Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cleopatra’s Daughter-Michelle Moran

Cleopatra’s Daughter
Michelle Moran
Crown, Sep 2009, $25.00
ISBN 9780307409126

In 31 BC, with Octavian’s Roman legions led by Marcus Agrippa winning the war between the surviving duet of the original Triumvirate and invading Egypt; Marcus Antony and Cleopatra, knowing what to expect from Roman Emperor Octavian, chose suicide. However, Octavian wants vengeance for the affront Marcus did to his sister Octavia, when he dumped her for the Egyptian so he has his soldiers take the three offspring, ten year old twins Alexander and Selene and their younger brother five year old Ptolemy in chains to show off the fate of what happens to those who disobey him. However, Ptolemy dies during the voyage across the Mediterranean.

Over time both twins adjust to being part of Caesar’s family as the chains are somewhat removed but never figuratively far away as each sibling understands that at any moment they can be accused of anything whether justified or not. Everyone in Octavian’s circle wants to use them as the Emperor’s nephew Marcellus and his wife’s son Tiberius compete for the role of heir apparent.

Ancient Rome historical fiction fans will enjoy this strong tale as seen through the eyes of CLEOPATRA’S DAUGHTER Selene, who is sort of like a fly on the wall observing the rivalry to ultimately replace Octavia on the throne. The intrigue and manipulations of the two competitors, their supporters and retinue make for a fascinating historical fiction. Michelle Moran leaves the Emperor and his court with no clothes as she lays bare what drives him and those who ambitiously want to be his replacement.

Harriet Klausner

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