Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Received from author for review
"The death of Cleopatra was only the beginning...
Follows the incredible life of Cleopatra's surviving children with Marc Antony -- twins, named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, and a younger son named Ptolemy. All three were taken to Rome and paraded through the streets, then sent off to be raised by Octavia (the wife whom Marc Antony left for Cleopatra). Raised in one of the most fascinating courts of all time, Cleopatra's children would have met Ovid, Seneca, Vitruvius (who inspired the Vitruvian man), Agrippa (who built the Pantheon), Herod, his sister Salome, the poets Virgil, Horace, Maecenas and so many others!"
The story of Cleopatra is a story that almost everyone knows – the story of what happened to her children after her death is one few know. Michelle Moran tells an instantly engrossing story that sucks you in to the world of Rome during the reign of Octavian. As Selene and Alexander try to navigate their way through this new world, full of intrigue and fear, the reader is treated to an experience of a lifetime.
Selene and Alexander are taken to Rome to live with Octavian’s sister after Cleopatra and Mark Antony commit suicide. Here they are treated as members of the royal family but are always questioning what will happen to them. The twins are immersed into a completely different culture, and despite being very well educated, this world is very different from the life they left behind in Egypt. The nice thing about this, as a reader, is that coming into this book not knowing too much about daily life in Rome you get to explore it though their eyes and learn about the culture just as the kids would.
Knowing from the day they were taken to Rome that their 15th birthday would be an important life changing event, the age when marriages would be arranged for them, the children look toward this day with apprehension. Would they marry well, or would Octavian take out his conquest on them by arranging a terrible marriage? Would any harm come to them – as it could be a hazard to have children of Cleopatra and Mark Antony that could become a rallying point for those opposed to Octavian? Would they ever get to go back home and take the place they rightfully deserve? They would just have to wait and see…
Michelle Moran again creates a wonderful world that you cannot remove yourself from once you start reading – it will engrain itself in your mind and you will think about it even when you are not reading. The characters are very true to the historical way they are thought to be. Reading the descriptions of events that really took place it is so unbelievable that it really happened this way and is not just a creation of the author. These are some of the best stories! I really loved the character of Selene – she is just the right amount of trusting and reserved – she stays true to who she is, even in a very different culture. I also really loved the use of Latin and period appropriate vocabulary used. I have never studied Latin – but I have a good enough handle on Latin root words that I could easily discern what they were talking about (and if not, there is a glossary at the back of the book). It made the story that much more realistic – people were talking more of the way they would.
I can tell you that I really never saw the ending coming – and interestingly I had done some of my own research and never put the pieces together within the story. The ending has quite a full circle feel to it and is definitely worth the wait.
Michelle Moran receives my highest praise for this one and I can’t wait for the next.
Check out the book trailer - very dramatic music!
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You can enter my current giveaway for a copy of the book and an authentic roman coin here. The winner will be posted October 18th. This Giveaway Is Closed!