After her bestsellers "Nefertiti" and the "Heretic Queen" Michelle Moran presents now her third novel. She continues her Eyptian theme but makes a big jump time in time.
This is the story of the last Ptolemaic princess and prince: Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios - the Moon and the Sun.Their second names mean in Ancient Greek "Moon and "Sun". Both are the children of the famous Queen Cleopatra - actually the 7th Queen of this name - and Marc Antony, the Roman triumvir. After Marc Antony has been defeated and Cleopatra has committed sucide, the children are brought to Rome by Octavian, the first Roman Emperor, parade through Rome and given in the care of his sister Octavia.In typical Roman fashion sons and daughters are edcuated in Rome in order to turn them into good Romans and then use them as puppet rulers of their former states.
Michelle Moran describes the life and times of the Imperial family and the life in Rome at the time. Her descriptions are fantastic, engaging and vivid. The start of the book is espcially great - the death of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. The main story takes place at the heart of the Empire and the Imperial family, a family of much tensions and jealousy. These are power games of truly imperial impact and yet so human. Michelle Moran catches this to perfection. On the other hand she looks at the society at large - the fanatic developments of the time are balanced by the fate of the slaves and the corruption of the elite. She shows what slavery meant.And there is the mysery of the Red Eagle...
It is a real pleasure to read as Michelle Moran keeps her standards and style. If reading much is an indication of a gripping book maybe this is of interest for you: I got the book on a Friday and had read the first 300 pages by sunday. Today is Tuesday and I have finished the book.
Thanks Michelle! You gave me a great time. Hope more will come. This is historic novel writing at its best.
on 14 July 2012
I was sent this book to read as part of a Reading Circle that I'm in and put it to one side as I'm not a huge lover of Historical fiction but in the past I've read and enjoyed the Red Tent by Anita Diamant which is both Historical and Biblical fiction.
This book had me enthralled from the start and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One minor criticism is that there were a lot of Characters to acquaint ourselves with and I found it a little confusing at the start but once I knew who they all were in my head it was easy. The list of charcters at the start did help as a reference aid on more than one occasion. Selene was a great narrator and so much happened to her in such a short space of time, at times it was hard remembering that she was still so young. With real characters and an odd fictional name thrown in, the book portrayed Ancient Rome and the day to day life well without being to heavy going for the reader.
Well done Michelle Moran you've gained yourself a new fan and I will definitely be looking out for more of your books in the future.
on 8 April 2016
Very disappointing read for me.
It was badly written. I did not understand what is the point of inventing the Red Eagle since he didn't achieve anything (adding a twist of mystery? why? the story has enough intrigue without it). Also, Selene is supposed to have helped design the Pantheon? I know there is such a thing as fictional licence but seriously!
There were certain sections which annoyed me and I wish the author would try to understand the Romans or at least Augustus better before providing her take on situations. For example, she attributed the fact that Princess Selene and Prince Alexander were not made slaves because they were children of a queen and not barbarians like the Gauls. Actually, they were not made slaves for the simple reason that they were ROMAN. Their father was Mark Antony; legitimate children of a Roman would not be made slaves in Rome! Augustus would not have set a bad example by making them slaves.
Also, the overwhelming sympathy for slaves from Selene was not very realistic. Selene would have been brought up in Egypt, where slaves were treated a lot worse than Rome. They couldn't even buy back their freedom and making eunuchs of slaves was common practice (something considered barbaric in Rome!) So I am not sure that Selene was this ultra evolved sympathetic modernist portrayed here. I think the author is trying to see too much in Rome through modern eyes.
Finally, I wish she would have written more on Selene's life in Mauretania rather than Rome. She accomplished so much there.
