The story moves forward in this book quite rapidly. We left the story in Book Review – Ponniyin Selvan #3 The Sword at the point where Kundavai sends Vandiyathevan to Kanchi. She wants him to persuade the Crown Prince, Aditha Karikalan to not accept Nandini’s invitation to visit the Kadumbur palace.
Ponniyin Selvan #4 – The Jewelled Crown, Summary
When Kundavai learns that the deaf-mute lady Mandakini was still alive, she wants to bring her to her father Sundara Chola. The Prime Minister also has similar thoughts and gets Mandakini abducted from Kodikarai.
Mandakini escapes before reaching Thanjai fort with the help of Poonkuzhali, her niece. She follows the Pandiya conspirators and manages to reach Sundara Chola’s palace. The emperor misunderstands her to be a ghost and throws a lamp at her. Kundavai and others rush in and explain to him that she is indeed Mandakini and that she was alive.
Strangely, the emperor is unhappy about Mandakini coming back into his life.
Vandiyathevan is unable to persuade Aditha Karikalan from accepting Nandini’s invitation. So he accompanies the Crown Prince to the Kadumbur Palace. Vandiyathevan also shares the secret that Nandini could be Adithar’s sister since Mandakini is her mother.
All the kings assemble in Kadumbur palace along with Periya Pazhuvettarayar and Nandini. They suggest a split of the Chozha empire, with Aditha Karikalan getting half and Maduranthakan the other half. Aditha Karikalan behaves quite out of character at the Kadumbur palace. He taunts all the kings, says they are conspiring behind his back, teases Nandini about marrying someone old enough to be her grandfather etc.
He insists that Maduranthakan is brought to Kadumbur to discuss the split.
Nandini convinces Periya Pazhuvettarayar to go and fetch Maduranthakan leaving her behind in the Kadumbur palace. He does so very reluctantly.
Aditha Karikalan, Vandiyathevan, Kandan Maran and Parthibendran go on a hunting trip in the dense jungle adjoining the Veeranarayana Lake. Nandini and Kandan Maran’s sister Manimekalai go on a pleasure trip to one of the islands adjoining the lake. Aditha Karikalan and Vandiyathevan happen to meet them at this island as they follow a wild boar.
The two warriors had to rescue the ladies as they fall into the lake. Manimekalai was secretly in love with Vandiyathevan even as her father and brother want her to marry the Crown Prince Aditha Karikalan.
A storm gathers and the small boat that Nandini and Manimekalai used to reach the island is washed away. Manimekalai’s father rescues all four of them in a bigger boat. Nandini does not accept the information that she is Aditha Karikalan’s sister and says he is misinformed.
The final book is a massive one, spread over two volumes. Am just about to complete reading Volume 2. The story is so gripping and the characters, both historical and fictional are so real that its difficult to forget them.
Am certain to read these books over and over again….