November 12th, 2012, 11:31 AM
Books dealing with eastern mythology
I would really like to know if there any good books dealing with rich eastern mythologies. Asia has abundance of mythological lore but beyond the usual stereotypes about Kali in Hindu mythology and some Djinns there seems to a dearth of books in this genre.. Is there any author with some good works in following areas:
Hindu Mythology: Ramayana and Mahabharta(Mythological Tomes), Devas (gods) and Asuras(Demons). There are supposed to be 340 Million gods in Hindu Pantheon.
Buddhist Mythology: Lamas and re-incarnation. I had read one excellent Sherlock Holmes novel based on this theme though not by Aurthur Conan Doyle .
Islamic Mythology: Throne of the crescent moon was an excellent book, something along these lines.
November 15th, 2012, 09:16 PM
The Rose of the Prophet Trilogy by Weis and Hickman
The Ramanyana Series by Ashok K. Banker
The Chosen (Stone Dance series) by Ricardo Pinto
The Amazing Voyage of Azzam by KG Godel
November 16th, 2012, 08:03 PM
resident of Hyperborea
You are correct, in spite of the richness of Indian & Buddhist mythology, there has been a dearth of books utilizing them. I have come across the following books/series that deal with Hindu & Buddhist mythologies or plot threads:
1] Govinda by Krishna Udayasankar - A retelling of the epic of Mahabharata removing all the magic and divinity and unfolding the story as a socio-political saga. This was a recent debut I came across and I highly recommend it if you are familiar with the epic. If not then its still a great mytho-historical fiction, you can also read its review here.
2] The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi - A retelling of the legendary exploits of Lord Shiva imagining him to be a human whose legendary feats made him a god. This series has been released in the Indian subcontinent and is a huge bestseller. This series is very reader friendly and for those with no previous knowledge of the legend will be able to follow it completely. More info about the series can be found here and it will be released for UK and US markets by Jo Fletcher Books on 3rd Jan 2013.
3] The Archer's Heart by Astrid Amara - This is a fantasy take on the Mahabharata epic with a major twist being that the main characters modelled on Krishna and Arjuna being shown as gay lovers. The book is a single volume story and does very well to encompass the major events of the epic and yet create an intriguing love story for the readers.
4] David Hair, the author of Mage's Blood has previously written a YA series called The Return of Ravana. It is a finished quartet and focuses on contemporary India as well as the epic of Ramayana.
5] Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews, the third book of the Kate Daniels series has a strong connection to one of the epics you mentioned in your post. The book can be read as a standalone but there are certain things which won't make sense. I would recommend you read the second book Magic Burns and then jump into this one, if you are interested.
6] Buddha's Thunderbolt by Jacob Michael Asher is a book which re-imagines Merlin as a buddhist with a rational outlook towards life. Its historical fiction with a strong slant towards Buddhism and Indian mythology. Here is its review and the author has also plans for a sequel featuring Arthur and his possible journey into Asia.
7] The Inspector Chen series by Liz Williams is a mix of UF , SF and other things. It has an amalgamation of Chinese, Indian & Buddhist mythology and is a very quirky read.
8] The Palace of Illusions by Chitra B. Divakaruni - Another Mahabharata retelling but from the singular viewpoint of Draupadi/Panchali who was the wife of the Pandavas. A pleasant book especially for those not in the know-how, for readers well-aversed this might be a tad predictable.
9] Tricked, the 4th Iron Druid Chronicle by Kevin Hearne has elements of Hindu mythology that are mildly utilized in the story. The author might set a future story in the Indian Subcontinent and therefore might feature Indian mythological elements in a more central role.
10] Joseph Robert Lewis, an Indie author has a forthcoming book called The Kaiser Affair which is part of the Drifting Isle Chronicles which is an awesome project featuring five authors with very different styles. His book features a detective couple pair who have to resolve a mystery in a steampunk-ish world. I think the male protagonist is a character from an Indian epic and more info about it will be revealed in December when the book releases.
11] Lastly Fortress Frontier, the 2nd book of the Shadow Ops series by Myke Cole features a strong Indian mythological connection and can be read as a standalone. It will be released next year in Jan. I highly recommend this book as it utilizes an under-utilized aspect of Indian mythology that might be further explored in future volumes.
I hope this helps and if I remember anything more I'll add it to this list.
Last edited by Hyperstorm; November 17th, 2012 at 12:31 PM.
November 17th, 2012, 06:36 AM
Thanks for suggestions.. I have read Immortals of Meluha and Trapped but found it bit shallow..Mage's Blood and Kate Daniels one were good..Looking forward to reading Fortress Frontier and Govinda
November 17th, 2012, 12:42 PM
resident of Hyperborea
Good to hear, hopefully you'll enjoy the titles you mentioned. I found a few more that fit your criteria:
1] The GamesWorld trilogy by Samit Basu is a nice fantasy take on Indian mythology as seen through a western epic fantasy lens. Quite funny and at times satiric, this trilogy really launched Basu across Indian audiences.
2] Land Of Hope And Glory by Geoffrey Wilson is a nice alternate historical take on the 1857 Indian uprising. The author has reversed the situation with Rajasthan ruling England and there being a mutiny there. I enjoyed the book as it utilized yoga, Sattva and other such concepts in a steampunk-ish angle, the author also agrees to it being called Sattva-punk.
3] The Dragon And The Lotus by Joseph R. Lewis which is a collection of short series set in India with the caveat of an alternate world wherein the Ice Age never left Europe and therefore has lead to a different civilisation arising in Africa, Middle East & Asia.
November 18th, 2012, 07:45 AM
For something a bit different, The Navigator Kings Trilogy by Garry Kilworth is a good read. It's based on Polynesian mythology (so even further east).
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny is of course required reading for an SFF fan. It's fantasy rationalised through an SF background, all heavily based on Hindu mythology.
Katherine Kerr's Deverry series can be read as an oddball mash-up of Hindu ideas (particularly reincarnation) and Celtic (particularly Welsh) mythology.