This novel deals with the attempts of the son of (fictional) Chola king Parthiban, Vikraman, to attain independence from the Pallava ruler, Narasimhavarman.
The Cholas remain vassals of the Pallavas. Parthiban conveys his dream of the Chola dynasty regaining its glory - which he believes is lost since they are no longer the independent rulers of their land - to his young son Vikraman. Parthiban refuses to pay the taxes to the Pallavas and this triggers the Pallavas to wage war against the Cholas. In the resulting war Parthiban is killed and in the battlefield an enigmatic monk promises to Parthiban that he will make sure that Vikraman fulfills Parthiban's dream. Vikraman grows up and plans his retaliation against Narasimhavarman. But his uncle, Marappa Bhupathi, betrays him and Vikraman is arrested and banished from India by Narasimhavarman.
The narrative moves on to describe how Vikraman comes back longing to meet his mother and the mysterious beauty whom he saw before being deported. To his woe he later discovers that his mother has disappeared and has in fact been kidnapped by the savage Kapalikas - a tribe which believes in human sacrifice. He also comes to know that the beauty he has fallen for, Kundhavi, is none other than the daughter of his sworn enemy, Narasimhavarman.
The novel climaxes with the identity of the monk being revealed and establishment of the independent Chola kingdom under Vikraman in uRaiyUr.
However, in that case, the major suspense element of "Parthiban Kanavu" would be lost, as the readers who have read "Sivagamiyin Sabatham" previously, would be able to guess very easily, who the one-handed man is!