Before she was cast as Indian mythology’s most jealous queen, she had her own story….
The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, Kaikeyi is raised on stories about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharath prospers, and how they offer the devout and the wise powerful boons. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.
Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most-favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.
But as the demons of her childhood stories threaten the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family—especially that of her beloved son, Rama. Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak…and what legacy she intends to leave behind.
In the spirit of Circe, Ariadne, and The Witch's Heart, this stunning debut reimagines the life of Kaikeyi, the vilified queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana. It is a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—of an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.
Publisher: Redhook (Hachette)
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
"Patel’s mesmerizing debut shines a brilliant light on the vilified queen from [the Indian epic] the Ramayana....This easily earns its place on shelves alongside Madeline Miller’s Circe." –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Mythic retelling at its best: entrancing, troubling, and complicated. Kaikeyi is marvelous."―R. F. Kuang, award-winning author of the Poppy War trilogy
“The novel is compelling and rich, drawing on the source material while furnishing its characters with new complexity and motivations. Fans of Madeline Miller's Circe will fall hard for this story about a woman determined to do what’s right for her kingdom and its women, walking the fine line between rebellion and convention.” ―Booklist (starred review)
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Vaishnavi Patel is a law student focusing on constitutional law and civil rights. She likes to write at the intersection of Indian myth, feminism, and anti-colonialism. Her debut novel, KAIKEYI is forthcoming in 2022 from Redhook/Orbit. Her short stories can be found in The Dark and 87 Bedford’s Historical Fantasy Anthology. Vaishnavi grew up in and around Chicago, and in her spare time, enjoys activities that are almost stereotypically Midwestern: knitting, ice skating, drinking hot chocolate, and making hotdish.
Tags: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Speculative Fiction/SFF, Retelling, BIPOC