Nemesis of Kalinga – The Asoka Trilogy Book 3 – Who will be remembered as the greatest Samrat of the land of the Aryas?

The commotion caused those in the pavilion to turn to see what the noise was about.
Between the pillars that held up the domed ceiling,Kanakdatta caught sight of his friend.
“Asoka!” he called, to get his attention.
The Samrat’s dreamy eyes did not register the call. It did not take long for Kanakdatta to
climb up and get a clearer view of his supine friend. Asoka’s eyes were red rimmed and
hazy. There was the distinct smell of wine in the air, as well as another peculiar odour. Two
women sat beside the Samrat,massaging his shoulders, giggling, and touching him in places
they should not.
“Asoka!” Kanakdatta called loudly above the noise.
This time the Samrat opened his eyes.It took a while for recognition to arise in his eyes.
“Kanaka?” he finally said in surprise.
As the two women moved away, Kanakdatta noticed a smoking pot lying to the side and
realized the strange smell in the air was opium. “What is all this, Asoka?” he asked, looking
around in surprise.
“You….you caught me unawares.” Asoka’s voice rasped. “I did not know you were
coming tonight.”
“Opium? Wine? Where is Asandhi, your wife?’
For a moment, traces of guilt crossed Asoka’s face before turning into lines of anger. He
stumbled to his feet. “Who are you to ask me anything?” he demanded loudly. “And why
are you here?”
“I bring news,” Kanakdatta said, hiding his mortification. “But are you in a state to hear
“And who says I am not?” Asoka stepped forward, and suddenly sank to the ground. One
of the two women ran to him, and supported him in her arms.
“You make your own case.” Kanakdatta folded his arms. “What in the world is all this?
Who taught you?”
Asoka pulled himself to a sitting position with an arm around the woman’s shoulders. “Do
not look at me like that, Kanaka. These are my women. This is my palace. I am the Samrat.”
“Who showed you all this?” Kanakdatta looked around again. “Was it the women of your
harem?“Does your wife know?”
“Silence!” Asoka shouted angrily. Pushed away the women supporting him, he slowly
rose and stood rocking back and forth in the breeze that blew off the river. “Do not speak to
me like that.”
“Then how should I talk to you?” asked Kanakdatta.
“Tell me your news and leave,” Asoka snapped.
“This is all the Prime Minister’s doing!” Kanakdatta held his ground. “Don’t you see
Asoka? He is making you a prey to the baser vices so that actual power rests in his hands. He
is using you.”

“Silence !” Asoka yelled, his bloodshot eyes gleaming furiously.

Kanakdatta realized that what he had said had not registered in Asoka’s drugged brain.
“State your news,” Asoka muttered.

Kanakdatta sighed. There was little he could do while Asoka was not in a clear frame of
mind. “I sent my spies to Kalinga to gather news, as the Prime Minister asked. You will not
believe who they saw while infiltrating the Kalingan capital.”
“Who?” Asoka murmured, not really interested.
“What!” Asoka’s manner suddenly changed. He backed up and collapsed on to the chair
like a ragdoll. Kanakdatta stepped forward, worried he had hurt himself in the earlier fall.
“It can’t be true,” Asoka sighed, his head moving from side to side in a flowing cadence.
“My men saw her with their own eyes, Asoka. They brought me with the news, and I
came immediately.”
“We saw her burnt body with our own eyes, Kanaka,” Asoka whimpered.
Kanakdatta noticed there were tears in Asoka’s eyes. “My lead man knows what they saw.
He knows her face as he has been in my service since my days in Vidishanagri.”
“How can it be, Kanaka?” Tears trickled down Asoka’s cheek and fell on the silken
cushions, forming a wet spot. Kanakdatta walked forward and placed his hand on his
friend’s shoulder.
Suddenly, Asoka flinched and pushed the arm away. Kanakdatta was taken aback.“You did
not see her yourself, did you?” Asoka asked, his face suddenly blank.
Kanakdatta shook his head. “But I trust my man’s word.”
“But my mind does not trust your’s,” Asoka retorted angrily. “Why are you doing this,
“Why?” Kanakdatta folded his arms. “If Devi is really in Kalinga, we should send for her,
bring her here.”
“I don’t believe you!” Asoka looked his old friend in the eye. “I saw her body with my
own eyes.”
Kanakdatta took a deep breath. “The body was badly burnt,” he said. “It could have
belonged to any woman.”
Asoka leaned forward and grabbed Kanakdatta by the collar but Kanakdatta did not fight
back. “The body had unburnt pieces of Devi’s clothing,” he snarled. “And her ornaments.”
“That could have been easily staged.”
“By whom? And why?”
“The Prime Minister, Asoka.” Kanakdatta spoke hurriedly. “It has to be him.”
Slap! Asoka’s hand moved swiftly across Kanakdatta’s cheek. Even in his drunken state, the
slap was powerful, and Kanakdatta stepped back a pace. He rubbed his cheek and looked at

