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Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel | [Michelle Moran]

Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel

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 vengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two---the 10-year-old twins Selene and Alexander---survive the journey.
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Publisher's 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 vengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two---the 10-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 those times.

©2009 Michelle Moran; (P)2009 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Dramatic, engrossing, and beautifully written." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (338 )
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4.1 (173 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Annette 12-23-09
    Annette 12-23-09

    I'm trying to wean myself and learn to function without earbuds for more than ten minutes at a time. It hasn't been easy. I lose balance...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A pretty engaging story"

    I like a good story. This one has a bit of everything, war, history, romance, royalty, slavery - so in a world of dissapointing stories lately, i give it a good solid B plus. The main character is likable,the narration is easy on the ears and the story does hold you. I don't think i'll relisten to it over and over or anything, but it was a good read. Which is saying a lot more than it sounds.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Cotati, CA, United States 04-17-11
    Kelly Cotati, CA, United States 04-17-11
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    "Not the Greatest..."

    I expected this book to be a lot more dramatic. Instead it's just the story of a girl who grows up in the palaces of Rome. I found the characters hard to follow and the plot really slow. It did get more interesting towards the end, but it's a lot to get through. It was interesting enough to finish, and the factual evidence in the end made the story worth reading.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Massachusetts 03-07-11
    Carol Massachusetts 03-07-11 Member Since 2010

    Good writing has ... a balance and a rhythm. You can feel that much better when it's read aloud. --Laura Hillenbrand, author of Unbroken

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No characters, less history"

    I was surprised by the number of good reviews this book has gotten. It's at best mediocre writing, with zero character development and no sense of even taking place in another era, much less historical accuracy. I wish I had seen the Amazon review that likened the title character (who tells the story) to a high school girl from modern Boston who fell asleep in history class the day they covered the Roman empire. Wanda McCaddon is a pro whose audio work I've previously enjoyed, but here her narration captures Selena perfectly--that is, it's annoying. Save your credit.

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiffany Corona, CA, United States 03-14-11
    Tiffany Corona, CA, United States 03-14-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Enjoyable and Light"

    I liked the ending, but the story kind of meandered and it took forever to get there. Light and pretty good, but nothing spectatular. Good for a boring commute.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 07-26-11
    Diane 07-26-11
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    "starts slow but finishes good"

    Well,I started this one time and quit about 45 minutes in and then went back to it recently to give it a second chance. It takes a while to get into. It is not an Egyptian story. It's the story of Cleopatra's children when they are taken to Rome by Octavian. Good detail, interesting story, several plot points added that are fabricated but good addition. Wraps up nice and the afterward has good historical detail tying it all together.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yoshi Yoshitani 06-19-14
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    "Interesting Slices, Lacking full Arc"

    Michelle Moran has certainly done some research, and she integrates her bits of found historical knowledge into this story. However, this story lacks a real arc, feeling of purpose, or fulfilling conclusion.

    I found the whole novel rather depressing, without an ounce of hope. While I found many of the ideas interesting, and a much different angle on Roman culture than I've ever experienced before (slave vs. freeman vs. citizen structure was really interesting) as a story I found this really lacking.

    If you are interested in coming of age historical fiction, I actually quite enjoy Michelle Moran's Heretic Queen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BookWorm620 Phoenix, AZ, United States 05-26-14
    BookWorm620 Phoenix, AZ, United States 05-26-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Enjoyable story. Excellent Narration"

    I have heard a million different versions of Anthony and Cleopatra, and this is the first offering I have ever heard of that features their children that survived them. It is very well done. Not a crafted epic, but an enjoyable story with a very good narrator.

    If you listen to it, you will probably think the author is taking a lot of license with the facts but she was very accurate and gives an epilogue at the end that explains the few details that were changed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha Minnetonka, MN 02-05-13
    Samantha Minnetonka, MN 02-05-13 Member Since 2010

    Love to listen to historical fiction, paranormal, romance, and general fiction while commuting. Audiobooks help make the drive bearable!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Learned a lot while on a road trip"
    What made the experience of listening to Cleopatra's Daughter the most enjoyable?

    I listened to this book on a cross country road trip with my sister-in-law, and I loved chatting about different cultural aspects the book covered. The age at which a child becomes an adult in this time period is much younger than now, and we found that royal/noble children were forced to grow up even more quickly. The book does a nice job of highlighting this coming of age.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Juba! His character is much more complex than I originally thought.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I think I needed time to process each section of the book - the material was fairly dense and we sometimes had to jog our memories to recall who a specific character was. I think if we had listened to it in one sitting, the characters would have jumbled together.


    Any additional comments?

    This novel covers quite a few deep themes: slavery, class, conquest over an enemy, love, teenage pregnancy, and more - it does rush through some of them, but overall does a nice job tackling these big topics.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel S. Palter Pelican Rapids MN 04-29-12
    Daniel S. Palter Pelican Rapids MN 04-29-12 Member Since 2008

    Scott Palter

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    "Caught in a web of politics and power."

    I've listened and read to the previous two Egyptian books that Ms. Moran had written, and had high hopes for Cleopatra's Daughter. Ms. Moran didn't disappoint.

    Following the story of Cleopatra Selene - starting only a day or so before the death of her parents - the tale follows through her time in Rome until her marriage. From the start Selene's life is one at risk, as is that of her twin brother. Caught in the middle of the political games of Octavian, neither twin knows how long they will be in Rome, if they will die, or what will eventually become of them.

    A beautifully written story, and as an audio book it worked very well indeed. The narrator kept the feel of the story and didn't distract from it at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darla Grants Pass, OR, United States 02-16-12
    Darla Grants Pass, OR, United States 02-16-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Good history"
    If you could sum up Cleopatra's Daughter in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting history lesson


    Would you be willing to try another book from Michelle Moran? Why or why not?

    Not sure


    Have you listened to any of Wanda McCaddon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    she was good, not sure if I remember any other of her performances


    If you could take any character from Cleopatra's Daughter out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The man the daughter ended up marrying. He was a very interesting man.


    Any additional comments?

    This story just never grabbed me, the characters were not developed enough but the history I learned from the book was terrific. So I guess I would say, if this time in history is interesting to you, you should read the book. I hope this helps, I read this as a book for my book group and someone said the book was written for young readers which could be why it just didn't have what I would call depth.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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