Heritage-Key.com - Anthea Russo
"In ancient India, we meet a young warrior named Tungar. He dreams of becoming a great general for King Asoka. Tungar is a selfish, arrogant boy who thinks he knows everything, and seeks his own personal glory and influence. To obtain this admiration, he will do anything, including lying and treating his friends badly. Tungar believes that by being a brave fighter, he will gain the favour of the King and become the envy of his friends, but his judgement proves otherwise.
The King’s Warrior is an introduction to the emperor of the Mauryan Empire, Asoka (Ashoka) the Great, who ruled most of the Indian sub-continent from 273BC to 323BC. The fictional story is told through Tungar's eyes, and it is set in 262 BC. The story deals specifically with Asoka’s military conquests and his conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism.
It is the King’s wish to expand his empire, and his army travels to the kingdom of Kalinga, where a major battle ensues. Asoka’s army conquers Kalinga but instead of feeling glory and triumph, the King sees only destruction and damage. Asoka is so shocked at the death and suffering he has caused that he abandons the military expansion of his empire and converts to Buddhism. He encourages his people to live in peace and have respect for all living things. It is a lesson Tungar must learn.
Moral Lessons From Ancient India
The book explores the issues of religion, class, friendship, pride, vanity, loyalty, courage, obedience and honesty. Tungar and his friend Nandi are opposites. Tungar believes that he is superior to his friend and treats him badly. He tells lies and is proud and arrogant. In contrast, Nandi is honest, humble, and afraid of battle; he puts others in need before himself. This is proven when he is placed in a situation with an 'outcaste', where his reputation is compromised (ancient Hindu followers believed in the caste system, which meant people were not treated as equals).
The King’s Warrior is one of four books India-based books written by Jessica Gunderson, and it forms part of a larger group of historical fiction books published by Picture Window Books. It is aimed at children aged 7 to 10, and includes a ‘Words to know’ section, along with guidance on difficult pronunciations. There is also an afterword on ancient Indian religions. Each page is enhanced by beautiful illustrations by Caroline Hu, created in brushed pen and ink; Hu has also illustrated other books in this series.
The book is a lovely and simple introduction to Ashoka and his kingdom. It does not overload its young readers with too much information, but presents ancient history as both accessible and enjoyable. The illustrations provide a balance so that the reader is not overwhelmed by text, and therefore the story is clear and fluid. The only omission is that of a map outlining this corner of the ancient world. I would definitely recommend this book as a wonderful introduction for young readers to ancient India." - Heritage-Key.com
June 30, 2009