Thursday, 9 October 2014

Kim's Review : Cleopatra's Daughter

Cleopatra's Daughter is a work of Historical Fiction by Michelle Moran - Other than Madame Tussaud, I think this is my favourite by her so far, and my top choice in her Egyptian series. I think this book is much better researched (could also be because the Romans kept better records) than the others in the Egyptian set.

Cleopatra's Daughter follows the life of Selene and her twin brother Alexander (through Selene's voice) - children of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony  - from the time of Octavian's assault on Alexandria and the death of her parents to her marriage and escape from Rome and Octavian's immediate influence.

Children of deposed / murdered Royals lead a tough life. While originally accustomed to comfort and every luxury, when their parents are defeated, they too are subjected to the worst humiliations, from being turned into slaves, to being murdered or manipulated for political purposes.

Selene sees all of this happening all around her. To further complicate matters, she and Alexander are put under the guardianship of Octavia - Octavian's sister and Mark Antony's first wife whom he divorced to marry Cleopatra - their mother.

Men and women of the ruling class in Rome are treated like chess pieces by the rulers or their parents, they are made to marry and divorce according to what would best suit the manipulator at that point of time.

To add a bit of intrigue to this story, we have the anonymous character of "The Red Eagle" who tries to stand up to all the injustice and iniquities faced by the slaves in Rome.

I teared up a bit in places when reading this book, but the Roman - Egyptian conflict History is pretty depressing when you think of all the lives that were lost and the despicable condition of Prisoners of War who were brought back as slaves.

This is one of Michelle's best researched books - especially into Roman Laws of that time. The Rome of Selene's time was not the Rome that is today renowned  for its order, planning, laws and development. The Alexandria of this age was vastly superior to Rome in terms of town planning, culture and development. This makes the comparisons in the story interesting.

If you like Historical fiction, definitely pick this one up. Just remember it deals more with Rome than Egypt - If you are looking for Egyptian Historical Fiction, then try Michelle Moran's Nefertiti and the Heretic Queen.

Rating : 4.25 / 5

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