Overall, very disappointing. I wish the author would stick to fiction and keep history out of her work!!
on 25 March 2014
I liked this book and it was what I expected from Michelle Moran. Her books are written in colour! You can feel the quality of materials written about, feel the shiny, jewel colours of the silk , see the dusty streets of Rome, the houses, the Nile and the freshness of getting away from the hot City to the cool Island. She blends History with her take on characters of the time and it works. You may not like some of the Characters but you cannot help getting involved. It is quite emotional in places - life was extremely hard for the general population at that time - so perhaps not a Novel to escape to if you are feeling a bit low yourself!
Over all an interesting Historical novel giving an insight into how they lived in Ancient Rome, the worries of their day and how some Monuments, which are still here, came into being. There are also many areas of life then that is surprisingly modern!
I found the story of Cleopatra's daughter a complete surprise as I did not even know she had one. Her relationships were interesting and woven into the story are those we grew up knowing about but here we see them from a different angle. Historically interesting with believable characters. I would recommend this book to all who enjoy Historical Novels, to those fascinated by Roman/Egyptian Culture, Adventure, Foreign Parts and Romance. One feels that Michelle Morgan does not write for Serous Scholars but for the rest of us, who enjoy " a bit of Culture" in our reading - and to that end she succeeds very well!
on 4 November 2011
"Cleopatra's Daughter" is a fascinating snap shot into Imperial Rome, its people and the events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Although a fiction the story has many true elements to it, it depicts a life of more than two thousand years ago when the children of Mark Antony and Cleopatra were taken from Egypt and raised several years on the Palatine.
Narrated by the young Selene, the story begins on the fateful day when Octavian marched into Alexandria and claimed it as his own. Following the deaths of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, Selene along with her two brothers Alexander and Ptolemy are taken in chains to Rome to be delivered to the household of Octavian's sister, Octavia. Unfortunately only the 10 year old twins, Selene and Alexander, with the support of each other, survive the journey. In Rome, at the hands of their captor Octavian, they are never far from danger or potential death. They quickly learn their survival depends on keeping vigilant and silent in the house of Caesar.
Woven with bits of intricate detail, the novel not only tells the story of these remarkable children but also expounds on ancient Rome and the notorious and unforgettable people who lived during that period. The author tells the story in a very captivating and exciting manner and the characters have been finely tuned to enhance the atmosphere even further.
There is no need for extensive knowledge of history to enjoy this wonderful tale of hardship and intrigue.
on 10 February 2014
Cleopatra's daughter tells of the life of Selene and her brothers Alexander and Ptolemy as they are whisked away from Egypt after theirmother's death, and forced into Roman society. She swear she will return to Egypt, but then rumour of the mysterious Red Eagler begin to spread.
I personally, quite like this. I agree there are several bad points mentioned in other reviews, such as the name-dropping though it never really bothered me, and the plot of the Red Eagle. It was slightly interesting at first, but then fell into something in the background. 'Oh look, there's another acta. Whoopee, I wonder who it is?' Though I thought it led well to the climax. There are also some inaccuracies, though the author has noted that down, and out of character moments, though I thought Octavia's sudden love was not that OOC, from what I personally think of her.
The characters I liked, and would say that for that time period, Selene's thoughts aren't that old for her age. It was a likable twist, the homosexual character, and the personalities of the other characters, and after finding out the fate of one I felt rather sorry for them.
The style is easy to read, and I think with the content, the book should be a YA. I would have liked to see the romance between Selene and her to-be husband explored more deeper, but other than that Moran had good descriptions and I like her writing.
on 23 November 2011
This is a delightful book and was an utter joy to read - I was hooked from the start because it makes you question what will happen next and encourages you to read on.
It begins with the possibility of the fall of the Egyptian Empire and the death of Selene's and Alexander's mother, Queen Cleopatra and their father Marc Anthony. This sets off a series of both fortunate and tragic events, which keeps the pace of the book. With a number of sub-plots and intelligent fictional additions, the story is gripping and I couldn't put it down!
The plot is defined and vivid, entirely original even though it's based on fact, and toys with the characters feelings, emotions and decisions making them climb out of the page and into your imagination - it's sensational!
