Never having followed tamil literature, recently i read the english translation of "ponniyin selvan" by kalki. Translations are well just that but why allow that to hinder my imagination. Kingdoms, stories of kings (like ajatashatru, shivaji, maurya, pandya, chalukya, etc...) are so fascinating that one gets to re-live the woven tapestry and (his)story of the cholas coupled with superb characterization, detailed descriptions, an absorbing narrative, via words and a vivid imagination.
Our hero is Vandiyathevan, a reckless brave warrior and friend of Adhitha Karikalan (a Chola king) but after meeting Arulmozhi, he becomes his fan too like the rest of the Chola subjects. The story weaves back and forth between characters, situations, dangers, excitement, joy, sorrow and royal intrigue and nary a dull moment as it moves between locations, cities, and even countries.
kalki also wrote "shivagamiyin sabatham" and "parthivan kanavu" , again around the 1940's- 50's, which are again set in the semi-historic era. I am told that they are masterpieces too ...plan to pick up the english versions when i visit madras the next time.