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Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel Paperback – July 13, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 428 customer reviews

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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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Review

“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


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307409139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307409133
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (428 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
I was fooled by the promos for this book.

I had no idea it was a YA novel. Not advertised as such, and the first few pages of war, death, parental suicide etc. seem a bit much for a young adult to read, even under the guise of 'historical fiction'. However, the YA slant quickly became clear when the book degenerated to Valley Girl teenage angst, makeup sessions, and shopping parties in ancient Rome.

Likewise I was misled by the back cover comments about 'meticulous research' for this book. Wrongo! My background in Classics is basic, but even I found numerous glaring historical and social errors throughout. Girls and boys in ancient Rome didn't 'go to school' together. Upper class girls rarely had any formal schooling beyond the basics, as the attitude was that they should stick to learning how to run a household and anything else was beyond them. Brothers and sisters were not allowed to share sleeping quarters as teens, and indeed they lead pretty separate lives long before age 10, as did Roman men and women. Both sexes dining together was right out for adults, though exceptions might be made for Caesar's family and younger children. These are just the minor gripes.

The major ones are that the book reads like a pack of present-day mall-rat teenagers were somehow transplanted into ancient Rome. Also I disliked the "Red Eagle' subplot, not just because it is complete fiction, but because it is clumsy, hackneyed, and totally unnecessary. Also there were major political and historical gaffes too numerous to go into here. This is a great pity, because this author has a lot of writing talent. Too bad she doesn't write what she knows.

Call this a Roman / Egyptian novel if you must, but label it for what it is, young adult romance fiction.
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