300 Brave men is the first part of a trilogy, which depicts the formative years of Shivaji and his journey to break free from the clutches of Adilshahi.

The book starts slowly and grows upon you. The palaces, the forts, the large cannons, the pomp and splendor come alive in front of you and slowly you are transferred to that era.  The pace is just right as it captures the essence of the relationship between Shivaji, his father Shahaji, his mother Jijabai and DadojiKonddeo. The undercurrent of tension between Shahaji and Jijabai when it comes to the future of Shivaji and their dream of Swarajya is beautifully captured. Shahaji’s conflicts between protecting his son and encouraging them are very clearly brought to the fore.

Midway the book captures speed and then it is un-put-downable. Even for someone who already knows what is going to happen, every page makes you want to read more in anticipation. The politics and war strategies of that era are very beautifully encapsulated and give you an insight into the mind of the great Maratha warrior.

While the Afzal Khan episode brings out the master strategist in Shivaji, the vivid description of Siddi Johar’s siege of Panahlgad brings out Shivaji’s vulnerability and how some of his risks paid off in the face of adversity.

Gautam manages to transport you into the battlefield and makes you personally experience the tense moments in Shivaji’s life.

MeghdootKarnik, Author, Blogger and Corporate Executive.