Home / Books / Blood & Iron : Kurukshetra Chronicles Book 1 By Deepak M R | Book Review

Blood & Iron : Kurukshetra Chronicles Book 1 By Deepak M R | Book Review

Mahabharat/Mahabharata and Ramayan/Ramayana are not merely the great poetries. They are the part of Bharatiya (that is Indian) ethos. It is weaved in the DNA of the people who beleived in – Dharma – the righteous way.

They have influenced and shaped generations across the subcontinent and even people from beyond the geographical boundaries.

One of the famous Gujarati authors – Harilal Upadhyay – said me something like: “Writing the interpretation of Mahabharat is a dream of every author”. It is kind of the satisfactory and self-actualization feat to achieve!

And, I agree.

I had seen many authors, from various languages, interpreting, re-interpreting, telling, re-telling, imagining and re-imagining this greatest epic from their own perspectives, in the language they write.

It would not be wrong to say that this unique tradition of re-telling these stories has kept them alive regardless of changing technologies and environment.

Of course, it got many stuff added to the original epics and it is really tough to find the original version amongst them. We have to be satisfied with the “most reliable” interpretations of each of them.

Some institutions like Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Gita Press, and others have tried making these epics available in the purest possible form. Some authors have tried their best to contribute to these efforts. They all should be appreciated.

I must acknowledge that the re-telling, re-imagining, re-interpreting traditions have added some unwanted or unnecessary stuff to these epics. And, the things are so firmly infused in the people’s mind that they believe them correct (or part of the original epics). And, it includes educated personalities and scholars from almost every field.

It would be tough to wipe those “myths” from the people’s mind who are rigid and stubborn.

Anyway, all our team members, including me, firmly believes that it doesn’t matter that some modern tales or book series may break the “length of the story” record; but the complexity, values, and “Dharma” lessons conveyed by these epics will remain – unparalleled.

Here are some interesting books written around Mahabharata we got a chance to read.

And, we are always keen to explore any significant stuff that revolve around it.

Book Title : Blood & Iron
Kurukshetra Chronicles - 1
Author :
# of Pages : 223; 2014 KB (Kindle EBook)
# of Chapters : 35
Purchase Link(s) :

Today, we are going to talk about a book named “Blood and Iron” by Deepak M R.

This book explores first five days of Kurukshetra war, known as Mahabharat war. A very few people know that it is actually part of “JayaSamhita” or “Jaya”.

We are not going to talk about the epic of Mahbharat but will remain focused on this book only.

The battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas (actually – Dhartrashtras) was 18 days long and it is the brutalest war known to mankind. It resulted into deaths of so many people that eventually it allowed the entire social canvas to re-structure on an almost clean slate.

A very few people know that this battle (and its aftermath like Rajneeti lessons by Bheeshma – to Yudhishthir/Yudhisthira) spared over many parv(segments).

Sage Vyas-ji has wrote about this battle in very detail, but, majority of people know a very little about it.

So, in that way I appreciate this effort of Deepk M R – the author, to present these details in simple English via this book series named “Kurukshetra Chronicles”. “Blood and Iron” is the first installment of the same.

Book Cover:

Let us start with the cover page of this book.

Of course, we do believe in the philosophy of not judging a book by its cover.

But, we also acknowledge the influence of the cover page in a remarkable number of purchase and/or read decisions.

And, that is obvious.

Being a gateway to the virtual world within, the cover page serves as the gateway to the same. And, thus, makes the first impression of the book (or for that matter, the respective media it is associated with). And, we, by nature, are attracted towards beautiful stuff. So an attractive page catches our attention even when surrounded by many other books.

Of course, then we may or may not pick it, or read the blurb, may casually go through the content at a glance, and decide to go for it (or not). But, no one can deny that the cover page is responsible for starting this journey.

So, let us take a look at the cover page of “Blood and Iron“.

