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Pharaoh - Volume II of Kleopatra: 2 by [Essex, Karen]
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Pharaoh - Volume II of Kleopatra: 2 Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The second volume of Essex's Kleopatra series, which picks up as the 22-year-old queen of Egypt returns from exile in Rome, overflows with war, sex, political intrigue and the fruits of Essex's assiduous research on everything from ancient Egyptian religious ceremonies to traffic laws in Julius Caesar's Rome. Essex's Kleopatra is ruled by her lust for power. Everything she controls her body, her money is a tool with which to improve her position and that of her country. As she puts it, "In matters of state, let your blood run cold." She joins with Caesar, aligning Egypt with Rome, but when he's murdered, Kleopatra lays the groundwork for a similar association with Antony, to whom she is overwhelmingly attracted. Each of these alliances transcends its political motivation. Kleopatra loves both men, viewing Caesar as a mentor and Antony as a soul mate. Yet this love never clouds her self-promoting vision, making Essex's Kleopatra more than a simple seductress, as she is often portrayed. Indeed, the careful balance Essex strikes between Kleopatra's intimate emotional life and her statecraft makes this a satisfyingly nuanced and approachable portrait. As with its predecessor, the novel's rich language, attention to historical detail and fast-flowing action offer an invigorating read for those interested in ancient history or simply the thrills of battles and romance.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This stunning sequel to Kleopatra completes the story of one of the most celebrated, audacious, admired, and reviled women the world has ever known. History is always written by the victor, and so it was in the case of the political union among Kleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Antonius. Octavian, Kleopatra's most implacable enemy, much maligned her in his autobiographical papers, and the picture he painted of Kleopatra as ruthless, decadent, and self-indulgent has been passed down through the ages. Essex gives us a new image of the famous ruler, though even she claims in the author's notes that she may have been unkind to Octavian in an effort to balance the historical record. Nonetheless, in Pharaoh we see a queen who carefully and intelligently forges strong political and personal bonds to Rome through Julius Caesar prior to his assassination, then to Antony, Caesar's protege. The deep commitment she feels for these two men, her children, and her country is evident in every page right up to the final climactic moment of her tragic death. Though the plot occasionally bogs down in the morass of historical detail, readers will enjoy the vivid portrayal of Kleopatra and the period in which she lived. Recommended for larger public libraries. Jane Baird, Anchorage Municipal Libs., AK
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1537 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446530255
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (May 5, 2009)
  • Publication Date: May 30, 2009
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0028MM2OK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,096 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
PHARAOH is, in a word, breathtaking. In more than a word: barbaric, sensual, entrancing, romantic, tender and cruel, with a lusty cast of characters. Karen Essex presents her vision of the great queen of Egypt in this captivating novel rich in detail and, if anything, filled with more historical minutiae than the first volume, KLEOPATRA. It is a kaleidoscope of Roman and Greek trivia.
With a familiar cast of characters, including Cicero, Cato, Octavian, and of course, Marcus Brutus, comes a fresh slant on this timeless tragedy. Kleopatra is not painted as the philandering vixen of the movies. Her fabled charms surface in small ways throughout the story, but Ms. Essex focuses on Kleoptra's political cunning and war tactics in her efforts to forestall takeover by the greedy Roman empire.
PHARAOH continues the mystique of KLEOPATRA, published last year. It begins in the 20th year of Kleopatra's reign as she is trying to rejuvenate a listless Marc Antony. Within a few pages, we are back in the third year of her reign. We join her at age 22 as she returns from exile, devising a clever ploy to evade her brother's army and seduce her way into an alliance with the great Julius Caesar. The book tells her life story from then on and only occasionally do we get a sense of foreboding in the chapters that jump ahead to the 21st year of her rule.
I won't bore you with a synopsis of the plot, for the story has been told many times. We all know of the betrayal of Caesar and the disastrous end Antony and Kleopatra came to. Yet Ms. Essex managed to grip and hold onto my attention from the very first page.
