Of cheetahs, Chanakya, poisoned cloaks and other amazing adventures in history
Cheetahs are making headlines only now, but it was Akbar who made them big news way back in Mughal times! And where can you know all about it but in History Hunters, a new series by Shruti Garodia and Archana Garodia Gupta, the authors of the bestselling History of India for Children (2 Vols), published by Hachette India!
Yes, they are back – this time with a thrill-a-minute time-travel fiction, weaving fact and fantasy for children! These amazing adventures in history with four feisty youngsters and Elfu the elephant began with Chandragupta Maurya and the Greek On slaught, and continue with Akbar and the Agents from the East.
Pitched battles, court conspiracies, wily ministers, spectacular processions, not to forget crocodile-egg omelettes and royal jalebis…they are all here for you to dive into, along with the dangers and perils of being caught in another time and space.
Here, the authors tell you all about it!
On moving to fiction after bestselling non-fiction…
Authors: We really enjoyed the journey of writing The History of India for Children, in which we aimed to give young readers a thorough introduction to India’s long, complex history in a fun and accessible way
We decided to write historical fiction next because fiction has a way of immersing you into a period so that it really stays with you. In the History Hunters series, published by Hachette India, we focus on bringing alive the lived experiences of people from each era, so readers can imagine they are really there. We want our readers to participate in the lives of the protagonists, join them on their adventures, feel the fear and happiness as they do, and create an emotional connect with them.
On time travel…
Authors: As historians, we ourselves love the idea of travelling back to various time periods of India! It is fascinating to think about how we, with our modern perspectives, would react to all the ways in which life used to be so different. From the attitudes towards women and different social classes, to practical facets like where people got their drinking water from, there are so many contrasts with modern life which are deeply interesting to explore.
We found time travel to be a good way for the same set of characters – who act like proxies for the reader – to explore different eras.
On the characters…
Authors: We fashioned the four protagonists to be the sort of youngsters that readers could come across in their daily lives – with a mix of backgrounds, life experiences and personalities, belonging to various regions of India. And then we had to have Elfu! We both adore elephants – they add fun to everything! There is something human and deeply endearing about their intelligence, playfulness and ability to form some of the strongest bonds between animals and people that there can be. Also, elephants have been an integral part of Indian life from ancient times until quite recently and we wanted to highlight this aspect.
On the settings…
Authors: From India’s long and action-packed history, we decided to begin with the most significant rulers in Indian history, so the first three books will feature the most powerful rulers of the three mightiest empires seen in India – Chandragupta Maurya of the Mauryan Empire, Akbar of the Mughal Empire and Chandragupta Vikramaditya of the Gupta Empire.
On depicting history accurately…
Authors: It is very important that children’s understanding of history be as accurate as possible, based on what is known with some certainty.
In each book, we have included a unique feature– the ‘Fact Tracker’ section – which details what is known about the personalities and the lifestyle of that era. Where we have inserted something or changed anything to suit the needs of the story, we mention that clearly at the end of the book. We are very careful about accurately depicting the way people lived in each period, and we do rigorous research towards that.