Blood & Iron : Kurukshetra Chronicles Book 1 By Deepak M R | Book Cover

Blood & Iron : Kurukshetra Chronicles Book 1 By Deepak M R | Book Cover

As you can see, the cover page is eye catcher.

The illustrations are made by Anupam Tathawadekar using cheerful colors.

I found it giving an impression of a book written primarily for children and young adults. Especially the pinkish background gives that impact. Otherwise, you see a warrior jumping to hit a deadly blow with his mace (naturally, Bhim/Bhima) and elephant ridden warrior along with the dead body on the earth represents the battlefield quite well.

I must say that this book is (despite the mentions of brutalities and all) readable by teens and young adults also, as it never crosses a line.

The cover page is good, but, according to me, it could have been even better.

Views and Reviews:

Usually, we talk about a book in two different segments. Dedicated each one to the story and our views about the book.

As this book is quite different, we are merging both these segments together.

The war of Mahabharat/Mahabharata is no secret and most of the readers already know at least a few basic details about it. So, we will not be repeating them.

Let us talk about the stuff, the author got right.

First and foremost, the book tries to remain faithful to the original (read: most reliable as per scholars who studied hundreds of versions of the epic) book by Sage Ved Vyas.

Of course, there are few gaps which the author needs to fill in with his imagination, but doing that without harming the original tale, is what I liked the most.

In fact the author himself mentioned:

The events of each day are narrated from multiple points of view. This is to help you get a complete 360- degree picture of the war.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The book is based on the original Mahabharata of Vyasa. Sources used are the Critical Edition published by the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) (English translation by Dr. Bibek Debroy) and the very first English translation done by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (KMG).
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Some creative liberties have been taken while presenting perspectives of different characters but care has been taken to ensure no distortion in the core story of the epic.

This lines are enough for you to get the author’s idea behind writing the book and what you can expect from it, in terms of content.

Most of the people believe that the entire battle of Kurukshetra was narrated to Dhritarashtra by Sanjay in the palace. That is true, of course, The thing people don’t know is, Sanjay has visited some incidents first-hand. From within the battle field. He many times visited the battlefield and did his duties! Also, even with the special vision, he could have just witnessed only one thread of the war. But, he was blessed with the power, to visit many parallels happening at different parts of the battlefield. It involved time traveling and other stuff?! Well, it is quite possible!

Here is a line from book referring to Sanjay’s visit to the battlefield.

While the gift of Vyasa enabled me to see everything that happened on the battlefield, I had witnessed the killing of Uttara in person.

Rage and anger make people lose their mind. Those who can control their mind and think clearly in any situation can analyse the things from the neutral perspective. The war of Mahabharat was no exception. The author has mentioned several of such instances. For example:

As a Kshatriya, I needed to fight, and I had an oath to fulfil.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Do not grieve for those dead and do not exult at your victory. Accept everything with equanimity, which is the sign of a true Yogi.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
How powerful my weapons were that I could do this! But I felt neither joy nor did I mourn. I had done what I was supposed to do.

Well, the weapons used in the war were not superficial. They are result of various scientific experiments and the stuff we’re not able understand so far, from the modern perspective. The author adds explanations (direct/indirect) when referring those stuff. For example:

The blade of the sword was made from a special metal that Arjuna had brought with him from the world of the Gandharvas.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Just before Bheeshma charged, I reached out in my chariot and took out the jar containing a mixture of fruit juices. Satyaki was a physician and had a deep knowledge of medicinal plants. He had handpicked fruits and ensured their juices were carefully blended together. Drinking the juice would provide an energy boost. Whenever I felt tired in the battle or felt weak, I would quickly drink the juice that filled my stomach and reinvigorated me.

It is said that you can hide things from others, but not from yourself. You know where you did the right and where you were wrong.