The author's ability to mesmerize her audience is showcased in myriad scenes, one of the best being Ceasar's murder.
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Format: Hardcover
This is great second book in the Kleopatra series. Ms. Essex does a wonderful job bringing the thoughts, actions, and mystery of Kleopatra to life. The book begins with her concerns about Antony's depression and self-degredation after the battle at Actium. She well knows what brings him to life and has summoned the most beautiful harlots in the kingdom and rallies their support as though they were an army to bring him to his senses. Then the story jumps back to her beginnings with Caesar and jumps back to Antony again. The switch in story line is well placed and doesn't detract at all from the seamless flow of the book. A well written, in-depth story that keeps you turning pages and makes you feel like you are there experiencing it all along with each character. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is an arm-chair Egyptologist and enjoys the lives and tribulations of the ancients.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read Kleopatra Volume I, I had to read Kleopatra Vol II. Both were fascinating. Ms. Essex clearly has researched the time period and done an excellent job of filling in her idea of what is NOT known about Kleopatra along with what is historically corrrect in two compelling volumes. The first is about Kleopatra's childhood and girlhood, the second is about the time we are all most familiar with, her adulthood and actions as Pharaoh of Egypt. I would recommend these two volumes for anyone who is interested in the time period. I found the first volume most fascinating as I have seen very little about her family and family history which leads to her becoming Pharaoh. Clearly a large part of it is fiction - but fiction based on well researched information about the culture of Egypt and its friends and foes during that time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a different and fresh way to make this historic woman come alive. From the moment I started to read this book, I was walking with the Queen while she governed her people. No detail was too small to skip past and I went back time & time again to re-read passages. Like the first book, it is worth owning in hard cover.
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Format: Hardcover
Ok, so I have to admit I kind of liked this one. After I had read the first in the series (KLEOPATRA), I didn't hope for much. I was pleasantly surprised. Even though it seems as if a lot of events were crammed into PHARAOH's modest size (perhaps Essex should have included more history and less far-fetched bunk in the inferior KLEOPATRA????), it works. Kleopatra's relationships are beautifully crafted and I will admit that I fell for Antony as well! I wish that Essex would have paid more attention to Kleopatra's role as a mother as well, because when the children do pop up, it seems a bit random. Also, I was angry that Kleopatra's loyal servant Iras was turned into a cross-dressing eunuch-- I found that a bit hard to believe. Although I still- and probably always will- favor Margaret George's incomparable MEMOIRS OF CLEOPATRA, Karen Essex's PHARAOH was powerful, moving, and fluid in its own right. Read both and learn something.
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Format: Hardcover
Kleopatra as a clever und highly intelligent Queen, who wanted to keep her country independent from the Roman Empire. The prose is beautiful and the well known story convincingly told. The historical trivia is entertaining and keeps to the well accepted facts. For the history and the research she deserves 5 stars.

However, from the point of a reader of historic novels, I feel somewhat disappointed. The reason I bought this book (and the prequel "Kleopatra") was not to get a precise biography of the late Roman Republic. For this you might as well read good biographies, like that by Michael Grant. A historical novel should contain a bit more fiction, a bit more speculation, and a bit of controversy, which may not be approved by the history professor next door, but fits into the storyline or is expected by the reader. Somehow I got bored in the middle of this sequel, since I knew the history well and was not offered something "new" to keep me hooked. Minus 1 star.

Another point irritated me. You notice through most parts of the book, that it is written by a female American writer. The book is a women's book for a female audience. In both volumes you get just about a hint of sexuality at the beginning as a teaser, the violence is modest, the characters sometimes very politically correct. I accept the author's intention to describe Kleopatra in a different way than the wanton seducer of all men around her. This is historically correct and not my point. But Kleopatra was not a woman following Christian moral in a Hellenistic time half a century before the birth of Christ. For a book dealing with a time period of war, conquest, male dominance and brutality the setting is simply to sterile and clean to be convincing.
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