2020 Sep 11
In Children of the Lion, Carl Muller recreated the story of the conquest of Lanka by Sihabahu and Sihasivali’s eldest son, the disgraced and banished Vijaya. Continuing this monumental saga, richly embedded in myth and legend, City of the Lion, carries forward the story of the Sinhala race. The book recreates the return of the lion people to Anuradhapura after the bold and reckless Sinhala prince, Duttha Gamini, waged war, slaying the usurping Tamil king, Elara, who had ruled over their precious city for forty-four years. The city, where Duttha Gamini built the most enduring monuments of Buddhism, grew, flourished, and the edifices of Buddhist glory rose to become the wonders of the East.
Carl Muller, a phenomenal Sri Lankan writer that needs no introduction, has penned many famous works during his time, winning various literary awards. City of the Lion, second in the series, tells the tale of how the great city of Anuradhapura rose into its prime under the hands of the Prince of the South, Duttha Gamini. Muller adds a disclaimer that his work, in order to bring life to the events, is an accumulation of myth, legend and glorious history.
Duttha Gamini is known throughout this book for being many things- the greatest Builder King to raise the City of the Lion, the liberator of the North (vanquishing many opposing Damila princes and foreign invaders) and a champion of the Buddhist doctrine. His works and accomplishments are known throughout history and have become some of the most wondrous dedications to Buddhism known to date in the East. Muller emphasizes Duttha Gamini’s fervent passion when it comes to building nothing short of the greatest Kingdom for the Sihala people (as they were known back then) but ensures that the prince does not lose his humanity or dedication to Buddhist philosophy in the process.
This book is definitely a short but enjoyable read that’s a proud and respectful celebration of the people of Sri Lanka. It’s an enlightening read for enthusiasts of Sri Lankan history and legend. There are various religious and historical references, however, that won’t be understood if you’re not fully acquainted with the island’s culture and heritage but the author was kind enough to explain these references in his endnotes.