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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 (351 )
5 star
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4.0 (190 )
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4.1 (186 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kelly Cotati, CA, United States 04-17-11
    Kelly Cotati, CA, United States 04-17-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Massachusetts 03-07-11
    Carol Massachusetts 03-07-11

    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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    Overall
    "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 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    37
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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
  •  
    Yoshi Yoshitani 06-19-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samantha Minnetonka, MN 02-05-13
    Samantha Minnetonka, MN 02-05-13 Member Since 2011

    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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    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jess Calgary, Alberta, Canada 02-11-12
    Jess Calgary, Alberta, Canada 02-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow and unengaging"

    I'm usually a fan of historical fiction, but I didn't enjoy this book. I don't really mind a slow paced story as long as it's interesting, and unfortunately this book was not - it was just bore. I also felt that at times the narrator made the main character overly whiney, which I found made her even less engaging.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 07-26-11
    Diane 07-26-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Andrea 06-17-13
    Andrea 06-17-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "LOVED the book, narrator is another story."
    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was very difficult to understand until about 2 hours in when I got used to her voice and accent. My first impression was that I was listening to a cross between Margaret Thatcher and Mrs. Doubtfire and I was unsure that I would be able to get through the book. HAVING said that, I did get used to her voice but the narrator of Michelle Moran's other books Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen had an amazing airy delivery that I would have preferred for this book as well.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BookWorm620 Phoenix, AZ, United States 05-26-14
    BookWorm620 Phoenix, AZ, United States 05-26-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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

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