Top positive review
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Another keeper by Bradshaw
on May 24, 2002
Gillian Bradshaw is one of the few authors whose works I'll purchase, sight unseen, in hardcover. This book does not disappoint-- returning to the world of Classical Antiquity after last year's detour to 11th-century Brittany (The Wolf Hunt), Bradshaw delivers another compelling novel filled with vivid historical detail, beautiful writing, and sympathetic characters.
The "editorial reviews" on this site give a neat encapsulation of this book's premise: what if Caesarion, son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, had managed to escape the Roman assassination attempt that apparently claimed the life of the historical Caesarion?
The book opens with a wounded Caesarion waking from a coma after his camp is attacked by a Roman century. He's on a funeral pyre, surrounded by his dead bodyguards... and I was hooked.
What followed was a wonderful adventure of how a spoiled but unloved youth, despised his entire life for his epilepsy, loses everything-- but finds love, respect, and purpose among the lower-class Egyptians who rescue him and offer him a new life. Of course, his past is bound to catch up with him, sooner or later...
Loved the characters-- Ani, the linen producer determined to make it as a merchant; his daughter Melanthe; and, of course, Caesarion. And I aalso enjoyed the depiction of late-Hellenistic Egyptian society, where the conquering Greeks have long formed the elite classes, and where the native Egyptians are discriminated against on almost every level.
If you're looking for a great read set in an interesting historical period, check out Cleopatra's Heir.