The sight of Cleopatra's beauty strikes the young Egyptian with all the power of a mortal blow. And for a moment, Harmachis aches with grief because he has to kill a thing so lovely!
This novel, first published in 1889, is an adventure story set in the Ptolemaic era of ancient Egypt. The Egyptian priesthood attempts to overthrow Queen Cleopatra in order to drive out the Romans and restore Egypt to a golden age.
I?d never heard of this title before, but having very much enjoyed RHs famous novels I thought this would be a previously undiscovered treat. Sure enough, the story begins in typical RH style and the narrative quickly takes the listener into a mysterious and somewhat macabre adventure. However this serves as an introduction to the story proper; which is a ?translation? of a history from papyrus scrolls found in a tomb. The ?history? is told in the style of a King James translation of the Old Testament and initially seems stilted and laboured. I nearly gave up on it at this point but I?d encourage listeners to stick with the tail. As the story progresses it becomes compelling, the characters are well drawn and complex, and the pace really picks up through parts two and three. At the end, I felt that the story was every bit as good as any of RH?s more popular novels, but has probably become obscure because of RH?s attempt to replicate the style and explain the ritual of the historical Egyptian period. Finally, I?d suggest that having come to the end of the narrative it?s worth hearing the opening ?contemporary? story again.
I found William Sutherland?s reading style engaging and appropriate for the story. This is also probably one of those books that is easier to listen to, than to read.
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