The Ramayana (literally "Rama's Way') is, along with the Mahabharata, one of the two great epics of India. A long epic, 25,000 verses in extent, it tells the compelling story of a young Prince forced to abdicate the throne and live in a strange mythical world full of both gentle sages and vicious demons. In the end, good triumphs over evil and Rama is crowned King. In India, Rama's exploits have been celebrated for 2000 years. The Ramayana has inspired the themes of hundreds of major and minor literary works and plays, religious festivals, temple ceremonies, public holidays, private ceremonies, pilgrimages, cinematic adaptations, children's fairy tales, and more. William Buck's version is not so much a translation as a rewriting, using as source material the published English translations. Buck has captured the simple, religious tone that pervades the Indian original. Conventional techniques of Sanskrit narrative are found here: the use of narrators at various stages, the descriptions of nature to suggest the mood of the action, occasional divine interventions, and so on. All of this remains an extraordinary accomplishment.
William Buck(1933-1970) was a Sanskritist, devoting his life's work to modern retellings of the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the unfinished Harivamsa.