My silence made me a willing participant in Duryodhana’s evil acts.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
We are not going to win the war. The war will end with our deaths. I don’t know how many of the Pandavas will survive. But I am sure Arjuna will survive because Krishna is with him.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
I know I will die on the battlefield. I don’t fear death. My death warrant was signed when Draupadi was disrobed and humiliated. This was something I never expected.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
I did not care for the wounds, warriors do not fear wounds. The number of wounds on the bodies of warriors is a testament to their resilience.

Even, the Gandhara king Shakuni knew the truth.

My dear nephew has a misconceived belief that he will win this war by killing the Pandavas. But I know the truth and even Karna knows it.

And, there are times when Duryodhana also started seeing the glimpses of the same.

“So, are we doomed to lose the war?”“I will not answer this question, child,” said Bheeshma, giving me a sad smile. “I am a Kshatriya, and my duty is to fight. My oath is to protect this kingdom. Whether right or wrong, you are leading this kingdom, and I will fight for you. Until the very end, I will fight and give my best.

And, he lets his frustration out.

Because of you, Karna does not fight this battle. If he were here, this would not have happened.

And, the eldest family member of the Kuru clan, calms him with worthy life-lessons.

Remember, when everything is dark, it means the sun is about to rise soon.

By the way, he was a excellent warrior. The book mentions that fact as well.

Gandhara King was not only dangerous during a dice game, but also on the battlefield. He was a fierce warrior and very aggressive. I found it difficult to counter his arrows.

Also the accusation of Drona favoring Arjun/Arjuna over the others is a popular perception. The author, through a line given to Drona, tries to explain his reasons.

He could never understand that as a teacher, I was with Arjuna and his brothers because they were the best. Neither he nor his brothers showed the dedication that Arjuna and his brothers showed. Karna was dedicated, but unfortunately his dedication was not towards learning, but to somehow get the better of Arjuna.

The book will help you understand why Arjuna is considered as one of the best warriors in the world across the time. And, at the same time it celebrates the great things done by so many other warriors. While Bhima has killed all the Dhartarashtras single handedly (over the course of 18 days), Shikhandi, Bhurishrava, Abhimanyu, Satyaki, Uttamaujas and many others have done their job quite well. The author Alambush as well who was like a counter-fighter to Ghatotkacha. And, Dhristadhyumna was not made commander-in-chief without a reason.

And, despite being those fantastic warriors and giant personas, they all were humans, they have the same feeling that we all have.

Arjuna’s chest swelled up in pride. “I won’t mind at all if my son excels me in archery. I would be very proud. My son has all the skills needed to be a future Emperor of the land of Bharata.”

The war scenes are infused with some interesting wordplays.

The Palmyra flag atop my chariot fell on the ground fluttering down like a bird shot down by a hunter.

The author brilliantly talked about various battles from different warrior’s perspective. It allowed him to dive into their minds and analyse their emotions or thought process in that point in time. Of course, it is the imagination of the author. But, it is a well-thought decision that works in favor of the book.

From the morning, I have been busy fighting off the Kaurava soldiers, who came like flies surrounding a sweet dish.

And, the true warriors never underestimate the strength of the opponent.

He is also well-versed in warfare techniques. He knows when to attack, when to defend, and when to withdraw.

While it was necessary to wipe up the evil and clean up the society to re-establish the same, the war was inevitable. What a large number of people don’t understand is, Ved Vyas never glorified the war! The essence of “Jaya Samhita” is to convey empathy and forgiveness. The war has to be the last option. And, that’s why Lord Krishna has attempted all the possible negotiations to avoid the war.

I like the fact that the author sticked to the same motto here.

