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"The most complete woman ever to have existed, the most womanly woman and the most queenly queen, a person to be wondered at . . . whom dreamers find always at the end of their dreams." -- Theophile Gautier, 1845 Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that "The most complete woman ever to have existed, the most womanly woman and the most queenly queen, a person to be wondered at . . . whom dreamers find always at the end of their dreams." -- Theophile Gautier, 1845 Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that stretched from the scorching deserts of lower Egypt to the shining Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria, with its famed libraries, storehouses, and treasuries. Imperiled at every turn by court conspiracies and Roman treachery, the young queen was forced to flee Alexandria and live in exile while a foreign army overran her city and her own siblings plotted her downfall. With nothing to lose, Cleopatra brazenly sought a partnership with the only man who could secure Egypt's safety: Julius Caesar, a wily politician and battle-hardened general with a weakness for women. The result was a passionate love affair that scandalized Rome and thrust Cleopatra into the glittering but deadly world of imperial intrigue and warfare-- a world that she would mesmerize and manipulate even after Caesar was gone. At the height of her power and fame, Cleopatra fell in love with Caesar's protégé and successor, Marc Antony, a handsome general known as much for his drunken hedonism as for his victories in  battle. Brash, irresistible, and fatally unreliable, Antony's once-strong hold on the Roman Empire was slipping fast, and with it slipped Cleopatra's fortunes. When the tide had finally, irrevocably turned against her, the proud queen plotted a last, spectacular maneuver that was to save her children, her empire, and her place in the pantheon of gods. Colin Falconer's bold, sensuous prose takes the reader inside the walls of Alexandria's great palaces and into Cleopatra's very heart, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman who thrived and triumphed in a world ruled by men. This is the story of a legendary woman's most glorious time, a story that blazes through thousands of years of history to capture the imagination of readers today. From the Hardcover edition.


