Memoirs of Cleopatra

Margaret George, Author St Martin's Press $27.95 (1024p) ISBN 978-0-312-15430-1
Royal barges, sacred asps, eunuchs and chariot races all make an appearance in George's third epic (after The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles), a huge biographical novel that is as disciplined as it is ambitious. The four principal characters are Caesar, Marcus Antonius, Octavian and the indomitable Cleopatra herself. George buoys them with a supporting cast of, literally, thousands and spans the ancient globe. She renders her myriad settings, whether in Athens, Syria, Actium or elsewhere, palpably real. The smell of the Alexandrian harbor, the taste of pomegranates, the visual grandeur of the pyramids and the clash of swords all come alive in her hands. Battles physical and political--Caesar's North African campaign, the Alexandrian War, the ill-fated struggle between Antony and Octavian for control of the world--are evoked with skill and passion, as are more domestic conflicts. Cleopatra's love for the much older Caesar, ""he who had blotted out the sky,"" is rivaled only by her later feelings for Antony, upon whose death ""the whole world rolled away."" Not merely a great lover, Cleopatra emerges here as a compassionate ruler and political genius. It is a tribute to George's artistry that the strings are hidden, that not once will readers doubt that the Queen of Egypt is telling the tale. In nearly a thousand pages, she creates countless memorable moments, as when Antony and Cleopatra stroll on the island of Samos at night, listening to Dionysian singing in the distance. Readers looking to be transported to another place and time will find their magic carpet here. 200,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; mini-series rights sold to Robert Halmi/Hallmark/ABC-TV; author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997
Release date: 04/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Sewn - 976 pages - 978-1-4177-0673-0
Paperback - 1152 pages - 978-0-330-35382-3
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55935-254-3
Paperback - 964 pages - 978-0-312-18745-3
Paperback - 976 pages - 978-0-312-19066-8
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