The book has several lines talking about the tragic and sad effects of a war. Here are some of them:

War is such a tragedy! Thousands of young men will die, with their lives cut short cruelly. Fathers, mothers, wives, and children will weep piteously over the bodies of their loved ones, once this war is over.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
War is cruel and unforgiving. One moment is all that is required for a warrior to lose his life.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
“War is not a dice game to win in a few hours. It takes many days.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
He lay on the ground with his open eyes, unable to see anything.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The plight of those who were not dead was painful. They moaned in unbearable pain pleading to be killed and be relieved of the pain. The battlefield is a terrible place where there is no mercy and the stench of death overwhelms.”
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
The stench of death attracted the carrion eaters instantly. Crows circled the air, raising a cacophony, calling their comrades to join in the feast. Vultures arrived and pecked at the dead bodies pulling out flesh.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Jackals, hyenas, and herons arrived and waited for their turn.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Death, defeat, and victory are all part of war…

It is obvious to see the influence of your native language in the writing. And, thus you see some names are mentioned as:




Actully, in various literary pices I’d seen him mentioned as Uttamauja / Uttamaujas / Uttamouja / Uttamoujas; so just be aware that you may have your predefined spellings/versions of name of some of the characters (like I love to write “Mahabharat” in stead of “Mahabharata”).
However the some names have proofreading errors. For example:


The author uses some interesting words like:


And, also falters by mentioning:

cousin sister

The book has its share of proofreading errors. For example:

At the end of the war, Yudhishtira tells Dhritarashtra that one billion twenty thousand and sixty- six crore men were killed and twenty- four thousand one hundred and sixty- five were missing.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
If he mounts a strong attack on Arjuna, we can easily defeat the Pandavas easily.

A casual reader may not notice them. But, they must be taken care of to make the book even better.

The author mentions the name of conches of the remarkable warriors and you can find them mentioned in the first part of Srimad Bhagvad Gita as well. It also lists some of the prominent warriors who took part in the battle from both sides. In fact, let me quote a few shlokas (verses) from Srimad Bhagvad Gita which a significance in this book:

धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय।।1.1।।

अत्र शूरा महेष्वासा भीमार्जुनसमा युधि।
युयुधानो विराटश्च द्रुपदश्च महारथः।।1.4।।

धृष्टकेतुश्चेकितानः काशिराजश्च वीर्यवान्।
पुरुजित्कुन्तिभोजश्च शैब्यश्च नरपुङ्गवः।।1.5।।

युधामन्युश्च विक्रान्त उत्तमौजाश्च वीर्यवान्।
सौभद्रो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्व एव महारथाः।।1.6।।

भवान्भीष्मश्च कर्णश्च कृपश्च समितिञ्जयः।
अश्वत्थामा विकर्णश्च सौमदत्तिस्तथैव च।।1.8।।

अपर्याप्तं तदस्माकं बलं भीष्माभिरक्षितम्।
पर्याप्तं त्विदमेतेषां बलं भीमाभिरक्षितम्।।1.10।।

ततः शङ्खाश्च भेर्यश्च पणवानकगोमुखाः।
सहसैवाभ्यहन्यन्त स शब्दस्तुमुलोऽभवत्।।1.13।।

पाञ्चजन्यं हृषीकेशो देवदत्तं धनंजयः।
पौण्ड्रं दध्मौ महाशङ्खं भीमकर्मा वृकोदरः।।1.15।।

अनन्तविजयं राजा कुन्तीपुत्रो युधिष्ठिरः।
नकुलः सहदेवश्च सुघोषमणिपुष्पकौ।।1.16।।

काश्यश्च परमेष्वासः शिखण्डी च महारथः।
धृष्टद्युम्नो विराटश्च सात्यकिश्चापराजितः।।1.17।।

स घोषो धार्तराष्ट्राणां हृदयानि व्यदारयत्।
नभश्च पृथिवीं चैव तुमुलो व्यनुनादयन्।।1.19।।

I am intentionally skipping discussions about a lot of stuff from the book to avoid spoilers as far as possible.

But, I am sure the quotes mentioned above have given you a fair idea about the book and the quality of its content.


I enjoyed reading this book that elaborates first five days of the deadliest battle of Mahabharat/Mahabharata. The way, the author tried remaining faithful to the original (most agreed upon by scholars) version of this great epic and yet found imaginative ways to make it interesting. A recommended read.

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 8 out of 10.

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Over To You:

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