You are probably familiar with the story of Ashoka, the Mauryan emperor, who laid down his weapons and took to Buddhism after a gruesome battle at Kalinga. The real story is far more complex than this simple chain of events. Did you know that he executed all his stepbrothers to seize the throne, and that his early reign was marked by high-handed cruelty? What kind of a man was Ashoka? And why did he commission edicts across India?