

Essien Asian

There was a time when the instruments of government were rudimentary compared to what we have today. Kings ruled the land and their courts were populated by people with titles and responsibilities. What we are told about this enterprising era encompassed chivalry, honor, and duty. So much so that we grew up romanticizing the actions of the men and women who comprised the king's court. In actuality, the true state of affairs was quite different from the stories we are led to believe. If you had the opportunity to relive those golden times would you take it? Rupendra Dhillon gives us that opportunity with his compilation of tales from a bygone era. A prince with misplaced priorities, and the price a king must pay for the expansion of his kingdom are just a couple of the stories he brings to life in his masterpiece titled Magnificent Tales Of Doomed Kingdoms.

Rupendra Dhillon brings the vast wealth of his knowledge of the history of the peoples of Central Asia to bear in the storylines of this unique compilation. The stories are quite immersive once you get the hang of some of the tongue-twisting names, which I would put down to a combination of Dhillon's explaining the concepts of hierarchy within the royal structure at the start of the book and each of the stories having their full list of characters and their relationships explained at the start of each story. His characters are well-fleshed out with interesting backstories complete with motivations and hidden agendas. Vijyavati's sacrificing her comfort to protect her family struck an instant chord with me and Dharmaputra's rivalry with Shivaputra in the face of near insurmountable challenges carries echoes of Caesar and Brutus. With its impressive attention to detail and intriguing subplots, Magnificent Tales Of Doomed Kingdoms is a worthwhile reading experience.