Posts Tagged With: Michelle Moran

Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran

Cleo's Daughter

Title: Cleopatra’s Daughter
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!

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

Some would call the Pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife Nefertiti visionaries. They ended the polytheistic religion of Egypt and destroyed the greedy and corrupt temples of Amun. They instituted a revolutionary monotheistic system, worshipping one God, the Aten. Unfortunately, thousands of years of religious belief could not be erased so easily. Their reign ended in disaster and the old religious order was restored, ending a line of kings stretching back over a hundred years.

Michelle Moran starts this novel several years after the events of her first novel, Nefertiti. The sole survivor from the previous royal line is Princess Nefertari, niece of Nefertiti. She has been raised at the court of the current Pharaoh, Seti I, and alongside the royal heir, Ramesses. They are fast friends. In fact, he is one of her only friends and the only reason the other children tolerate her. She is the victim of the backlash of hatred against her deceased family. She is called ‘heretic’ and worse and is blamed for the actions of her relatives.

As they grow up, the close friendship of Nefertari and Ramesses blossoms into love. But few at court want Nefertari as Egypt’s queen and her enemies try to turn the people against her, too. Fortunately for Nefertari, she is a gifted woman. She has an affinity for language and is able to learn the political intricacies of the court. She has brains and courage. Her journey to the throne of Egypt is breathtaking.

The author has vividly recreated the stunning courts and palaces of Ancient Egypt. Her imagining of the life of Queen Nefertari and the Pharaoh who will be known to history as Ramesses the Great makes for an engrossing and fascinating historical novel. I particularly liked the inclusion of the Egyptian calendar at the end of the book, the first of these that I have seen. I have read quite a lot of historical fiction set in Ancient Egypt and have always wondered how their calendar of seasons corresponds to our own.

I loved The Heretic Queen and impatiently await Ms. Moran’s next book, Cleopatra’s Daughter. Visit her wonderful website!

The Heretic Queen is published by Crown. ISBN 978-0-307-38175-0.

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