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"The most complete woman ever to have existed, the most womanly woman and the most queenly queen, a person to be wondered at . . . whom dreamers find always at the end of their dreams." -- Theophile Gautier, 1845 Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that "The most complete woman ever to have existed, the most womanly woman and the most queenly queen, a person to be wondered at . . . whom dreamers find always at the end of their dreams." -- Theophile Gautier, 1845 Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that stretched from the scorching deserts of lower Egypt to the shining Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria, with its famed libraries, storehouses, and treasuries. Imperiled at every turn by court conspiracies and Roman treachery, the young queen was forced to flee Alexandria and live in exile while a foreign army overran her city and her own siblings plotted her downfall. With nothing to lose, Cleopatra brazenly sought a partnership with the only man who could secure Egypt's safety: Julius Caesar, a wily politician and battle-hardened general with a weakness for women. The result was a passionate love affair that scandalized Rome and thrust Cleopatra into the glittering but deadly world of imperial intrigue and warfare-- a world that she would mesmerize and manipulate even after Caesar was gone. At the height of her power and fame, Cleopatra fell in love with Caesar's protégé and successor, Marc Antony, a handsome general known as much for his drunken hedonism as for his victories in  battle. Brash, irresistible, and fatally unreliable, Antony's once-strong hold on the Roman Empire was slipping fast, and with it slipped Cleopatra's fortunes. When the tide had finally, irrevocably turned against her, the proud queen plotted a last, spectacular maneuver that was to save her children, her empire, and her place in the pantheon of gods. Colin Falconer's bold, sensuous prose takes the reader inside the walls of Alexandria's great palaces and into Cleopatra's very heart, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman who thrived and triumphed in a world ruled by men. This is the story of a legendary woman's most glorious time, a story that blazes through thousands of years of history to capture the imagination of readers today. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Cleopatra: Daughter of the Nile (Classic Historical Fiction)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra, Colin Falconer In When We Were Gods, Colin Falconer's bold, sensuous prose brings to life the mysterious, glamorous Cleopatra as she really was: strong, ambitious, complicated, and a women well ahead of her time, wielding great power in a man's world. From her early ascent to the throne of Egypt to her passionate, politically tangled relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and her tireless battle to preserve her nation at all costs, we meet a When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra, Colin Falconer In When We Were Gods, Colin Falconer's bold, sensuous prose brings to life the mysterious, glamorous Cleopatra as she really was: strong, ambitious, complicated, and a women well ahead of her time, wielding great power in a man's world. From her early ascent to the throne of Egypt to her passionate, politically tangled relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and her tireless battle to preserve her nation at all costs, we meet a fierce and vulnerable woman caught in a deadly world of imperial intrigue and warfare -- a world she would mesmerize and dominate. عنوانها: کلئوپاترا؛ کلئوپاترا ملکه رود نیل؛ نویسنده: کالین فالکنر؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: نهم ماه ژوئیه سال 2005 میلادی عنوان: کلئوپاترا؛ نویسنده: کالین فالکنر؛ منرجم: جواد سیداشرف؛ تهران، زرین، 1382؛ در 924 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1383؛ شابک: 9644072979؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، نگارستان کتاب، 1386؛ چاپ پنجم 1387؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی - کلئوپاترا ملکه ی مصر از سال 69 تا سال 30 پیش از میلاد، نخستین نشر قرن 20 م عنوان: کلئوپاترا ملکه رود نیل؛ مترجم: آزاده میرشاهی، تهران، سمیر، 1391؛ در 568 ص؛ شابک: 9789642201990؛ کتاب داستان و زندگی‌نامه‌ ی آخرین فرعون مصر، کلئوپاترا ست. این بانوی نخست مصر که در فرمان‌روایی، قدرت، و زیبایی زبان‌زد در طول تاریخ بود، شرح جنگاوری‌ها، فتوحات و همین‌طور زندگی خصوصی ‌او به‌ عنوان: مادر و همسر، خواندنی و شنیدنی ست. نقل از متن: «صبر کرد تا درد کارگر شود و اشک‌هایش جاری گردند، اما فقط فشرده‌ شدن قلبش و خراش‌های ترس بر بدنش را احساس می‌کرد. اکنون دیگر به خودش متکی بود. در ماه‌های آخر، به‌ عنوان ولیعهد در امور همکاری می‌کرد، اما اکنون، بعد از مرگ او، زندگی‌ ای که پدر برایش آماده کرده‌ بود آغاز شد. از این روز به بعد او برای جهان، کلئوپاترای هفتم بود. فیلوپاتور، ملکه‌ ی دو سرزمین مصر بالایی و پایینی.». ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    This question has long plagued me about historical novels: why, pray tell, WHY are women always 'cursing their weak hearts' for craving love? In every book where the main character happens to be female (Cleo, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth, JEZEBEL for heaven's sake) this line inevitably appears in some form or another. Can't there be one woman who is utterly ruthless, supremely disciplined and seeks nothing more than gratification and the odd opened jar from men? The stereotype of the eternally This question has long plagued me about historical novels: why, pray tell, WHY are women always 'cursing their weak hearts' for craving love? In every book where the main character happens to be female (Cleo, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth, JEZEBEL for heaven's sake) this line inevitably appears in some form or another. Can't there be one woman who is utterly ruthless, supremely disciplined and seeks nothing more than gratification and the odd opened jar from men? The stereotype of the eternally longing feminine heart is slightly revolting and entirely untrue. Needless to say, after the fifth time that Cleopatra whined 'why doesn't he love me?', I hurled this "historical novel" away in disgust. Where is the hardened cruelty? Where is the reptilian ambition? Where is the SPINE, woman? A clumsy and irritating book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bren

    "This is the world you have inherited," he whispered. "Every palace is filled with snakes, twice as deadly as these. You will live among vipers all your life so you must learn to use your venom as wisely but strike without hesitation when you must." Cleopatra: Daughter of the Nile by Colin Falconer I had a tough time with this one. Not because I do not like the subject matter. I have read so many books about Cleopatra. And I've read this author's work before and enjoyed it. So why didn't I like "This is the world you have inherited," he whispered. "Every palace is filled with snakes, twice as deadly as these. You will live among vipers all your life so you must learn to use your venom as wisely but strike without hesitation when you must." Cleopatra: Daughter of the Nile by Colin Falconer I had a tough time with this one. Not because I do not like the subject matter. I have read so many books about Cleopatra. And I've read this author's work before and enjoyed it. So why didn't I like this? Two reasons. One is that one of my all time favorite books is "I Cleopatra" which is..you guessed it..a bio about Cleopatra. It is the gold standard against which I judge all Cleopatra books and I think that book ruined me for all other Cleopatra bios as I have never read one that can compare. Also the second reason is: This version if Cleopatra just did not do it for me. I mean, she came off as weak and sort of..for lack of a better word..CRINGING. I didn't believe it. If there is one thing Cleopatra is known for, it's her strength. There is also a scene where she is schooled in the art of love making that left me speechless. It was simply impossible for me to accept this version of her, so different then any I have read before. I think the writing is quite good but the book I read before this, 'The Sultan's Harem" I found I liked much better though at the end of the day different people like different books. To any other Cleopatra readers out there, I am a strong believer in reading them all so if you have not read this, read it and form your own opinion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣

