©1997 Margaret George; (P)1998 Books on Tape
"A thrilling story...[Cleopatra's] 'memoirs' are vivid and enthralling. Read them." (Washington Post)
"Readers looking to be transported to another place and time will find their magic carpet here." (Publishers Weekly)
"An extremely detailed historical novel....this accurate re-creation of a vastly interesting time and place will not disappoint." (Booklist)
Let's face it, history can be boring. Not so this account of the life of Cleopatra. Sure, I get all the names confused, and at times I found myself referring to a map to see where everything was happening, but listening to this account for a couple of hours each day on my ride to work I felt like I was spending time with an intimate friend. The author has a marvelous way of mixing historic accounts with a touch of a harlaquine romance (we are talking about Cleopatra.) By the time I was through with this story I felt I knew not only Cleopatra, but the whole cast of charecters in a new and unique way. Well done!
This is a wonderful story with historical references. If you are a history buff and also enjoy good fiction, this is a truly captivating story. One of the greatest story's ever told, and told again and again. I truly enjoyed this version.
Don't let other reviewers' impressions of the narrators' voices put you off. This is a powerful story told from a unique perspective, and is not to be missed. If you're interested in ancient Egyptian culture, you won't be disappointed. If you're interested in intimate details of daily life - fashion, style, design, entertaining and religion - you won't be sorry.
I have read all of Margaret George's books and lately have been revisiting them through audio.com and this story is even more thrilling than the read.
Classic Margaret George!! This novel was fascinating and bursting with knowledge of the period and places! Riveting right until the very end!
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
Margaret George did a masterful job of research and storytelling, giving the reader a front row seat into history. However, it came off too much like a Danielle Steele romance novel. Cleopatra was supposed to be hightly intelligent, speaking 12 languages, and one of the great female rulers. Yet here we are led to believe that she was the equivalent of a "B.C. video vixen", dating only "Roman rock stars", becoming the "first #1 baby-mama" with several "baby daddies" who gave her "booty calls" but no wedding rings. She dated married men, left her children while she went "on the road" behind Julius Caesar and Marc Antony like a "band wife", leaving Egypt to be run by employees and eunuchs. George does give the reader fabulous in-depth descriptions of the characters and locations. I thought it to be such a definitive account of that time in history that I invested in a hard copy version to fully appreciate the names and places put forth here. If you are interested in a good read about Egypt, Rome, the mighty Nile River, Caesar, Antony, Octavian, Marcus Agrippa, Fulvia, Cornelia, and the Kandake of Meroe, to name a very few, in addition to the battles and technology of the time, this is the book for you. But if this is truly what Cleopatra was about, then we've been fooled all of this time. Here she is an indifferent ruler, a bit loose with her virtue (rolling out of a rug for a roll in the hay with J.C. on their first meeting is trifling), and a very negligent mother - putting the men in her life before the welfare of her children and her people. I was very impressed with Margaret George's dedication to this subject and I loved the book. But it left me very, very disappointed in Cleopatra as a woman and a queen. Marge, you turned Cleo into margarine! Fabio should have graced the cover as Marc Antony. Now I ain't saying she was a gold digger, but......
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
As Cleopatra herself states within this book, people love an elemental story. What could be more elemental than love, ambition, and power?
I read this book in paper form years ago, and it's a treat to go through it again in audio. The narrator, Donada Peters, sounded familiar to me, and a quick search revealed that I had heard her previously through other pseudonyms, chief amongst them Nadia May. She has an authoritative voice for the historical narratives I've heard her perform, and while she seemed a bit of an odd choice at first for the voice of Egypt's last queen, she quickly won me over for all of the characters. That's important for a story of this scale where character is chief amongst the attributes needed to pull it off.
Margaret George's works never cease to impress me. As an historian, her works are meticulously researched to ensure the known facts are present within the tale. As a storyteller, her pacing is just fast enough to keep things moving, but it's slow and languid enough to really build the details of character and setting. As I said, character is chief amongst the attributes needed to pull off a story like this, and this is where the author's skills truly excel. By the end of this book, you feel like you have spent some quality time with not only Cleopatra, but with Caesar, Antony, and many of the secondary and tertiary characters as well. The humanity of these people are brought to vivid life, to the point where it's understandable why and how the decisions made in their lives unfolded as they did.
Much like with Henry VIII and Helen of Troy, Cleopatra is a subject that Margaret George picked who has little to no voice nor compassion in the realm of public awareness. Most of the stories about her are told by those around her, many of them enemies or political opponents, and in this case, many of those long after she had died. She is largely seen as a powermad opportunist, a political whore, and worse, but rarely is she treated with the respect of a queen and the humanity of a woman. A tale that weaves together the known facts told from her own perspective is immensely satisfying in that the demonized perceptions are lifted like so many veils, one after the next. And in humanizing her, Ms. George has humanized Caesar, Antony, and the rest right along with her. And so, as with Henry VIII, Helen of Troy, and her other novels, this is historical fiction raised to its highest levels, in my own humble estimation. Perhaps I'm biased, already being a fan of hers, and admittedly having been attracted the Cleopatra story some decades ago thanks to the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Claudette Colbert. With any truly great story like this where seemingly everyone is a force of nature, the more you learn, the better it gets, and the more difficult it can be to find that one superior telling of the story. For this particular tale, look no further than this book. The only way it could be better is if perhaps Ms. George decided someday to pen a companion book about Caesar, seeing as how his part is only the last part of his story, but his influence on Cleopatra seems boundless.
Ms. George has crafted a vibrant telling of the familiar history of Caesar, Cleopatra, Antony, & Octavian. Her careful research of fact, relaible accounts and her fiction combine in an utterly believeable historical novel. Her powers of description carry the listener back in time--close your eyes and you can almost see the characters moving about in Rome and Egypt shaping the events that created Western Civilization.
I had been looking for cleopatra's story after seeing the HBO series "Rome" and this story and its dramatic reading have taken me to the ancient world of egypt, rome and beyond and gave me the opportunity to know Cleopatra as a real woman, with a real story...it makes her so real and the detail is so vivid
Every woman should know this story!
Such a wonderfully told story . . . I was glued to my earphones for weeks! I read this book in preparation for a trip to Egypt and, "faction" (fiction + fact) or not, I felt quite prepared once I arrived at the pyramids. George meticulously researches her books and I found her sense of Egyptian history to be quite stirring. The narration was also excellent.
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