Friday, 4 June 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter

Author: Michelle Moran
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 416
First Line: "August 12, 30 BC -- While we waited for the news to arrive, we played dice."
Published: July 2009
Synopsis: When Romans invade Egypt, Queen Cleopatra and Antony choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant Roman armies of Octavian enter into Egypt. Their children, Princess Cleopatra Selene and her twin brother Alexander are taken to Rome as prizes of war by Octavian. The children don't know what to expect or whom they can trust in this new society that they're thrust into. The twins are taken to Octavian's sister's home where they are treated well but the twins still cling to the hope of returning and ruling their beloved Egypt.
Told through Selene's perspective, this book chronicles how the two children learn to adapt to their new surroundings as they begin to enter adulthood. When she arrives in Rome she is only 11 years of age and, as a child, doesn't pose a threat to Octavian. With their futures still uncertain Selene learns that in order to keep herself safe she needs to make herself useful to Octavian. As they near the age of adulthood (15 years of age) what will happen to them? Will they be perceived as a threat to the suspicious and all-powerful Octavian?
My Thoughts:
As usual Moran delivers a wonderfully rich and vivid historical read. I have to give Moran credit. She does her homework and because of that her characters seem to come alive and the descriptions she gives of the architecture and culture of the time are quite vivid.
This book is filled with the action, romance and intrigue of ancient Rome. I loved reading about Rome and reminisced about visiting the Pantheon and Capri while reading this book. I just wish I would have read up more on Italy before travelling there with my husband almost 3 years ago!
Selene is shown as a very strong, independent girl (like her mother) but who also has a very considerate and compationate side. I enjoyed seeing the differences between the Roman culture and the Egyptian culture as it related to women and their roles and freedoms. Quite different! I was impressed with how forward thinking Egyptians were to women (allowing them many more liberties compared to other cultures of the time). Also, the addition of the mysterious "Red Eagle" character who opposed slavery added some intrigue and mystery to the plot. I kept going back and forth in my mind as to whom the Red Eagle could be ... in the end, I guessed right but that didn't diminish the excitement of the storyline.
Reading this book, I now want to read more about Cleopatra's story so I'm probably going to add Margaret George's "Memoirs of Cleopatra" to my summer reading list. Daunting at 976 pages it may take me awhile to get through even though I find this era in time fascinating. I can't wait to learn more about the infamous Queen of Egypt since she had a VERY small role in this book.
My Rating: 4/5 stars


Anonymous said...

I read this book too. While I liked it, I didn't get it as high a rating as you did (for which I was duly hammered on Amazon).

In retrospect, I was probably a bit harsher than it deserved. My main complaint was that I wanted more Seline, more of her personality, and more of her story.

I've read the Memoirs of Cleopatra as well. It's big, it's dense and it's beautiful. There are parts of it that read like poetry. I think you'd probably like it.

Laurie said...

"Memoires of Cleopatra" has moved up on my 'to read' list. It's size is what's daunting to me but I think it would be an amazing read. I have never read any Margaret George books but have heard great things about that author.
Have you read any books by Edward Rutherford? I have "London" and "The Forest" by Rutherford but have yet to crack them open. Again ... the size is daunting and his timeline is HUGE!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurie,
Sorry it's taken so long for me to reply. Life got really crazy for a bit, but has now returned to normal, i.e. slightly crazy.

I haven't read any Rutherford books. I did pick up "London" once - and it almost threw out my back. That sucker is HUGE!

I'm always intimidated by big books. I'm a slow reader; the higher the page count, the more time I have to invest in the book.

And now for something completely different...

I was given a Versatile Blogger award with instructions to pass it on.

Since you truly are a versatile blogger, I'm awarding it to you.

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