The Kadamba Dynasty in the 5th. Century CE is progressive and willing to accept many new fangled ideas. But most people still believe that a womans time is best spent tending to her home and family.
Carakas Daughter is about a young woman healer, Devi, practising her arts in the face of some pretty stiff opposition. Defying social diktat, she establishes a clinic and develops a roaring practice. When she is unexpectedly summoned by the king to manage a first aid tent at a massive public rally, she feels that she is finally breaking through traditional barriers, and accepts the commission eagerly. Inevitably, the enterprise ends in disaster, with a man dead and Devi accused of killing him.
At the same time, the kingdom is under great pressure due to the expansionist ambitions of the reigning king, Kakushtavarman. Political and social conditions are ripe for insurgency and revolt, precipitated by the grand Horse Sacrifice being undertaken by the king.
Then another man turns up dead in mysterious circumstances. Devi is summoned from her clinic to help with the investigation. Before she knows it, she is deeply embroiled in rapidly evolving events. The story traces how Devis little world intersects with the larger political events of the time.