    I have just found this at the newspaper stand for only 7.7 Ron (they had quite a few of Colin Falconer's books at the same price). ******************************** I am fascinated with Cleopatra. I like reading books/watching movies about her. I am aware the historical truth must be lost, yet she will always be remembered. I appreciate that Cleopatra is portrayed as having only two lovers during her lifetime. Yet she is not perfect. She is cunning and has to be in order to keep her throne. And I'm I have just found this at the newspaper stand for only 7.7 Ron (they had quite a few of Colin Falconer's books at the same price). ******************************** I am fascinated with Cleopatra. I like reading books/watching movies about her. I am aware the historical truth must be lost, yet she will always be remembered. I appreciate that Cleopatra is portrayed as having only two lovers during her lifetime. Yet she is not perfect. She is cunning and has to be in order to keep her throne. And I'm happy she's not some delicate flower because the two men in her life use her as best as it suits them. When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra is an entertaining read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    For a book entitled When We Were Gods, Falconer spends a ton of time creating disagreeable human characters. His Cleopatra is a simpering, ineffectual, fragile, weeping creature with Victorian values. Marc Antony is an oversexed lush and the great Caesar is not involved in the plot long enough to have the same impact that he assuredly had on history. Once Cleopatra stops whining "hold me", "he doesn't love me", we finally get a glimpse at her intelligence and courage. Antony continues to have For a book entitled When We Were Gods, Falconer spends a ton of time creating disagreeable human characters. His Cleopatra is a simpering, ineffectual, fragile, weeping creature with Victorian values. Marc Antony is an oversexed lush and the great Caesar is not involved in the plot long enough to have the same impact that he assuredly had on history. Once Cleopatra stops whining "hold me", "he doesn't love me", we finally get a glimpse at her intelligence and courage. Antony continues to have zero redeeming qualities and refuses to face the truth up to the very end. The high note of this novel was the great naval battle against Octavian's commander, Agrippa. That was very well written, easily pictured in one's mind. Three stars is generous. My advice: if you're looking for a well researched Cleopatra historical fiction novel, go with Margaret George.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    Finished this monsterous historical romance while I was getting eight hour micro braids and must say I was completely content to read and lose myself in ancient Egypt again with my favorite woman ruler, Cleopatra..I am so intrigued by this beautiful ambitious woman that had not only men at her disposal but gods on earth reincarnated through Julius Caesar and Marc Antony..This book takes us from Cleopatra's childhood to her untimely demise highlighting her quest for power and security for Finished this monsterous historical romance while I was getting eight hour micro braids and must say I was completely content to read and lose myself in ancient Egypt again with my favorite woman ruler, Cleopatra..I am so intrigued by this beautiful ambitious woman that had not only men at her disposal but gods on earth reincarnated through Julius Caesar and Marc Antony..This book takes us from Cleopatra's childhood to her untimely demise highlighting her quest for power and security for herself, her family and her beautiful black land of Egypt. I loved to read of how she seduced and plotted her way to what she wanted and even in death left herself powerful and unforgettable. The only thing that made this book lose a star is its attention to detail.I didnt feel like I knew this Cleopatra like I did in Margaret George's masterpiece Memoirs of Cleopatra, or enough about her feelings for her men as I did with Jo Graham's Hand of Isis...I do however feel like I finally understand Octavian the merciless and the politics of Rome. I adored the descriptions of the vulgarities and barbaric nature of the Roman and would love Mr Falconer to write more about that as I dont think his forte is drawing an accurate portrayal of such a wise and powerful woman ruled by her heart and of course her beloved Egypt..