Asoka in surprise. What has gone wrong in you, my friend? he wondered, staring at the
unrecognisable figure before him.Suddenly, rage engulfed Kanakdatta.
“You dare blame the man who placed me on this throne?” Asoka shouted angrily.“You
dare blame the man who brought victory to us?”
“Look around you, friend,” Kanakdatta pleaded, pointing to the women, the opium
smoke. “This is no throne you are sitting on. This is an illusion.”
What has the Prime Minister done to Asoka? Does Kanakdatta speak the truth? Is Devi
really in Kalinga? To find out, read ‘Nemesis of Kalinga’ Book III of the Asoka Trilogy

1942 Amsterdam Ave NY (212) 862-3680
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
Free shipping
for orders over 50%

Debashis Biswas

With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Walid Jalal

Walid has 7 years experience in online listing & marketing Working in SEO firm & Publishing sector. He worked in a Restaurant as a Manager in Sharjah for two years. He loves cricket & cooking.

Jayati Sarkar

Jayati has been into literature studies and has pursued her Mphil in Australian Aboriginal Poetry from the University of Calcutta. She is an avid reader and her love for books has brought her to the field of Publishing. For years she has explored the other side of the book as a reader and now she works with Leadstart as the Senior Executive in the Editorial Department. Her work profile includes working closely with Authors, managing the projects from end to end and also working with national and international publishers for management of Secondary Rights.

Ashwini Jadhav

Ashwini has about a decade’s experience in design. She is a Master of Commercial Art, who has worked in the publishing and advertising sectors as a visualiser & designer. She was judged as the third best in the state, when she finished her foundation course in applied art. She is a practicing calligrapher in Modi Lipi (a script in the Marathi language) and is a Rangoli artist who has won several accolades in those domains. During the popular Ganesh Chaturthi festival, several idols of Ganesha in varying sizes get made, one the most important finishing touches to the idol is that of painting the eyes, which Ashwini has practiced to perfection and does it for hundreds of idols every year. In addition to the above, she is also a trained classical dancer, a national level Kabaddi player and loves cooking.

Ananya Subramanian

Graduation in journalism and love for books, led Ananya to take up a career in publishing. With her experience in the field, she has come to believe more and more in the power of stories and the people who tell them. She is a vegan and an animal-lover; and loves to dance, tend to her pet plants and often find solace in solo travelling.

T. Vijay Kumar

Vijay has over a decade’s experience in supply chain management working in India and the Middle East. He heads the production, supply chain and receivables management for Leadstart. Prior to his current role at Leadstart, Vijay worked in inventory management for five years, in Abu Dhabi.

Iftikar Shaikh

Iftikar has a decade & half years of experience across publishing and the banking sectors in the finance domain. He enjoys working on numbers and loves uncovering stories that the numbers tell. A fitness enthusiast, he loves trekking and travelling.

