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Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel Hardcover – September 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moran's latest foray into the world of classical history (after The Heretic Queen) centers upon the children of Marc Antony and Cleopatra . After the death of their parents, twins Alexander and Selene and younger brother Ptolemy are in a dangerous position, left to the mercy of their father's greatest rival, Octavian Caesar. However, Caesar does not kill them as expected, but takes the trio to Rome to be paraded as part of his triumphant return and to demonstrate his solidified power. As the twins adapt to life in Rome in the inner circle of Caesar's family, they grow into adulthood ensconced in a web of secrecy, intrigue and constant danger. Told from Selene's perspective, the tale draws readers into the fascinating world of ancient Rome and into the court of Rome's first and most famous emperor. Deftly encompassing enough political history to provide context, Moran never clutters her narrative with extraneous facts. Readers may be frustrated that Selene is more observer than actor, despite the action taking place around her, but historical fiction enthusiasts will delight in this solid installment from a talented name in the genre. (Sept.)
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“The story I always wanted to read! If you love I, Claudius, you’ll love this book!”
—Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of The Memoirs of Cleopatra

“Michelle Moran has already made Ancient Egypt her own fictional domain. With this compelling novel of the legendary Cleopatra’s daughter, she now stakes a claim to Ancient Rome, too.”
—Sharon K. Penman, New York Times bestselling author of Devil’s Brood

Cleopatra’s Daughter is historical fiction at its finest. With her exquisite attention to detail and her beautifully crafted characters, Michelle Moran does not just visit the past–she resurrects it.”
—Deanna Raybourn, bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey series

“No one captures the immediacy and rich detail of the ancient world quite like Michelle Moran.”
—bestselling author Robin Maxwell

“From the tragic fall of Cleopatra’s Alexandria to the treacherous hills of imperial Rome, Michelle Moran spins a captivating tale of the daughter of Egypt’s most famous queen, a princess whose courageous determination to survive is as exciting and dramatic as the time in which she lived.”
—C. W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307409120
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307409126
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (404 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #889,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Michelle Moran was born in southern California. After attending Pomona College, she earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher, Michelle used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction. She is the international bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, Cleopatra's Daughter, Madame Tussaud, and The Second Empress. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages, and in 2011, her fourth book, Madame Tussaud, was optioned for a mini-series. Recently, Michelle was married in India, and it is no coincidence that her next two books will be set in the East.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By JLee VINE VOICE on August 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Cleopatra's Daughter tells the story of Cleopatra VII's children in the aftermath of the great queen's death. The viewpoint is that of the very likeable Cleopatra Selene, who, along with her twin brother Alexander Helios and younger brother Ptolemy, were the children of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.

The orphaned children are hauled off to Rome and into the home of Octavia, where Selene's life becomes entwined with some of the great figures of Ancient Rome, including Octavian, his wife Livia, his daughter Julia, and the future emperor Tiberius. The children dwell in uncertainty, never knowing if they will be allowed to live, or what their future hopes might be - - and I don't want to give away too much of what happens. But, remember, all those around Octavian had reason to be cautious, if not actually fearful.

An enthralling aspect of the book is how the author has carefully portrayed not only Ancient Rome itself, but also what is known of the personalities of these famous Romans. We meet a willful young Julia and a sinister young Tiberius, and we know exactly who they are and what they will be like when they grow up.

Almost all of the action takes place in Rome, so the book may be of more interest to those wanting to read about Rome than those wanting to read about Egypt.

A brief timeline and list of characters at the beginning of the book and a glossary at the end help those who may need a refresher in who's who and what's what.

There is a fictional subplot about the search for the leader of an underground anti-slavery movement that I sometimes found to be distracting.
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118 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Louise on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had high hopes for this book.

I've recently finished Colleen McCullough's Roman series and I was hungry for more. When I heard of a book that fills in the years between the battle of Actium and Robert Graves' "I Claudius", I eagerly snapped it up.

Unfortunately, this author has no business trying to enter the company of Graves and McCullough.

Many other reviewers here have already pointed out a number of inaccuracies in this book, as well as the superficiality of its characters. But that's simply bad writing. If that was the only problem, I wouldn't have bothered writing this review. But there's another problem with this book that I must speak up about.

The author draws Selene as if she's a teenager from Boston, who's never known anything but liberal politics. A modern American kid, who dozed off during history class the day they talked about Rome --100% clue-free about the ancient world.

Selene is shocked-I-tell-you-shocked! at how Rome treats its lower classes. Oh please.

Selene is the daughter of a Pharaoh, who essentially owned all of Egypt. So did all Egyptian slaves have health insurance and pension plans? She lived in the household of a head of state who went to war against Rome and her father was a Roman. How could she be so laughably ignorant about it when she arrives?

The historical Selene would have known *precisely* how severe the punishments would be for slaves attempting to assasinate a ruler, in Rome or out of it. Instead we get a time-travelling American teenager who thinks it's completely unfair to take away her iPod, let alone execute slaves. Oh the shock, the horror!

Enough. I can't read another page of this drivel. Done now.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By E. McKechnie on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Cleopatra's Daughter and am very disappointed. The book could have been so much better! Moran clearly did some research into Roman society but missed the boat on some basics of Roman culture, i.e. patrician women did not have individual names, they took the name of their clan, hence a daughter of the Antonii clan would be called Antonia. Multiple daughters would be named, Antonia Maior and Antonia Minor. There were other dicey historical bits but I won't list them here.

What really bugged me was the derivative plotline. She clearly read the Scarlet Pimpernel and transmuted him into the "Red Eagle" (a masked, patrician do-gooder who drives Octavian nuts) Could the Red Eagle be Marcellus? Or the Greek tutor? They seek him here, they seek him there, they seek that demmed Pimpernel everywhere!!!

Apart from Selene, the remaining characters are plaster cut-outs, lacking any dimension. Octavian is power-hungry. Livia is just a bitch. Octavia an earth-mother and Tiberius a supercilious jerk.

I've read I, Claudius, which is based on the writings of Suetonius, and there is a whole lot more to the family of Augustus than this story attempts. As juvenile fiction, it's below par. As ordinary fiction, you can find better. As historical fiction, go read Mary RenaultThe Bull from the Sea if you want well-researched, interesting, character driven stories about the ancient world!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Xoe Li Lu VINE VOICE on March 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Michelle Moran's third book is a fun little diversion that incorporates historical fact into a borderline soap operatic plot involving the surviving children of Cleopatra and Antony and their lives in Rome following the death of their parents and their subsequent capture by Octavian. Moran has enough self control to keep the storyline from veering off into absurdity, but at times I felt as if I was reading a Roman-era version of Gossip Girl, complete with spoiled, petulant princesses, irresponsible teenaged boys, and top-of-the-line conniving across the board. Moran's writing style has much improved, and was free of the repetitive word usage and annoying turns of phrase that plagued her last two efforts. As always, she definitely did her homework when it comes to Roman/Egyptian history, and she is adept at creating personae for historical characters. She adds a human quality to such well-known Roman figures as Octavian/Augustus, Octavia, Cleopatra Selene, Julia the Elder and Juba II. The book's subplot, which involves a mystery hero who attempts to incite a slave rebellion, is a little over-the-top, but Moran is able to rein things in just enough to keep the storyline from getting too ridiculous. The same is true for the book's conclusion - it's a little schmlatzy, but doesn't sink the whole story. In all, Moran's latest novel is a fine addition to her other two Egypt-based books. The humanizing elements she's added to her characters gives the book a light feeling and adds to the excitement generated by the subplot. It's a lot of fun - perfect summer reading!
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