Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two great epics of India. These two epics have shaped the thoughts and characters of the people of India for centuries. They represent the culture and heritage of India. These two epics have also been subjected to changes over the centuries - in the original as well as in regional retelling. The Book of Ram, written by Devdutt Pattanaik, assimilates all the various versions of Ramayana, not just in Indian languages, but also those told in other countries like Thailand, the Balinese version, etc. So, what emerges is an interesting kaleidoscope of views on the epic. But, the main thread of the story remains the same, which makes it still easy to follow.
Devdutt tells the story of Ram as seen through various versions. So, many readers will find interesting new variations in the story, which they have probably never heard before. For instance, in one version, Sita is represented as Ravana's long lost daughter. The story of Sabari's meeting with Ram has also undergone many changes through the various interpretations. In the original, she is presented as a true ascetic, as Rama enquires whether her penance and yogic practice was proceeding smoothly without interruption. Like this, the many different interpretations of the epic representing the thoughts and ideologies of the different places and different times of these versions add new facets to the story.
The Book of Ram also presents the reader with a deeper insight into the other characters surrounding Rama. They see Vashista and his teaching elaborated in the chapter on Rama and Vashista, and the story of Vishwamitra in the chapter that talks about him and Rama. Likewise, other characters like Lakshmana and Dasaratha are also introduced to the reader. The Book of Ram thus presents the whole story of Rama, the people who shaped him, and the circumstances that made him. The Book of Ram brings out the different hues of Ramayana, the story as retold through the ages in different parts.