  7. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    While the story itself is a great one, the writing is shaky and I found myself frequently bored with repetitive statements or thoughts from characters.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Renee Thompson

    The detail and emotion throughout was riveting. I felt like I was there throughout the entire book, which isn't necessarily a good thing, given all the lopping off of heads and whatnot. Falconer does an amazing job at writing several years' worth of history into a single book, and making all the names and battles memorable and significant. This is my first Falconer book, and I fully intend to immerse myself in the rest of his stories.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marichee

    This was an OK book. It was interesting in that it covered Cleopatra's early life, as much as it could. What her life in the royal house was like with a mousy brother who was supposed to rule. We also got a quick tour of what it was like being with Celius Juser. Um. Sulius Jeezer. Oh, heck. Whatever his name is! The best part is that we got an idea of what kind of queen she might have been, and why Egypt was so rich. And I do mean RICH. She knew something of national management, if anything in This was an OK book. It was interesting in that it covered Cleopatra's early life, as much as it could. What her life in the royal house was like with a mousy brother who was supposed to rule. We also got a quick tour of what it was like being with Celius Juser. Um. Sulius Jeezer. Oh, heck. Whatever his name is! The best part is that we got an idea of what kind of queen she might have been, and why Egypt was so rich. And I do mean RICH. She knew something of national management, if anything in this book, and history, are accurate. We also got to know a likable woman with a few hopes and dreams and a desire to keep her family line going. An ambitious dream for a woman back then. It did have a few flaws in it, but if you're up for an easy read with some interesting tidbits of history thrown in, go for it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ana Mardoll

    When We Were Gods / 0-609-80889-3 Falconer shows his prowess yet again at bringing history to life, in a vivid landscape, dominated by a powerful (and yet deeply politically vulnerable woman) who is frighteningly compelling. Falconer seems to specialize in strong women who are fundamentally unreliable narrators and sometimes anti-heroes and yet we are drawn to their courage and we admire their drive and ambition, even when we do not agree with their motives. You see this in "Feathered Serpent", When We Were Gods / 0-609-80889-3 Falconer shows his prowess yet again at bringing history to life, in a vivid landscape, dominated by a powerful (and yet deeply politically vulnerable woman) who is frighteningly compelling. Falconer seems to specialize in strong women who are fundamentally unreliable narrators and sometimes anti-heroes and yet we are drawn to their courage and we admire their drive and ambition, even when we do not agree with their motives. You see this in "Feathered Serpent", as Malinali maneuvers the Spaniards to destroy her captors and their empire. You see this in "The Sultan's Harem", as the vicious Hurrem manipulates her husband and owner into demolishing his own kingdom. And now we see this in When We Were Gods, as Cleopatra struggles to survive and prosper as more than just a Roman fiefdom. Falconer woman are emotionally strong, and Cleopatra is no exception. Her romances with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius are initially motivated out of a fierce instinct for survival and a calculated gamble at something more - prosperity, greatness, lineage. Yet Cleopatra is not made of marble - she comes, over time and in spite of herself, to deeply and passionately love her two Roman "husbands" despite their betrayals. She comes to welcome their embraces, to continue to be shocked and hurt by their betrayals, and to cry at their deaths. Rome was, Falconer correctly notes, a deeply racist culture in many ways, with laws against marrying foreigners or giving property to children of foreigners, and Falconer notes this in the treatment Cleopatra receives at the hands of her two Roman lovers. They will give her illegitimate children, but not their oaths of marriage. They will take her money and her army, yet they will not share their victories with her. Yet, despite all this, both men choose to overcome that tradition and upbringing and prove their faithfulness at the end - Julius, with an illegal will acknowledging his child; Antony, with refusal to save his own life by turning Cleopatra over to Octavian, even though he fears death. These men are truly strong, overcoming prejudices that have been ingrained in them from childhood, and Falconer praises them subtly for this feat, even through the veil of Cleopatra's fears and angers, the veil that makes her a compelling, yet unreliable narrator and forces us to weigh the actions of those around her against her interpretation of those actions and judge for ourselves. I love this because Falconer specializes in unreliable narrators, and we see this in Cleopatra. She is wise, intelligent, and cunning, but we cannot believe everything she tells us. She is not the goddess that she believes herself to be, and she is not always the wonderful mother that she has decided she is. Her intense frustration and hatred of men is understandable - she has been betrayed countless times - but she comes to realize that she has been unfair to men - and to Romans - late in the novel, when the man she thought was most faithless of all has instead been pining for his leprous wife for decades. It is then that Cleopatra realizes that male, female, Egyptian, or Roman are all tags and names that are meaningless - one either is or isn't faithful, depending on one's character and choices. This is, I think, the crux of Cleopatra - the realization that dynasties come and go, but humanity thrives on. ~ Ana Mardoll

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    (review March 2016) I remembered about this book as I've come across a book of the author that interests me since it takes place in Romania during WW2 ; I read When We Were Gods a while ago - cannot say when for sure but it was in a period i was fascinated with Cleopatra's story and reading a few of the many novels dedicated to her (there is one I really enjoyed by Margaret George, there is another by Gillian Bradshaw which is an what if her son with Caesar survived, and many others) and I still (review March 2016) I remembered about this book as I've come across a book of the author that interests me since it takes place in Romania during WW2 ; I read When We Were Gods a while ago - cannot say when for sure but it was in a period i was fascinated with Cleopatra's story and reading a few of the many novels dedicated to her (there is one I really enjoyed by Margaret George, there is another by Gillian Bradshaw which is an what if her son with Caesar survived, and many others) and I still remember that this was of the "easy, rolling, adventure" type without too much subtlety but where the reader is compelled to turn the pages and see what happens next even when said reader kind of knows how it will turn out

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alethea

    I did not finish this book. Not because it was poorly written or because it lacked comprehension or realism; to put it bluntly, I got bored. Margaret George's Cleopatra novel was so vivid in my memory's comparison, while this book just seemed to be going on interminably. That may be due to my familiarity (somewhat) with the Cleopatra story, or perhaps it's due to some other factor. I just found myself, instead of being absorbed into the text, anxious to move on to other books and didn't seem to I did not finish this book. Not because it was poorly written or because it lacked comprehension or realism; to put it bluntly, I got bored. Margaret George's Cleopatra novel was so vivid in my memory's comparison, while this book just seemed to be going on interminably. That may be due to my familiarity (somewhat) with the Cleopatra story, or perhaps it's due to some other factor. I just found myself, instead of being absorbed into the text, anxious to move on to other books and didn't seem to ever become involved with this one. So, in that sense, I didn't "hate" this novel, per se, but I just could not complete it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I really enjoyed the beginning of this novel. I loved learning more about Cleopatra and the Roman world. However 3/4ths in I just got a little bored with the tedious recountings of the different conflicts and battles. The end picked up a little but I was disappointed because I wanted to really like this book. I found the book very well researched though.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deepa

    An engrossing historical fiction for people fascinated by Egypt. The strong characters take the tale forward

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ana Mardoll

    When We Were Gods / 0-609-80889-3 Falconer shows his prowess yet again at bringing history to life, in a vivid landscape, dominated by a powerful (and yet deeply politically vulnerable woman) who is frighteningly compelling. Falconer seems to specialize in strong women who are fundamentally unreliable narrators and sometimes anti-heroes and yet we are drawn to their courage and we admire their drive and ambition, even when we do not agree with their motives. You see this in "Feathered Serpent", When We Were Gods / 0-609-80889-3 Falconer shows his prowess yet again at bringing history to life, in a vivid landscape, dominated by a powerful (and yet deeply politically vulnerable woman) who is frighteningly compelling. Falconer seems to specialize in strong women who are fundamentally unreliable narrators and sometimes anti-heroes and yet we are drawn to their courage and we admire their drive and ambition, even when we do not agree with their motives. You see this in "Feathered Serpent", as Malinali maneuvers the Spaniards to destroy her captors and their empire. You see this in "The Sultan's Harem", as the vicious Hurrem manipulates her husband and owner into demolishing his own kingdom. And now we see this in When We Were Gods, as Cleopatra struggles to survive and prosper as more than just a Roman fiefdom. Falconer woman are emotionally strong, and Cleopatra is no exception. Her romances with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius are initially motivated out of a fierce instinct for survival and a calculated gamble at something more - prosperity, greatness, lineage. Yet Cleopatra is not made of marble - she comes, over time and in spite of herself, to deeply and passionately love her two Roman "husbands" despite their betrayals. She comes to welcome their embraces, to continue to be shocked and hurt by their betrayals, and to cry at their deaths. Rome was, Falconer correctly notes, a deeply racist culture in many ways, with laws against marrying foreigners or giving property to children of foreigners, and Falconer notes this in the treatment Cleopatra receives at the hands of her two Roman lovers. They will give her illegitimate children, but not their oaths of marriage. They will take her money and her army, yet they will not share their victories with her. Yet, despite all this, both men choose to overcome that tradition and upbringing and prove their faithfulness at the end - Julius, with an illegal will acknowledging his child; Antony, with refusal to save his own life by turning Cleopatra over to Octavian, even though he fears death. These men are truly strong, overcoming prejudices that have been ingrained in them from childhood, and Falconer praises them subtly for this feat, even through the veil of Cleopatra's fears and angers, the veil that makes her a compelling, yet unreliable narrator and forces us to weigh the actions of those around her against her interpretation of those actions and judge for ourselves. I love this because Falconer specializes in unreliable narrators, and we see this in Cleopatra. She is wise, intelligent, and cunning, but we cannot believe everything she tells us. She is not the goddess that she believes herself to be, and she is not always the wonderful mother that she has decided she is. Her intense frustration and hatred of men is understandable - she has been betrayed countless times - but she comes to realize that she has been unfair to men - and to Romans - late in the novel, when the man she thought was most faithless of all has instead been pining for his leprous wife for decades. It is then that Cleopatra realizes that male, female, Egyptian, or Roman are all tags and names that are meaningless - one either is or isn't faithful, depending on one's character and choices. This is, I think, the crux of Cleopatra - the realization that dynasties come and go, but humanity thrives on. ~ Ana Mardoll

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leonide Martin

    A curious, thought-provoking treatment of some of history's most famous characters. Cleopatra begins as a teenage girl contending with ruthless Ptolemy family intrigues, soon escaping to save her life sequestered in the desert. She alternately appears confident and magnetic, then insecure and immature. It seems doubtful even that young she would ever be as vulnerable and self-doubting as Falconer portrays her. Watching her character arc develop is quite fascinating, and despite some setbacks in A curious, thought-provoking treatment of some of history's most famous characters. Cleopatra begins as a teenage girl contending with ruthless Ptolemy family intrigues, soon escaping to save her life sequestered in the desert. She alternately appears confident and magnetic, then insecure and immature. It seems doubtful even that young she would ever be as vulnerable and self-doubting as Falconer portrays her. Watching her character arc develop is quite fascinating, and despite some setbacks in self-confidence she reaches supreme expression of a Pharaoh heading a wealthy empire. Her assertive and provocative personality both attracts and repels her Roman lovers, first Caesar and later Marc Antony. Always her dedication is to keeping her hold on the Egyptian throne, even when that means murdering her brothers and sisters. As the Ptolemys said, a good dinner was one where no one got poisoned. Her relationship with Caesar is edgy, he keeps his intentions guarded and she always doubts his love while yearning for it. After Caesar is assassinated while she is in Rome, she returns to Egypt to contend with disgruntled subjects and power plays. Enter Marc Antony, her second chance to use Rome's power to bolster her hold on the throne. Antony is painted as such a lecher and boozer that its a wonder he ever won a battle. Apparently he sobered up and slept alone during campaigns, at first winning but later losing in critical battles against Octavian and Agrippa. His character was hard to reconcile with history, but the passionate relationship with Cleopatra made for some exciting reading. The story ends badly for them and their children. Overall, an entertaining romp through historic times without excessive violence.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    There were some editing problems, but this was a wonderful read. The contrasts between Julius Caesar and Marc Antony were brilliantly drawn. Of the great love stories throughout history, I have wondered why Antony, rather than Julius, is coupled with Cleopatra. Maybe Shakespeare deemed it so. Cleopatra proves that it is difficult to be a god, a ruler, a mother and a woman. She never realized the depth of Caesar's devotion. She understood Antony's devotion too late. He had to look upon her face There were some editing problems, but this was a wonderful read. The contrasts between Julius Caesar and Marc Antony were brilliantly drawn. Of the great love stories throughout history, I have wondered why Antony, rather than Julius, is coupled with Cleopatra. Maybe Shakespeare deemed it so. Cleopatra proves that it is difficult to be a god, a ruler, a mother and a woman. She never realized the depth of Caesar's devotion. She understood Antony's devotion too late. He had to look upon her face one last time before he surrendered his soul to death. That scene was poignantly written. Her male children were killed, Antony was dead, she considered her long time goal of ruling Egypt and Rome together with Octavian, but could not do it. In that decision, she was true to Marc Antony. She took care of her kingdom with more wisdom than any man could do. Her kingdom flourished, they had granaries, the great library, methods of irrigation, and every necessity and luxury of life. She understood what had to be done to make certain her people persevered. She clung to hope always finding a way to meet any situation. She loved two Romans, and they loved her. She asked too much of both in seeking to be co-rulers of a country where she was a foreigner. I will never be a queen or important, but what better epitaph could be said about me that I loved my husband with all my being, and he me. Thank you, Mr. Falconer, for writing this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I would give this 3 1/2 stars. This is not (as many have asked me) the new non-fiction book on Cleopatra. It's also not (as I had expected) a trashy romance novel about Cleopatra. Much to my delight, it's historical fiction a la Philippa Gregory and I actually got to learn some presumably real things about Cleopatra and her life. To be honest, I really only vaguely new the story of Cleopatra from grade-school stories, and it was interesting to read an account of her as a strong, savvy and I would give this 3 1/2 stars. This is not (as many have asked me) the new non-fiction book on Cleopatra. It's also not (as I had expected) a trashy romance novel about Cleopatra. Much to my delight, it's historical fiction a la Philippa Gregory and I actually got to learn some presumably real things about Cleopatra and her life. To be honest, I really only vaguely new the story of Cleopatra from grade-school stories, and it was interesting to read an account of her as a strong, savvy and strategic leader (along with some romance that probably isn't in the non-fiction account...) All of the main characters (Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony) are three-dimensional - winning in their own way though tragically flawed. The story lagged a bit towards the end with a lot of detail but I really felt for these leaders and the bad luck (and bad mistakes) they had to face and live with.

  19. 4 out of 5

    JG (The Introverted Reader)

    Okay, so you've got Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony. Rich material, right? Should be an awesome story, right? Wrong. Way wrong. At least in this book, it's wrong. None of the characters ever felt remotely real. It felt like the author had a Barbie doll in one hand and a Ken doll in the other hand, and he just moved them around and told a somewhat disjointed story. Also, there were 127 chapters in a book that is 462 pages long. And within those short little chapters, there was generally Okay, so you've got Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony. Rich material, right? Should be an awesome story, right? Wrong. Way wrong. At least in this book, it's wrong. None of the characters ever felt remotely real. It felt like the author had a Barbie doll in one hand and a Ken doll in the other hand, and he just moved them around and told a somewhat disjointed story. Also, there were 127 chapters in a book that is 462 pages long. And within those short little chapters, there was generally a break every three or four paragraphs. Now, I hate long chapters, but this went way too far in the other direction. It was like the author had no idea how to smoothly transition from one scene to the next, so he just threw in a page break instead. I don't really recommend this book to anyone. I'm sure there are much better books about Cleopatra out there.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    If you want some historical Alexandrian romance and you like Cleopatra and Antony, then this is the story for you. I did like this book, I borrowed it from the library and read it fairly quickly. It was kind of an insight into day to day life in the tumultuous affairs of Cleopatra, and the actual "affairs" with Antony and Julius Caesar. Gave me a good backdrop on the era and this history of the times and the place, from Rome to Alexandria. Good book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vennela

    Just average. The story should have been extremely compelling given the characters involved, but the writing style sorta ruined it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    DerekC

    While I enjoy historical reimaginings this book insults the history scholar.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anne Gerth

    Just ok and really hard to read. Finally decided to set this aside and move on to better books. So many books...so little time!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    After listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast on Cleopatra last year (which sent me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole) I decided to read this. Cleopatra is a fascinating figure and there is not much actual historical information about her. I would like to learn more, and this book was unfortunately not the way. It was interesting enough, but far too long. At least 100 pages could have been cut without hurting the story- and help the plot move along faster. And I am not sure how to describe it, After listening to a Stuff You Should Know podcast on Cleopatra last year (which sent me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole) I decided to read this. Cleopatra is a fascinating figure and there is not much actual historical information about her. I would like to learn more, and this book was unfortunately not the way. It was interesting enough, but far too long. At least 100 pages could have been cut without hurting the story- and help the plot move along faster. And I am not sure how to describe it, but there was too much historical hindsight. The following type of exchange happened at least a dozen times in the book: Cleopatra: Caesar/Mark Antony, you should do ___. Caesar/Mark Antony: You are not a Roman and that's not how things are done in Rome. Cleopatra: But if you do ___, you will get rid of your enemies and we will win and rule Egypt and Rome together. Caesar/Mark Antony: Trust me baby, I don't need to do ____. I'm going to do something else instead and that will be better. Caesar/Mark Antony then do something else. It is not better. Cleopatra is frustrated because she was right and they should have listened to her. The same exchange will happen again to try to fix the new problem...and so goes the majority of the plot line. Now I am all for strong, independent female characters, but there is no way Cleopatra would have always known exactly what to do/be right all of those times. It is easy for an author with knowledge of the time period and all those historical figures to write a novel with Cleopatra saying all the "should ofs" that would have made her/Caesar/Mark Anthony more successful in their time. But for a novel that is written mostly from Cleopatra's point of view, having her have all the answers just doesn't make sense and isn't the best character development. Overall, I guess I am just a little let down by this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nadine Wiseman

