Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran



Cover:

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 Ronme, 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 courts, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra's Daughter. Recounted in Selene's youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters, Octvia, the emperor Octavian's kind and compassionate sister; abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octvian's handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia's sardonic son and Marcellus's great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian's watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.

Selene's narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place - the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must also find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empires' most illustrous poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority. In these chaotic streets and whispering palaces, Selene confronts the same forces that destroyed her mother and struggles to meet a different fate.

Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra's Daughter, is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of the glorious and tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selen, a young woman of irrestible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.


First line: While we waited for the news to arrive, we played dice.

In this third novel by author, Michelle Moran, the reader is swept from the pyramids of Egypt into the glory of Rome. Cleopatra's daughter, Selene, is the narrative voice of the novel as she journeys into the year 30 B.C. and the decadence of the Eternal City.

The novel is geared to appeal to a wider audience, which includes young adults. Thus most readers will find this novel a smooth, comfortable read. Nevertheless, it packs a mighty punch. The strength of this novel is not only found in its intricate details of architecture, art, sport, fashions, and politics of the time, but is also rich with court intrigues and brutalities of the Roman Empire when it was at its peak.

For lovers of historical fiction, Michelle Moran's books never disappoint, and this novel is no exception. Filled with grand details and numerous emotional scenes, the reader is immersed in the times, so accurately and confidently portrayed. A hgihly recommended read.