Starting Monday 3rd December, I’ll serialise the first three chapters of my forthcoming literary historical novel Song of the Ankle Rings.

Each post is a quick read of up to three minutes. To maintain the momentum and interest, I’ll post these short reads on Mondays and Fridays right up to the book release in January/February 2019.

I welcome you to read and hope to receive your valuable comments.

Book cover mockup


Song of the Ankle Rings, an adaptation of Silappatikaram, is the tale of Kannagi, a virtuous Tamil maiden, her merchant husband Kovalan, and his courtesan mistress, Madhavi.

An epic from South India, it takes place at about the end of the last of the three Sangam periods, 3rd century B.C.E. to the 4th century C.E. known as Tamilakam, the Tamil Age, presided over by three celebrated kingdoms: Cheran, Cholan and Pandyan – present day Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Telangana, and parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Silappatikaram, though well proclaimed within India and among the South Indian diaspora, is unknown to the world at large. 

A ground-breaking epic of its time, the protagonist is Kannagi, arguably a female first in ancient Indian literature, and symbiotic of the esteem womanhood enjoyed in the ancient Tamil world.

Song of the Ankle Rings – Blurb:

Kannagi, a chaste woman born during the glorious age of the three Tamil kingdoms – Cheran, Cholan, and Pandyan – renowned for their just rule, when men were honourable and women virtuous, marries Kovalan, scion of a merchant prince.

Societal norms smoother Kannagi’s verve and beneath her calm she struggles with private demons and her husband’s adultery with Madhavi, a courtesan but also a budding feminist.

Madhavi questions Kovalan’s morals and infuriates him. But realising his errors he returns a pauper to Kannagi, who takes him back and gives him her ankle rings to rebuild his wealth.

Kovalan travels to a neighbouring kingdom and, arrested and found guilty of grand larceny of that queen’s ankle ring—which is identical to Kannagi’s—faces the executioner’s blade.

Kannagi, outraged but determined that society’s strictures will no longer stifle her, crosses her threshold unescorted, an unheard of conduct by a chaste woman. But she is all alone in a foreign land, has to get past the palace guards, and confront their upright king.

Kannagi races to Kovalan’s rescue to fulfil her destiny, not knowing whether she will be late for his salvation or early for her vengeance.

Thank you for sharing your comments,


*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018 ***

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  1. Thanks, it is interesting to read different book. I used to be ‘the bookworm’. I read all kind of Hindi novels, ball pocket, magazines.
    My parents subscribed all kind of books. Now I just read once in a while.
    Everything is online.

    1. Thank you for your visit and comment. Welcome aboard.

      Indian history is rich but few people know the regional histories of the south, I reckon.

      I love reading too and have a home library I first started in the 1970s. Yes, now with the internet I suspect more people are reading.


  2. I’ve been blogging backwards and so I read your first chapter before getting to this interesting forward. By all accounts this has all the ingredients of a compelling story. It is the kind of narrative that I love and I knw that you won’t disappoint.

    1. Hello Jane,

      Perhaps I should number the posts so that readers know where to start. Thank you for the heads-up.

      Glad you’re a fan of literary historical fiction. And yes, the original story has all the ingredients to make it a compelling read. I’m merely adapting and injecting elements that would sit well with modern discerning readers. The original, written in verse, can be heavy going.

      I’ll try not to disappoint 🙂


  3. You must have researched a lot of interesting information in coming up with this adaptation. Am sure you have them all woven into your story and characters. Will keep a lookout.

    1. Hello Windy,

      Well, every historical novel (and even stories set in contemporary times) requires research, some more than others. But the research opened fascinating information.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.


    1. Hello Ina,

      We find strong women in every culture and sometimes in the most unexpected quarter.

      Look out for the first instalment tomorrow, Monday.


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