“An Indian empire – the Cholas – at the peak of its power. A great port heaped with spices, silks, jewellery, perfumes, weapons. Everyone wants a share of the riches of Nagapattinam. When a Greek pirate ship sails in to loot the wealth of the Cholas, it is brutally defeated by the navy and forced to pay a compensation. A payment that includes a twelve-year-old girl, Aremis.

Aremis grows up to be a skilled warrior, a great asset to the Cholas. But she is a foreigner among her captors, even though the emperor trusts her to guard his person. Anantha, the man who took her captive, the supreme commander of the empire’s armies, is a wily strategist. But he no longer has the stomach for war. The emperor’s ambitions weary him. Rajendra Chola has conquered Lanka, now he wants to rule the Indian Ocean. Their future is set: a dangerous journey across the seas and a bloody, brutal war they cannot survive undamaged.”

Devi Yesodharan’s debut novel Empire focuses on Rajendra Chola, the son of Rajaraja Chola, and his conquests in the 11th century, particularly his war against Srivijaya. The book tells the story through two narrators: Aremis, his Greek guard, and Anantha, his war commander. 

The novel blends fact and fiction to provide a window into a tumultuous, action packed period for the Cholas.