Although predominantly painting a picture of the young Egyptian princess Selene growing up in Ancient Rome, a time of turbulence and tragedy, this beautiful book also has a somewhat mystical theme to it which is realised in the form a breathtaking finale!
If you're still undecided on "Cleopatra's Daughter," then read all of the other positive reviews - you won't be disappointed.
on 1 May 2014
I was hoping that I could give this story five stars but I have come to the conclusion that this is the weakest of the three books. I did not like the use of Latin nouns - either use modern prose or go totally Latin but don't mix them. A Thalamegos was probably a river vessel, not a sea going one. The voyage from Alexandria to Rome was going to take two months but a couple of pages later it had taken three weeks. Just one example of poor proof reading/editing. American spelling had also crept back in. I have not heard of ' Gannymede' being used as a slang term for a homosexual.
Ms Moran's description of a crucifixion is totally incorrect. If she felt unable to write about this truly horrific method of killing someone, then perhaps it should not have been included.
Again history has been altered to fit in with the story. Surely it should be the other way round. The final straw, for me, was the death by eel. I know that in the notes at end of the book, it states that this is based on contemporary cases but it was far too Monty Python for me.
on 26 January 2011
Well, when i first started to read this book i thought, ah not too bad. The next day i had nearly finished it.
If you like Ancient Egypt and Rome then its a fantastic buy. Whilst reading you feel as if you're there, the context is very well done and draws you in for more and more. If unsure, buy it, its fabulous and mindblowing, definately worth its price.
The love story of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is legendary. The question asked less often is what happened to their children after they killed themselves? Michelle Moran tackles this question by exploring the lives of the three children who were taken by Octavian and the rest of the Romans through the eyes of the one of the twins, and the only girl, Kleopatra Selene. Practically stranded in a totally new world, twelve-year-old Selene and her brother Alexander must learn how to live in ancient Rome while watching every step, perpetually in danger of losing their lives.
I don't know how high my expectations for Michelle Moran are going to have to be set for her to fail to match and surpass them, but she has done so in this book. Cleopatra's Daughter is a great read and proves that the author can portray Rome with just as much skill as she has applied to Egypt. The novel starts out in Egypt with a bang as Octavian and his warriors invade, causing Cleopatra and Antony to kill themselves in desperation. Selene, Alexander, and Ptolemy are whisked away on a boat, on which Ptolemy dies. Selene already knew her life was never going to be the same, and the loss of not only her parents but her baby brother causes her to both fear and gather her strength. She vows that she and her brother will regain Egypt.
In Rome, the already great characters of Selene and Alexander are matched with teenage Roman children as their friends. These kids are nice, well-rounded secondary characters, especially Selene's friend Julia, who has plenty of her own problems to deal with. Moreover, they are figures from history, and reading about them as they might have been as children is exciting.
The twins interact with the highest levels of Roman society, but Selene in particular still feels like a young teenager, albeit an intelligent one. She experiences her first crush and develops her interest in architecture, while coping with Octavian's horrible wife Livia, who is determined to thwart her and humiliate her at every turn. It's easy to relate to Selene in the midst of a great deal of foreignness and danger, which is why this book also works as a fantasy YA novel. Plus, I adored the way the love story angle wound up. I knew it was one based on the dedication, but it took a good long time for me to figure out who Selene loved exactly. When the pieces fell into place, I realized I had seen it all along without really thinking about it.
These are not only dangerous times for Selene and Alexander but for Rome as well, which experiences the beginnings of a slave rebellion, and a mystery as to who the ringleader is. No one is safe from suspicion. This mystery definitely powers the plot along since Selene herself doesn't have all that much to do. Luckily, her voice is strong enough that she is still an ideal choice for narrator; she has inside information and she is by far the most interesting character.
I'm happy to be able to say that I definitely recommend Cleopatra's Daughter. This is a very solid historical fiction novel with enchanting characters, a richly described setting, and an enthralling plot.