AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB PICK • "MYTHIC RETELLING AT ITS BEST." (R. F. Kuang, author of Babel)
“With a graceful, measured elegance” (The New York Times), this lyrical debut reimagines the life of the infamous queen from the ancient epic the Ramayana, giving voice to an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.
I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.
So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on legends of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.
Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.
But as the evil from her childhood tales threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.
PRAISE FOR KAIKEYI
"A powerful, feminist retelling of the epic...Patel resets the balance of power, creating an unforgettable heroine who understands that it isn’t necessarily kings or gods who change history." –The Washington Post
"Easily earns its place on shelves alongside Madeline Miller’s Circe." –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Utterly captivating from start to finish." ―Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch’s Heart
"Brave, compassionate and powerful." ―Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne
"A lyrical and evocative retelling, full of power and grace." ―Ava Reid, author of The Wolf and the Woodsman
"Compulsively readable and infinitely compassionate." ―Roshani Chokshi, author of The Gilded Wolves
"A thought-provoking, nuanced new look at one of humanity’s most foundational stories." —Shannon Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass