Fans of Gillian Bradshaw's classic The Beacon at Alexandria
may enjoy Selene
and find a promising new historical novelist who shares the same gift for wonderfully researched, vividly evoked, good old-fashioned storytelling.
--Historical Novel SocietyA brilliant tale that brings to life this fascinating era, complete with never-to-be-forgotten characters, unrequited love, and the desire of one woman to overcome adversity. Highly recommended
--History and Women
The white limestone walls of Alexandria once rose from the Mediterranean Sea like a beacon of light. The most intuitive people and the most amazing minds throughout history sat in Alexandria's famous libraries and museums, speaking to the crowds of people about the past, present and future, and making monumental discoveries that are still in use today. Ptolemy was one of the greats, as well as The Lady Philosopher, Hypatia.
In this book, we meet Selene, a young (fictional) character, who is being readied for a suitable marriage but wants nothing more than to become a physician. She shears off her hair and dresses as a boy to meet Hypatia. The Lady Philosopher sees in Selene parts of herself--the will, longing, and brilliance to help people--and becomes Selene's champion.
At this time, Cyril, the Patriarch of the Christian Church, does all in his power - through pain, prejudice, and tyranny - to terminate all other gods and goddesses. Selene becomes embroiled in an all out war, as she sees her beloved Alexandria fall down around her ears. For anyone who does not know the story of the fantastic Hypatia, I will omit some of the more fearsome facts about this time period--because, trust me, you will not be disappointed in her story. The woman was, and still remains, one of the most revered female philosophers in the world.
I am blown away and completely enthralled with Ms. Justice's work. For seventeen years she 'hit the books' and studied every piece of information that is available from this time period. The rioting factions of church versus state; the romance between children who have grown up in an unstable world--each piece of their lives has been studied and recorded with beauty, brilliance, and brutal honesty.
Run to the bookstore and buy this for yourself. This is a 'must-have' after-Christmas present for you readers. In these pages, you will walk down Canopic Street, sit in the shaded colonnades with geniuses, and stare at the bright painted statues carved into the limestone niches that line the fantastical world of ancient Alexandria. You will walk up the steps of the immense Pharos Lighthouse and stare off at the ships in the harbor. And, best of all, you will sit in that grand library and meet the most remarkable people from a time long past. What more could you want? --BookPleasures.com, December 26, 2009
From the Back Cover
Praise for Selene of Alexandria:
"A grand, epic tale told with engaging detail against a complex and compelling historical backdrop. Selene is a heroine worth celebrating." --Leanna Renee Hieber, Award-winning author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
Young, gifted, and strong-willed, Selene longs to rebel against the restrictions of her class to become a physician, But in AD 412, the women of rich Christian families never lower themselves to work in a profession.
Selene perseveres and gains a powerful champion--Hypatia, the renowned mathematician and Lady Philosopher of Alexandria. But the next three years are perilous. Selene and Hypatia are drawn into the heart of a struggle between the ambitious bishop and the new governor for the soul of the city--a struggle that enmeshes Selene in accusations of witchcraft and spirals into a series of bloody confrontations between Christians, pagans, and Jews.
Selene comes of age amidst riot, plague, and political intrigue; but will she survive the consequences of her own ambitions and impulsive nature?