Thursday, December 10, 2009

62. THE MEMOIRS OF CLEOPATRA - Margaret George


After reading Margaret George's novel about Mary, Queen of Scots, I knew that I wanted to try another one of her historical books. The Memoirs of Cleopatra did not disappoint.

Julius Caesar and Marc Antony are two of ancient Rome's greatest figures, and both became the lovers (and husbands - with a question mark?) of Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt and the Nile. Most of my prior information about her involved Marc Antony (Shakespeare, the film with Liz Taylor), as well as her infamous death. However, this book is so meticulously researched that every lush, decadent detail about both the queen and her realm pulls the reader into the story.

From her childhood - the rebellion of her sisters to hold the throne over her father - through the many battles against Rome, I thought this was a historical fiction dreamland. The romantic elements involving her loves, Caesar and Antony, brought a warmth to an otherwise formidable figure on the page.

Topping 900 pages, it is a challenge for the most devoted reader. If you like historical novels, though, and especially enjoy learning new information (such cities! what characters and leaders!), you will be engulfed by this book for many wintry nights.

4.0 out of 5.0 Caesars.

7 comments:

Jen K said...

I loved this book - I've also read McCullough's Masters of Rome series, and her completely different interpretation of Cleopatra was hard for me to take at times after how much I loved this version of her. I'm glad you gave Margaret George another change since you weren't impressed with the last part of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Kristin Dodge said...

Jen... I'll be reading "Helen of Troy" by Margaret George over the holiday break. The mythology fascinates me.

Jen K said...

I read that one as well but I don't remember being particularly blown away by it. I was also kind of disappointed with Atwood's treatment of the myth in The Penelopiad. One of the books about Helen and Troy that I remember enjoying a lot was actually by Marion Zimmer Bradley, but that was a very long time ago, and I was easily impressed in junior high school. Still, now that you've made me think of it, it might be worth revisiting. I think it's called The Firebrand.

Jinx said...

I loved Margaret George's interpretation of Cleopatra. In fact, her Helen of Troy book is currently in my TBR file and has been for a while.
I think you've just inspired me to bump it to the top of the pile.

Kristin Dodge said...

Jen K - remind me of that in January. ;-)

Jinx, let's do a read-a-long on our blogs. I can start it next week... you interested?

Jinx said...

Nothing like being late!
I went on vacation and didn't follow up on any blogs.
I'd love to do a read-a-long, if I'm not too late.
I can start whenever!

Kristin Dodge said...

Jinx... I just finished it, but I am interested in your opinion, too.