The Memoirs of Cleopatra

With 964 pages awash in sensuous, jewellike detail, you won’t doubt this historical novelist’s claim that this absorbing, meticulous cast-of- thousands epic — the ”autobiography” of history’s most powerful woman — was 40 years in the making. Cleopatra is usually portrayed as the Great Seductress; Margaret George’s more complex Egyptian queen is also a devoted mom, quick wit, and whip-smart political strategist. Her affairs with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony are nuanced — equally passionate and power savvy. Long swaths of Roman civil warfare might prove skimmable for some. But the rest of The Memoirs of Cleopatra is completely absorbing, as if ancient frescoes had sprung alive. A-

The Memoirs of Cleopatra
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