Saturday, November 21, 2009

CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER by Michelle Moran


I think most people have watched the classic movie, CLEOPATRA, starring Elizabeth Taylor and her legendary lover, Richard Burton, starring as Cleo's legendary lover, Mark Anthony.  If not, click on this link to learn more-
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056937/
It's not necessary and the movie's not entirely accurate, but I think it'd be fun to watch before reading this novel.  The costumes are drop-dead gorgeous.  Anyway, on with the review.
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Queen Cleopatra of Egypt took over the throne, whether rightfully or not, who knows, but I think most agree she was a better ruler than her brat-kid brother.  Two things are important to know here.  One, Egypt was not ruled by Egyptians at this time.  It was ruled by the descendents of Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great's generals, after Alexander conquered Egypt.  The other thing to know is that Ancient Egyptian women had more rights and freedom than other women at that time.  An Egyptian woman could marry for love and divorce the dude if he turned into a big, fat idiot.  She could own property and do lots of other things Roman women could not. 
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CLEOPATRA'S DAUGHTER begins with the deaths of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, which I really liked because I'm one of those readers who always wants to know what happens next.  'The End' is never enough.  The conqueror, Octavian, new ruler of Rome carries off Selene and her twin brother, Alexander, and their little brother, Ptolemy.  Sadly, Ptolemy dies of an illness on the way to Rome, but maybe he had it easy in the long run.
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Selene knows Octavian is keeping her alive after having her older brothers murdered because she's a girl and cannot inherit under Roman law and because she will be a useful pawn in the marriage game.  'Cause in Rome, girls are bought and sold like cattle, and often are not treated as well.  Alexander, on the other hand, is a growing threat, growing because once he's fifteen he'll be considered an adult, capable of leading rebellion against Octavian. 
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For the time being, though, they've got it pretty good for captives.  They live well and are educated.  Selene even gets to study archaelogy, despite being a girl.  Octavian's sister, Octavia, is surprisingly gracious, despite Mark Anthony having dumped her for Selena's mother.  The Empress Livia is a cruel chick though, marrying girls she doesn't like off to fat, dirty old creeps.  There's a scene in which one of these girls gives birth and the old creep wants the baby tossed in a dump because it's a girl.  Instead, the girl pays a slave to take her to a place where she might be found and cared for.  Selene is very disturbed by this.
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In Egypt, the women have learned to use certain herbs to induce miscarriage and adoptions are commonly arranged.  Not in Rome.  Unwanted babies are garbage, even if their parents are wealthy and/or well-connected.  Some people try to help the babies, but most die.  Even though she's not quite a woman herself, Selene is determined to change this.  She begins plans on building a foundlings' home where these babies can be cared for and placed for adoption.
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The odds against Selene ever achieving anything in Rome are massively against her though, because she's female and also because her mother was the hated Queen Cleopatra who seduced Julius Caeser and Mark Anthony too.  But, Mama instilled a strong sense of confidence and determination in Selene. 
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Just settled in, Selene and Alexander realize the major problem in Rome.  Slavery.  The Romans are wealthy and powerful and used to being catered too.  Most politicians and merchents are horribly corrupt.  Women don't want to have babies for fear of stretch marks.  New slaves are brought in whenever new countries are conquered.  You may know about Sparticus, a slave who read a revolt.  I think there's a movie about it too.  That happened before this story.  But, there's a new hero for the slaves, Red Eagle, and the Romans live in fear of him.
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Slaves are everywhere and from everywhere.  Octavia's maid is from Gaul, a former warrior herself.  Juba is a former prince who's parents were also done away with and he was brought to Rome in a similar way to Selene.  One would think these two would become fast friends, but Juba seems determined to make Selene dislike him.  Whatever his origins, by all appearances he's loyal to Octavian, his eyes and ears, the guy who finds out who's plotting what, when, and where.
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But, even Juba can't figure out the Red Eagle.  Or can he?
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Although Selene knows of Romans who hate slavery or at least despise how slaves are treated, there seems to be little she can do about it.  But, that doesn't stop her, of course.  She is, after all...
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Cleopatra's Daughter.
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Great story, vivid description, and a heroine you can cheer for.
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I still like NEFERTITI best though.  I'm silly that way.  I always like the first novel I read by an author the best.  It's okay to play favorites with books, you know.
;)

4 comments:

Michelle Moran said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to read the novel! After writing about life in ancient Rome, I couldn't be happier that I live today for all of the reasons you mention: infanticide, slavery, conquest... We have it pretty good!

