Review: “Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile” by Kristiana Gregory

For the love of books

Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile is a hypothetical journal by the last queen of Egypt.  However, Kristiana Gregory creates her main character according to Plutarch’s descriptions of Cleopatra VII, not popular belief.

Cleopatra’s first-person narration describes Cleopatra to be a linguist and a scholar.  Moreover, Cleopatra’s intelligence, not her beauty, dominates her strong-willed personality and initiates her reputation as a formidable ruler in her contemporary world.  The author chose to portray Cleopatra as an adolescent, which demonstrates her maturity and development as the years pass within the memoir.  Cleopatra’s analyses and observations of the political world around her, including Egypt’s alliances, are insightful and even amusing.  Historical figures like Mark Anthony and Pompey the Great participate in the storyline, and their temperaments also reflect Plutarch’s descriptions of their lives.

The settings of Ancient Rome and Alexandria are realistic and very plausible.  Cleopatra’s fluency in Ancient Greek,Latin, Egyptian, Hebrew, and other tongues is an unusual accomplishment and it certainly aided her survival in the dangerous environments she lived in.  Cleopatra’s royal family is scrutinized, and not even her father’s behavior can escape her critical eye.  At times humorous and romantic, Cleopatra’s own odyssey is comparable to Homer’s Odyssey, an epic that Cleopatra particularly admires in the story.  Prejudice, slavery, extortion, deceitful politics, and political murders are only some of the atrocities that Gregory’s heroine witnesses.  Cleopatra’s professed hatred for cruelty and injustice makes her a vulnerable and humane princess who must experience the responsibilities and burdens of a future monarch.  An exquisite volume in The Royal Diaries series, Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile is an informative and entertaining historical novel with a unique visualization of one of the most famous queens in history.

Original review: An intelligent look at the life and character of Cleopatra VII, Examiner.com

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