Maneesha Arun

Maneesha has an experience of over two decades in the content industry spanning over publishing, media and secondary rights business domains. She has a deep interest in psychology.

Mahendra Rawat

With more than a decade’s experience in book sales and distribution, Mahendra comes from a family immersed in the book trade. He worked with several book distributors and publishers before his current assignment with Leadstart.


With more than 15 years of experience in book sales and distribution, Debashis currently oversees Leadstart’s business activities in eastern India and neighbouring countries. He has previously worked with several leading book publishers and distributors.

Rajesh Krishnan

Rajesh comes with over 3 decades of experience spread over various business domains. He oversees Leadstart’s business development & sales across southern & western India, Sri Lanka and Middle-East. His hobbies include dancing, trekking and travelling

Pooja Dutt

Pooja has over a decade’s experience in operations, sales and people management in various business domains. She loves to interact with authors and helps them meet their publishing goals. She is fond of travelling & cooking.

Bhavika Bharambe

After completing her MBA in marketing, Bhavika has focused on roles that helped her to become an experienced marketing professional today. She has worked for brands from various industries; Educational, Tourism, Retail, Entertainment, Airlines, Banking and more. She loves to spend her time by reading books and listening to music.

Naina Solanki

Naina leads the project management and author support functions at Leadstart Publishing. She is fond of being abreast of the latest developments in technology and is a keen learner of the six sigma methodology. She loves reading and travelling.

Preeti Chib

Preeti has a decade’s experience in brand and communication management with most influential and innovative media companies. She is passionate about building brands by translating consumer insights into product innovations and campaigns. She is a compulsive reader and considers a day gone without some bit of reading a day wasted. She loves reading stories to her children every night. A lover of visual art, to delve a bit deeper into the same, she took up formal training for design as well.

Malini Nair

Malini is passionate about Literature and Business Management. After her MBA (Marketing) from St. Xavier’s, she took up roles that involved sales, marketing, costing, MIS etc. in multiple sectors like Banking, Insurance, E-broking, and even the Steel industry. Eventually, her passion for languages and books compelled her to re-route her career to literature. This led to a career break and a Masters Degree in English Literature; post which she took up a role at Wordit CDE & Leadstart, enabling her to work towards both her passions.

Chandralekha Maitra

With two decades of experience as a book publishing professional, Chandralekha began her career as a features writer and columnist, working with publications across India, before moving into book publishing full time, with India Book House. She received her training in editorial title management from Book House, London. Over the years she has worked with some of the finest publishing houses in India and overseas, and across genres and markets. She has also worked with Osian’s-Connoisseurs of Art, India’s first auction house, gaining in-depth exposure to research and publishing in the fine arts-antiquities-cultural heritage genres. Additionally she has had a parallel, specialist career in Human Resources, working at Group HR, Tata Group, among others. She continues to write, train and mentor in this domain as her publishing commitments allow.

Raj Supe

Aka Kinkar Vishwashreyananda, Raj Supe is a poet, storyteller and novelist, as well as a seeker and devotee of Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath. An MBA by education, his career spanned advertising, research and creative consulting, before devoting his time to literature and spirituality. His works include Three No Trumps (novel), Sagarika Anusagarika [Echoes of Nine Rivers] (poetry), Pilgrim of the Sky (spiritual memoir), and translations of religious texts such as Cloudburst of A Thousand Suns and Jai Jai Ram Krishna Hari. He has also worked on film scripts with Ram Gopal Verma and Ashutosh Gowariker, and on plays with Makarand Deshpande.

Dr. Rabindra Kumar Nanda

An alumnus of IIT Kanpur, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Stanford University, Dr Nanda is also a National Science Talent Search Scholar. He holds five Patents and is a published author of 50 national and 52 international research papers.

Swarup Nanda

Swarup has over a decade and half’s experience in multiple business domains related to content. Prior to his entrepreneurial ventures, he has worked with a couple of MNCs in the media space. His passion for literature and books is his motivation for building Leadstart.