    Another Colin Falconer spellbinder I have long wished to time travel (to the past - you can leave the future unknown, for me) and half hoped that somehow quantum physics, or some other esoteric, barely comprehensible mystery might make this so. My favourite historical fiction novelists have fulfilled some of this longing - and none more so than Colin Falconer. Feisty, powerful, often misinterpreted women are a speciality of his and the mighty Cleopatra is no exception. This depiction of Cleopatra Another Colin Falconer spellbinder I have long wished to time travel (to the past - you can leave the future unknown, for me) and half hoped that somehow quantum physics, or some other esoteric, barely comprehensible mystery might make this so. My favourite historical fiction novelists have fulfilled some of this longing - and none more so than Colin Falconer. Feisty, powerful, often misinterpreted women are a speciality of his and the mighty Cleopatra is no exception. This depiction of Cleopatra and the two great loves of her life is engrossing and thrilling. So real you can almost feel her breath on the back of your neck, and written with passion and dry humour. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marsha Owen

    Loved, loved, loved this book. Even though the end of Cleopatra was always in my mind, I still read this book voraciously. I couldn't put it down until I just passed out from lack of sleep. Any history buff or just a romantic soul will love this book and while reading it will wish and maybe pray for another ending. If only love could prevail over everything else.I Colin Falconer is not only an incredible author, but apparently an incredible researcher. Some, quite a few, typos, but you just don't Loved, loved, loved this book. Even though the end of Cleopatra was always in my mind, I still read this book voraciously. I couldn't put it down until I just passed out from lack of sleep. Any history buff or just a romantic soul will love this book and while reading it will wish and maybe pray for another ending. If only love could prevail over everything else.I Colin Falconer is not only an incredible author, but apparently an incredible researcher. Some, quite a few, typos, but you just don't care. You just keep devouring this book until it's sadly over!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mibao

    I LOVED this book. Historically accurate on many accounts, but still filled with enough excitement of a historical fiction. The book is divided into two parts mainly, first part is when Cleo marries Julius, and the second part when she is with Anthony. I learned a lot about egyptian history in this book! I love the way cleo was portrayed. She didn't love Julius, and she didn't love Anthony, the only thing she ever loved was Egypt.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle Holt

    Absolutely the finest book on Cleopatra and her Times that I have ever read. One learns that she only had two men in her life, Caesar and Marc Antony. She was devoted to her four children as a ruler. Falconer writes like a dream. Truthfully, I'd not read a novel by a man in years. Now, I'm hooked on Falconer and will seek out his other novels. Appeals to men as well as women what with the varied battles in between the romance.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gina Ferreyra

    Loved the story, but editing is terrible Loved the story, but editing is terrible. This is the third book Ive read by this author and cannot figure out why more care isnt taken in the editing of his books. I would be embarrassed! It detracts from the story but not enough for me to stop reading. Loved the story, but editing is terrible Loved the story, but editing is terrible. This is the third book I’ve read by this author and cannot figure out why more care isn’t taken in the editing of his books. I would be embarrassed! It detracts from the story but not enough for me to stop reading.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Gray

    well I consider myself a bit of an Egyptian buff and have read quite a few novels featuring Caesar, Cleopatra et al. This was a fairly average novel, in terms of pace and action, but I was impressed with the depiction of both Cleopatra and Antony. Cleopatra's wisdom over the years showed insight and Antony's debauchery was nothing short of shocking. Will look out for other novels by Falconer.

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