Kimber An said...

Yes, most of us here in America have it pretty good.

However, as early as last year girls as young as 14 were being coerced into marrying old creeps in the FLDS church down in Texas.

Jaycee Dugard was just freed after 18 years with a dirty old creep.

Babies are still being found in garbage cans. Google 'Operation Cuddle' for information on how to help.

Suffice it to say, there's still plenty of evil left in the world. Ancient Rome didn't corner the market on it. Good people, like Selene, still need to get out there and do what they can to help.

Raise confident daughters, provide them with martial arts training, and teach them to use a variety of weaponry.

Michelle Moran said...

Very well said. And I keep up a link to STOP International on my website here:

http://www.michellemoran.com/cleo_QA.htm

Sadly, human trafficking still continues as well.

royaldrum said...

hi Michelle,i havent read your book yet, but i think i'm gonne to

i'll hope you did enough research about Cleopatra VII?

do you know the meaning she have spoken just before she toke the Cobra to suïcide?
The Sun can Be Born again...

I'll hope that Isis will forgive me...

I will transfor my soul to Orion...and do you know the meaning about the 20 Ships of Octavian, the single ( 1 ) ship of Marcus and the words she have spoken to Ceasarion

it's gonne be an other kind of War?

i can be your pen friend if you want? i can proof to you that i'm the reïncarnation of Ceasarion, the Mighty Egyptian God Horus, the Sun she is talking about.

i got 3 marks on my right legg,the Orion belt, and got the mark of Atlantis on my right shoulder, both are registrated by Leonardo Da Vinci and Michealangelo.

i got a lot of more story about Cleopatra, but accually it's the first time, that i read more deeply stuff about Alexander, Selena and Philadelphius.

the things i know is for example: the Pope, is written in Dutch like Paus, and that means a couple of 4 letters ( and it could be the 4 children of Cleopatra VII but it goes out to Philadelphius - P ( hil ) A ( delphi ) US - PAUS.

Marcus was Constantine the emperor of the East Roman empire,they set up a Greek story about Egypt. the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ is the eldest son of Cleopatra and Ceasar, Ceasarion, it means the Greek Hercules.The letter J and the number 6 - J 6(B(b)the Pilars from the Tempel of King Salomo( Solon)Boaz and Joachin = the Street of Gibraltar - Plato called them the Pilars of Heracles out of Solons Story about Atlantis from beyond the Sfinx. from Ptolemy Egypt to Ptolemy Greek to Ptolemy Rome ( Jesus Christ )

Christ=Greek's and together with the cromstaff of the Pope(an Egyptian symbol the Nekha and the Nekhakha)(?)the Jewish holy 7,the Deer of the Azteek sunstone.

Marcus and Philadelphius asked the Roman humanity who is the Greek B and J? ( Jesus Christ ? )the answer lies in the letters S.P.Q.R. the Arabian way, R.Q.P.S. leave the P of Pope out he'll steps off for Jesus.
R.Q.S.= Er Qu Es = HerCuLes - the Greek God.
one of the emperors from Poseidon and Atlantis, the Olympus mountain ( Orion ).

the will be coming out aroun 2012 to change some adjucating way's of the humanity around this area. ( Sun - Pluto )

i can tell you, Philadelphius and Ceasarion didn't die those day's, i can tel you a lot about the immoratal life of Atlantis and Orion. no body really dies from that Royal family.

if you like to have contact with me about this, i can tell you a lot more about the anciënt Egypt that you are writing about.

with greetings

Ruben

my email contact adres is:

royaldrum@hotmail.com