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In the 17th century, Marthanda Varma, the king of Travancore, refused to trade with the then most powerful multinational in the world, the Dutch East India Company. It led to a war which Marthanda Varma won. But this was only a minor victory. Marthanda Varma, in fact, had bigger ambitions – to chase out the Dutch once and for all with the help of one Dutch military commander, De Lannoy. How did this king make it happen?
Kalki Krishnamurthy’s magnum opus, Ponniyin Selvan, is a masterpiece in historical fiction. Based on the real events surrounding Raja Raja Chola's accession to the throne, the novel serves up an enticing concoction of espionage, deceit, desire and valour, topped with an ancient murder mystery. What is the real story? And can truth really be stranger than fiction?