This novel chronicles the attempts of Vikraman, the son of the Chola king Parthiban, to attain independence from the Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman I.
In the seventh century the Cholas are vassals of the Pallavas. Parthiban conveys his dream of the Chola dynasty regaining its glory – which he believes is lost since they are no longer the independent rulers – to his young son Vikraman. Parthiban refuses to pay tribute to the Pallavas, triggering a battle in which Parthiban is killed. Before he dies, on the battlefield, an enigmatic monk promises Parthiban that he will make sure that Vikraman fulfills Parthiban's dream. On becoming an adult, Vikraman plans his revenge but is betrayed by his treacherous uncle, Marappa Bhupathi. The prince is arrested and exiled to a far-off island by Narasimhavarman.
Three years later Vikraman returns, longing to meet his mother and a mysterious beauty whom he saw before being deported. He discovers that his mother has disappeared, kidnapped by members of the savage Kapalika cult given to performing human sacrifices. He also learns that the beauty he has fallen for, Kundhavi, is none other than the daughter of his sworn enemy, Narasimhavarman.
Several twists and turns later, the monk is revealed as the Pallava emperor Narasimhavarman, who keeps his word to the dying Parthiban by helping establish an independent kingdom under Vikraman in Uraiyur, followed by the Chola prince's marriage to Kundhavi.
Kalki was the pen name of R. Krishnamurthy (September 9, 1899 to December 5, 1954), a noted Tamil writer, film & music critic, Indian independence activist and journalist from Tamil Nadu, India. Krishnamurthy's first attempt at writing fiction also came during that period. In 1923 he became a sub-editor on Navasakthi, a Tamil periodical edited by Tamil scholar and freedom fighter V. Kalyanasundaram, known as Thiru Vi. Ka. Krishnamurthy's first book was published in 1927.In 1941 he left Ananda Vikatan and rejoined the freedom struggle and courted arrest. On his release after three months he and Sadasivam started the weekly, Kalki. He was its editor until his death on December 5, 1954. In 1956, he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award posthumously for his novel Alai Osai.
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