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Cleopatra's Shadows (A Fall of Egypt Novel) Kindle Edition
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"The rich, exotic world created by Emily Holleman in her debut novel,CLEOPATRA'S SHADOWS, is mesmerizing. Intrigue, betrayal and the near-destruction of a dynasty follow in the footsteps of Cleopatra's little-known, but ambitious sisters, Arsinoe and Berenice. A perfect marriage of dedicated research and passionately inventive story telling."―Kathleen Kent, author of The Outcasts
"Women have, throughout history, been secondary-often recorded (if at all) as complementary, or as muse to man's genius. But now, as modern societies are re-appraising the value of women, so too are books evolving to match. Readers are pulled into worlds previously closed off-full of tenacity, adventure, and scandal-page-turning, yes, but real.Cleopatra's Shadows reimagines Cleopatra's history through the perspective of her younger sister Arsinoe. We want these stories more than ever."―Meredith Turits, Vanity Fair
"Holleman artfully depicts real women of the ancient world, who used their own wits and wiles to maneuver among the most brilliant men of their age.... A triumphantly fresh tale for historians and casual fans alike."―Carly Silver, ancienthistory.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B00T3E78WM
- Publisher : Little, Brown and Company (October 6, 2015)
- Publication date : October 6, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 2635 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 353 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #742,078 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is a story of Cleopatra's two sisters: Arsinoe ("younger") and Berenice ("elder'). The story begins when Berenice overthrows her father's kingdom and then spins the tale of the aftermath of this coup. Holleman brings to life not just the lead characters - the two sisters - but the various Eunuchs and advisors and even friends who cross these sisters' paths.
Often when a book is told from more than one point of view, you find yourself liking one voice better, or at least eagerly awaiting the sections told from that voice's point of view. The magic of this novel is that I actually found myself a little sad when each section ended, whether it was the elder or younger's voice. At first I favored one sister, then the other....and ultimately Holleman does an excellent job of making both characters not just likable but human and flawed enough to care about their futures. Through careful word choice, much research and an eye for detail, Holleman manages to have each side of the story bring forth its own twists, its own unraveling, its own shadows.
A more subtle brilliance of this book is that it made me want to learn more about a time period about whichI knew (and frankly cared) very little. For a non-historical fiction kind of gal, that is saying a lot.
Finally, I must disagree with the reviewer who claims that the title of this book is misleading as it suggests the book is about Cleopatra herself (which it is not). Personally, I found the title to be a spot-on summary of what is to come in the book itself: Mystery, a little-known supporting cast and ultimately the shadowy story behind the more well-known sister's rise.
Her telling of an empire we think we know from two unique viewpoints is an entertaining read, rich in history and intrigue. I could not put it down. Set in Egypt before Cleopatra’s rule, Holleman tells the story of Cleopatra’s little sister and her step-sister, both who are neglected by their father. I won’t share more because I don’t want to spoil the story but I highly recommend this book.
Top reviews from other countries
I was fully captivated by this book and was barely able to put it down, I have always loved Ancient Egypt as a child and was excited to pick this up. I will say that the title is simultaneously misleading and accurate. It makes the reader believe that there is going to be more of Cleopatra in this book than there is. It is, however, accurate in saying that we are focusing on her sisters that history has overlooked.
The two points of view were, in my opinion, handled incredibly well. Just as I was starting to tire of one girls story and may have possibly taken a break and set the book down the POV was switched to the other sister and I was drawn straight back into the story! The plot was never quite secure enough for me to know what was going on and this kept me on my toes and meant that I was constantly surprised by what was going on.
Through the younger sister Arsinoe we got to learn a little more about Cleopatra as a child, about how Arsinoe was ignored and overlooked, and also about how her education would have been handled and what it was like to be a female child in the royal family. Through the older half-sister Berenice we learn more about how power functioned in the ancient world and about the lack of power women were perceived to have. They are both incredibly strong women and I appreciated how they bounced off of each other.
In terms of accuracy, Emily Holleman states at the end of the book that this story was based on the fragments of knowledge that have been discovered about these two women. So although it is obviously fictionalised the setting itself is as accurate as possible. I always love when fiction works do this because as well as getting a feel for a story you get to learn at the same time! (I’m a massive nerd and I’m happy with it hahaha)
The novel takes the structure of the eldest and the youngest daughters version of events - a chapter per daughter .
I liked the take on the time period - but oddly found it strange that as this was during the Ptolemy ruling there would of been Egyptians worshipping Egyptian gods and not Zeus etc- there was no reference to the Egyptian faith at all throughout the book only the gods left by Alexander the Great. I think it might of been more true to history to reflect the struggle at the time of those rulers to encompass he Egyptians in their Ptolemy bubble.
Otherwise average .
Would recommend to anyone who loves fiction centred around Egyptian culture, especially the Ptolemies