Title: Cleopatra’s Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Synopsis (from Amazon):
Following Cleopatra and Marc Antony’s deaths, their three children – twins named Alexander and Selene plus a younger son named Ptolemy – are exiled from Egypt and sent to Rome in chains to be raised in one of the most fascinating (and dangerous) courts of all time. Cleopatra’s Daughter is the remarkable true story of what happens to these three surviving children as seen through the eyes of Selene. Their adaptation to Roman culture, their treatment as both a curiosity and a threat, and Selene’s perilous journey to adulthood, are all chronicled in the elegant detail and gripping pace for which Michelle Moran is celebrated.
I’ve always been a fan of historical novels set in ancient Rome, but seldom have I enjoyed one as much as this. From start to finish, this meticulously researched novel is filled to the brim with characters and settings so richly depicted that one could almost believe one was right there experiencing the action with the narrator, Kleopatra Selene (known as Selene), daughter of possibly the most famous female ruler in history.
There is a real sense of danger and intrigue throughout the plot that kept me on the edge of the seat and made it very difficult for me to put down the book in between reading sessions – I always found myself, while doing other things, wondering about the characters and what could possibly happen next. And I was kept guessing – the mystery of The Red Eagle; the romantic feelings of Selene and also of her brother, Alexander Helios; there was always something happening that had me gagging to find out more!
The sights, smells, tastes, fashions, architecture and social strata of ancient Rome are laid out like a feast for the senses and I truly felt I was devouring this novel which, when finished, felt incredibly satisfying and complete, yet had me hankering after further research into the characters and their circumstances on my own part. After doing so, and discovering just how much of the story is based on historical fact, I am even more impressed.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction, this is a must-have addition to your personal library – get it, read it, love it, then go out and get hold of anything else you can find by the author!
Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite