Cleopatra Confesses

Gr 7—10—This fictional memoir of Egypt's alluring, mysterious queen resonates with historical authenticity, plausible emotional dilemmas, and passion for power and survival. Living among a cast of both historical and fictional characters, Cleopatra narrates her story from age 10 in 59 BC to her death at age 39. A Greek descendant of Alexander the Great, she is portrayed as a keen observer of her father's oppressive rule and unpopular submission to Rome; as an intellectual who studies the papyrus scrolls in the Library at Alexandria and learns the language of the Egyptian people; as a patient, shrewd competitor among her siblings for Ptolemy XII's throne; and as an adolescent who seeks friendship on her own terms with Charmion, a loyal court dancer who later reveals their shared lineage. Key events in history are captured in this riveting, personal tale that seeks to fill gaps in documentation with realistic dialogue, descriptions of daily routines, daring marketplace adventures, royal excursions up the Nile, and poignant reflections on the fear and anxiety of living among a ruthless, ambitious family. Readers will savor the angst and "confessions" of an adolescent Cleopatra who secures a place in history as a charismatic, determined royal who raises an army against her brother after being banished from Egypt and who forges political and romantic liaisons with Julius Caesar and later Mark Antony to save Egypt and herself. A rich assortment of characters, places, and events is woven into this appealing, well-paced, informative examination of Cleopatra's dramatic life and times.—Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Royal intrigue and cutthroat politics abound in this work of historical fiction. Ruler and seductress Cleopatra relates the events of her life from age ten through twenty-two; an epilogue summarizes the ensuing years and her death. Brief chapters and confident first-person narration provide readers with an intimate (highly fictionalized) view of one of history's most fascinating, charismatic, and mysterious female regents. Timeline, websites. Bib.

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