NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER

by Michelle Moran



"The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony's vengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their orphaned children -- ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander -- are taken in chains to Rome. Delivered to the household of Octavian's sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian's family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires within their own hearts." (From the jacket flap of the Crown edition.)

In a nutshell, I think Cleopatra's Daughter is Michelle Moran's best work to date. While both Selene and Alexander do seem rather mature for their age in the book, Michelle explains in the author's note with the observation that they are the offspring of one of the most educated rulers in the history of Egypt. In addition, during a time when life expectancy was significantly less than it is now, for both natural and unnatural reasons in the case of royalty, one had little choice other than to mature quickly if one was to survive.

There are a number of characters beyond Selene for a reader to get attached to, not the least being her twin, Alexander, who was my favorite. I also enjoyed the portrayal of both Octavia and Octavian, the latter being complex enough to merit some sympathy despite the brutality of his rule.

As always, Michelle's excellent research brings the time period home to the reader. It's a great place to begin learning about Ancient Rome, post-Julius Caesar. And if you haven't had enough once you're finished with Cleopatra's Daughter, may I suggest I, Claudius by Robert Graves?



31 comments:

Meghan said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this as much as I did! I do think Nefertiti is still my favorite of hers though, maybe for nostalgic reasons. I, Claudius is on my wishlist. I have a number of friends who were Classics majors in college and they've all encouraged me to read it as well. =)

Charley said...

Hmm, I can't think of any books I've read that take place in Ancient Rome, so I'll keep this in mind.

Lezlie said...

Meghan ~ I, Claudius is probably the measuring standard for me when it comes to Ancient Roman fiction. It's sooo good! I hope you do have a chance to get to it.

Charley ~ This would be a great place to start!

Lezlie

Daphne said...

I think this was my favorite of her books as well (although I really enjoyed The Heretic Queen too!).

Lezlie said...

Daphne ~ She gets better with every book. At this rate, her next one should be *really* amazing! The topic sure is. :-)

Lezlie

Jenny said...

Great review! I haven't read any of her books and am generally not a huge historical fiction fan but all the buzz in the blogosphere has made me reallly want to read all of her books, lol! I'm sure I'll pick up at least one if I don't win one of the contests.

Lezlie said...

Jenny ~ I'm not surprised that people who don't normally read historical fiction would find her books intriguing. She picks great subject matter. If you give her a chance, be sure to let me know what you think!

Lezlie

carolsnotebook said...

I have yet to read anything by Moran, although she's definitely on my list. I don't read historical fiction very often. I'm not sure shy, really, because I usually enjoy it when I do.

Lezlie said...

Carol's Notebook ~ I think Moran is good author for people who don't read a lot of historical, because she give a great sense of place and time without dragging the pace down with tons of detail.

Lezlie

Laura's Reviews said...

Great review. This books sounds fantastic - I really need to pick it up!

Lezlie said...

Laura's Reviews ~ Thanks! Just FYI--Right now it's %50 off on www.bookdepository.com with no shipping costs. I saw that just a few minutes ago!

Lezlie

Jo-Jo said...

I suppose if you were offspring of the most educated rulers, one would be a pretty smart cookie, hey? Great review Lezlie. I probably won't get to this one for about a month yet, but I am definitely looking forward to it.

Lezlie said...

Jo-Jo ~ That rationale made perfect sense to me! :-) I hope you like it as much as the rest of us have!

Lezlie

bermudaonion said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book. You've made it sound so good.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I'll have to look into this. I loved The Memoirs of Cleopatra.

Lezlie said...

Bermuda Onion ~ The book is so good that it makes it easy! :-)

Caroline ~ Ooooo! That was a good one, too! Margaret George is a great author. Have you read her book about Henry VIII? It's excellent!

Lezlie

Trish said...

Great point about life expectancy and the rate of maturity. I've yet to read anything by Moran, but I just loaned my [unread] copy of Nefertiti to my sister and she "loved it." I'll be on the look out for this one, too.

Lezlie said...

Trish ~ Once I thought about the fact that living to be 40 back then was a pretty big deal, it made more sense to me. I'll waiting to see what you think of her books when you finally get a chance to read one!

Lezlie

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Yes, I read Henry VIII and loved it. My mom thinks her Mary Queen of Scots is the best of all her work, but I've yet to read it.

Lezlie said...

Caroline ~ Henry would get my vote for George's best book, but Mary Queen of Scots was pretty darn good, too.

Lezlie

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm so excited that I won a copy of this! Can't wait to read it.

Lezlie said...

Ladytink ~ Awesome!! I hope you love it!

Lezlie

Teddy Rose said...

I just received my copy from Michelle and I am holding off reading reviews until I have finished reading it. I am really excited about this book!

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ I do that, too. I usually just quick-scan to see what they thought of it overall. I don't want to accidentally learn too much about the story! :-)

Lezlie

Anna said...

Glad to hear you loved this one. I'll be reading it soon. Seems like Moran gets better with every book...and she was great to begin with.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ I agree! I'm already psyched for *next* year's book from her. :-)

Lezlie

Literary Feline said...

I can't wait to read this. I am so glad you enjoyed it, Lezlie.

Lezlie said...

Literary Feline ~ It's a good one! Have you read either of her others?

Lezlie

Literary Feline said...

I've read Nefertiti so far. I hope to read Heretic Queen soon and then will follow it up with Cleopatra's Daughter.

Teddyree said...

Couldn't agree with you more, I absolutely loved Cleopatra's Daughter. I've loved each of Moran's novels but this one was excellent!

Lezlie said...

Teddyree ~ Her next one should be amazing. It's unfair that we have to wait a whole year! :-)

Lezlie