cover image Cleopatra's Moon

Cleopatra's Moon

Vicky Alvear Shecter. Scholastic/Levine, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-545-22130-6

This fascinating historical novel explores the tumultuous history of Cleopatra VIII Selene, the only daughter of Cleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius. "How was it that I went from a Princess of Egypt%E2%80%94the daughter of the most powerful queen in the world%E2%80%94to a prisoner of Rome, and now, to the bride of a petty ruler in the scrubs of Africa?" a teenage Cleopatra Selene wonders, before the narrative rewinds a decade to her upbringing in Alexandria and the dissolution of the Egyptian empire. The early sections highlight the high stakes, political pressure, and dangers facing Cleopatra VII's reign and the rich complexities of the Egyptian religion. Shecter (Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen) strongly sketches court life and highlights the differences between Cleopatra Selene's youth in Alexandria with the more restrictive court of Rome where Selene and her brothers move after her parents' deaths. In Rome, Cleopatra Selene and her brothers dodge palace dangers, including an attempt on their lives, with grace. Cleopatra Selene proves a stalwart heroine, and the novel's atmospheric setting and romantic intrigue are highly memorable. Ages 13%E2%80%93up. (Aug.)