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Selene of Alexandria Paperback – November 24, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601458134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601458131
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,689,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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 Society

A 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?


More About the Author

Faith L. Justice writes award-winning novels, short stories and articles published in venues such as Salon.com, Writer's Digest, and The Copperfield Review. A varied life provides the staples for Faith's stories. Day jobs included lifeguard, paralegal, computer systems analyst, human resources executive, college professor, and freelance writer. Travel and research provides the spice. She haunted the leading museums of Europe, tramped the streets of ancient ruins, and volunteered at archaeological sites. Currently, Faith writes in her historic home "The Suffragette House" in Brooklyn, New York where she lives with her family and cats. Sample her stories and books, check out her blog, find out where she travels next, or ask Faith a question at her website: www.faithljustice.com.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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And there were a few times in the book I teared up because I was so into the story.
Amanda Toth
I highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction (and to readers who aren't history buffs, but want to learn about history in an entertaining way!)
Joyce M. Gilmour
The author takes a while to set up the characters and story, but then there's several central characters and a complex plot.
SusieBookworm (Susanna P)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
"As she grew from a child to a young woman, Selene realized death was inexorable, but the urge to become a physician strengthened," writes Faith L. Justice in her historical novel, Selene of Alexandria. "Selene knew the main obstacle to her ambition was her father. No upper class man would willingly allow his daughter to engage in any profession."

Selene of Alexandria is pure fiction magic. Loosely basing her book on the life and times of feminist icon and philosopher Hypatia, Justice has created an enthralling story of a young, upper-class girl who wants nothing more than to become a physician. She must gain the sponsorship of the famous philosopher Hypatia to convince her father to let her study. Upper-class women didn't enter the professions; they became wives and mothers. Selene struggles not only against stereotypes, but also against the Christian city leaders. She is accused of witchcraft for practicing medicine, and her life is on the line. Can Selene overcome all obstacles to become one of the rare female physicians in Alexandria...and live to tell about it?

I couldn't put this book down. I love the way Justice mixed historic facts with her fictional character's lives, dreams, loves, and aspirations. I truly felt for Selene and rooted for her along the way. I fell in love with Orestes right alongside her, and hoped that their feelings would blossom into much more. I felt horror at the historically-accurate details of Christian persecution in Alexandria. Selene of Alexandria made me laugh and cry, hope and despair. I can't wait to see what else Faith L. Justice has in store for us.

by Jennifer Melville
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has everything... It was such a great story.

I LOVED Selene, she was such a great character. I'm really finding it hard to describe her. There were times when she was so strong, emotionally, and yet other times when she would let her emotions take over. She was so strong-willed and yet still understood her place in her world and did as she was supposed to do. I guess the best way I can think to describe her would be, she was a real woman.

I was very attached to Selene. She was just so real. While the story focused around Selene there were so many other things that were going on around her. Even when the story didn't focus on Selene she always managed to get herself right there in the middle of what was going on. There were times when I wanted to knock some sense into her, but I knew that she could handle whatever situations she was placed in.

The ending was great. While not everyone had a happy ending it was very realistic. There were a few unexpected twists that really added to the tension of the story, but they made for great reading.

The story was so great, it had everything. It was exciting, endearing, suspenseful, and emotional. There was a very tense felling around everything. The fight for power in the city, the fight for Selene to get what she wanted out of life, the fight of religion in the city. Everything was marked with tension.

This one did take me a while to read. I spent many hours with Selene, Hypatia, Phillip, Rebecca, and Orestes. I'm not sure why it took so long for me to read it, as it was a fairly fast-paced story.

Despite the time it took me to finish it was well worth the read. It was beautifully written, it was an intelligent story, and it was easy to escape into Selene's world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James McCarron on May 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Selene of Alexandria", by Faith L. Justice, is an historical novel set in Alexandria during the fifth century. It concerns a young woman named Selene who wishes to defy her sex and her class by becoming a physician. With some effort, she eventually obtains her father's blessing and the support of another key character, Hypatia, the mathematician and philosopher who lived during this time. The book describes her efforts to achieve her dream of practising medicine, and her adventures as she interacts with various prominent historical characters of the period.

The premise of this book is a clever and effective one. Although it purports to tell the story of the fictional character Selene, the book is really about the historical characters around Hypatia. That is, the author uses the fictional Selene as a device to relate, in dramatic form, the story of Hypatia. The writing is good, and the characters are well developed and interesting. The character of Selene is made to be very likeable, if a bit unrealistically virtuous.

I give this book very high marks for historical fidelity. Among the many fictional works that chronicle the life and, mainly, the death of Hypatia, this one seem to stray the least from the known facts of Hypatias life (few though they be). While any work of fiction concerning the life of Hypatia must employ considerable interpolation, this book seems to have taken a fairly balanced view of events as we understand them. There is no obvious agenda here, as is so clearly the case in most other such works, other than the desire to relate a fascinating story. The use of the fictional character of Selene to effect this goal is successful and results in a very good story.

I particularly liked the portrayal of Orestes and Cyril in this book.
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