D. C. Books
The novel portrays the life of the Adivasis of Attappadi, a region in Malabar, to the south of the Nilgiris and to the east of Kerala. Slash and burn cultivation practised by the Adivasis is suddenly stopped by the Government, forcing them to search for new jobs. The hero changes his hair style to suit the times. The courtship dance and traditional songs were depicted in a realistic way. Ponni's characters talked and sang a mixture of Tamil and Malayalam with a tinge of Kannada.
The novel was inspired by true stories. In his partial autobiography Service Story Ente IAS Dinangal, Malayattoor Ramakrishnan says that the novel was inspired by true stories narrated by his friend Pareeth. Pareeth was working as a gramasevak in Attappady when Malayattoor was the sub-collector of Ottappalam sub-division (from 1959 to 1961). Several characters of the novel are based on real-life characters. The character of sub-collector (which was inspired by Malayattoor himself) and Adhikari (which was inspired by Basavayyan Chettiyar) are examples.