Thursday, November 11, 2010


Description: Her palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, two of the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a son with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way the supple personality has been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order a generation before the birth of Christ. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life

Very rarely do I pick up a book and not finish it. Mainly, because I only read things that appeal to me. However, my attempt at reading Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff, failed miserably by page 15.

I really wanted to learn more about her and the time period but the writing was so dry and the names confused me because I could not frankly stay engaged. I'm sad to report this and would love to know if someone was able to read it all or farther than me and share some insight.

I received this book from Crazy Book Tours. All opinions are mine.

Have you read any books on Cleopatra? Watched any movies? What was the last book you read that you just had to put down?


Page (One Book At A Time) said...

Bummer you didn't like this one. I thought about adding it to my to read list. I haven't read anything strictly about Cleopatra. But, I really enjoyed Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran.

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Oh, what a shame! I do have this on my shelves and have been meaning to pick this up for quite some time. Sad to hear that it didn't keep you engaged!

ok said...

Glad to see I was not the only one on the tour who struggled. I finished, but it took me forever.