Cleopatra's Daughter: Book summary and reviews of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Cleopatra's Daughter

by Michelle Moran

Cleopatra's Daughter
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2009
    448 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony's revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander – survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian's sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian's family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra's Daughter. Recounted in Selene's youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian's kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian's handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia's sardonic son and Marcellus's great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian's watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.

Selene's narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.

Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Dramatic, engrossing, and beautifully written, this is essential reading, and Moran is definitely an author to watch." - Library Journal

"Readers may be frustrated that Selene is more observer than actor...but historical fiction enthusiasts will delight in this solid installment from a talented name in the genre." - Publishers Weekly

"For those who think that ancient history is dull, this is a great way to explore the world of the ancients and to connect through the lives of teenagers who, even though they lived thousands of years ago, have the same desires and interests of today's youth." - School Library Journal (Adult Books for High Schoolers)

"Michelle Moran has already made Ancient Egypt her own fictional domain. With this compelling novel of the legendary Cleopatra's daughter, she now stakes a claim to Ancient Rome, too." - Sharon K. Penman, New York Times bestselling author of Devil's Brood

"Cleopatra's Daughter is historical fiction at its finest. With her exquisite attention to detail and her beautifully crafted characters, Michelle Moran does not just visit the past – she resurrects it." - Deanna Raybourn, bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey series

"No one captures the immediacy and rich detail of the ancient world quite like Michelle Moran." - bestselling author Robin Maxwell

"From the tragic fall of Cleopatra's Alexandria to the treacherous hills of imperial Rome, Michelle Moran spins a captivating tale of the daughter of Egypt's most famous queen, a princess whose courageous determination to survive is as exciting and dramatic as the time in which she lived." - C. W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen

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Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Shania

Cleopatra's Daughter
I adored this book. While I didn't like the outcome for some characters by the end, I understand that's how it had to be, doesn't mean I like or agree, which I don't.
Aside from that, this book was extremely factual and insightful into what life was like in this time period.

I love the love story presented, even though I do feel like there was a lack of scenes between Selene and her eventual lover, but I still absolutely adore their story.

This book is a huge must read for anyone interested in history.

Jodie A. (Corpus Christi, TX)

Cleopatra's Daughter
I loved this book! It was entertaining and educational. I really enjoyed her explanations of the Roman words and customs. The characters were very interesting. I did not want to put it down!

Sheila D. (Brainerd, MN)

One of the must reads yet this year!
Michelle Moran has written a book that has left me with that feeling I have when I know I have read something wonderful. Well written… I entered at the point that Cleopatra and Marc Anthony are taking their own lives in order to resist captivity and learn of their three children who are left in the enemies hands. Three children, I am ashamed to say, that I did not know existed until this book.

And from that point on I am feasting on pages filled with the adventures of Alexander and Selene… historical fiction at a very fine level. I am in awe of the twins voices… as they speak I had to remind myself again and again of their age. The voices to me seamed older but I forget how much faster children grew up then. While they were 11, they spoke as though they were 15 or 16…

Vivid characters – I appreciated the list of who they were in the front of the book and I used that a lot as I became used to so any new names coming in at once, Octavian (Emperor and keeper of the children once he conquered their home), Octavia, his sister – a gentle soul who I grew to like. And so many more from the handsome Marcellus, to the puzzling Julia who drove me nuts, then I felt bad for her, then I was mad again… and oh – you have to love the characters that make you FEEL.

I adored this book. This is the first of Michelle’s work that I have read and I am ready for more. A fantastic read that I highly recommend to history lovers and historical fiction loves alike.

Cheryl D. (Angola, NY)

Enjoyable historical novel
I find this an interesting era of history, but it is one I know little about. Michelle Moran managed to bring the characters alive for me and sent me to various reference books to do further research. I am aware that conversations and even actions are based on fact but often contain a great deal of conjecture. Moran makes things appear true. I can accept them as being real and that makes this an enjoyable and satisfying read.

Elizabeth H. (Walnut Creek, CA)

Cleopatra's Daughter
Once again, as in Nefertiti, Michelle Moran brings ancient history to life. This story is told by Selene, Cleopatra's daughter. It starts with the defeat of Marc Antony's army in Egypt, and takes us to Rome where Selene and her brother Alexander are taken as captives. The culture of Rome at that time is brought vividly to life. Through Selene's eyes, we see what it was like to be a young person growing up in the household of Octavia, Octavian's sister. It was a time of danger and intrigue. I couldn't put this book down.

Maggie P. (Redmond, WA)

Historical fiction at it's finest
Michelle Moran is a very clever writer. Her use in this book of a first person point of view gives the reader a more intimate feel of the story. I would recommend this book to any one. The book has just enough history to keep it interesting and not bore you with too much information. Michelle Moran did a great job writing the book and I know you'll enjoy it.

...12 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Michelle Moran Author Biography

Michelle Moran was born in the San Fernando Valley, CA. She took an interest in writing from an early age, purchasing Writer's Market and submitting her stories and novellas to publishers from the time she was twelve. When she was accepted into Pomona College she took as many classes as possible in British Literature, particularly Milton, Chaucer, and the Bard. Not surprisingly, she majored in English while she was there. Following a summer in Israel where she worked as a volunteer archaeologist, she earned an MA from the Claremont Graduate University.

Michelle has traveled around the world, from Zimbabwe to India, and her experiences at archaeological sites were what inspired her to write historical fiction. She is the international bestselling author of Nefertiti, The Heretic Queen, ...

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Michelle Moran: mo-RAN

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