Cleopatra's Shadows

Cleopatra's Shadows

by Emily Holleman


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The secret beginnings of Cleopatra's epic saga, seen through the eyes of her forgotten sisters.

Arsinoe, the bright and incisive eight-year-old daughter of King Ptolemy, awakes one morning from an ominous dream of statues weeping blood to find that her reality is even worse. There's been a violent coup, and she is stranded alone in the palace, abandoned by both her beloved older sister Cleopatra and her indifferent father. The new monarch? Arsinoe's half sister Berenice, who has seized the throne and now rules over a bloodthirsty royal court.

Arsinoe's struggle to establish herself in this strange new world takes her from the palace to the streets of war-torn Alexandria, where she must cast off her childhood comforts, including her idolization of Cleopatra. Meanwhile, Berenice confronts her own demons—her cruel, dying mother, a pair of fickle husbands, and the ever-present threat of her father's return from exile—as she fights to maintain power as the first queen to rule Egypt alone in a thousand years. When their deposed father, Ptolemy, marches on the city with a Roman army, both daughters must decide where their allegiances truly lie, and Arsinoe grapples with the difficult truth—that the only way to survive her dynasty is to rule it.

A bold and mesmerizing debut, CLEOPATRA'S SHADOWS is a thrilling depiction of a treacherous Egyptian dynasty and an ancient world made new.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316382991
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 07/05/2016
Series: A Fall of Egypt Novel Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 398,067
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Emily Holleman, a graduate of Yale University, spent several years as an editor for Salon—a job she left to follow Arsinoe and her quest for the throne of Egypt. Currently based in Brooklyn, she has devoted the past three years to reading and writing about the Ptolomies and is, like Arsinoe, a younger sister.

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Cleopatra's Shadows 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't think of a recent work of historical fiction (or, for that matter, literary fiction in general) that I loved as much as this book. It follows two incredibly compelling characters who have been forgotten by history (hence the title): Berenice, Cleopatra's elder half-sister, and Arsinoe, her younger full one. At the beginning of the novel, Berenice has just conquered Egypt and set her father fleeing to Rome, while Arsinoe has been abandoned by both parents to survive as best she can in a treacherous political environment ruled by a sister she barely knows. The book portrays them with an impressive combination of relatability and fidelity to the world in which they lived, which Holleman paints gorgeously. It's rare to read a book that alternates between two points of view and to passionately care about both characters equally.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago