Step Into Ancient Alexandria With Margaret George’s “The Memoirs of Cleopatra”
Thanks to authors such as Philippa Gregory and Michelle Moran, historical fiction is becoming more popular. However, if you want to read some well-written and well-researched novels, there’s no better author to check out than Margaret George! Her crowning jewel is her historical fiction novel The Memoirs of Cleopatra, which gives readers a bird’s eye view into the life of one of the world’s most infamous monarchs.
Her colorful mastery of scenery and attention to detail brings the world of ancient Alexandria to life—if you close your eyes, you’ll swear that you were walking in the crowded marketplace listening to the sights and sounds of the vendors hawking their wears. George also takes her readers through a fascinating tour of turbulent ancient Rome and accurately describes the turmoil that ran riot through the city before the creation of the empire.
George also brings the three main players to life as well: Cleopatra VII, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Antonius, better known to history lovers today as Marc Antony. Gone is the pro-Augustan propaganda that labeled this fiery and intelligent Queen as a whore. Also conspicuously absent is the notion that Cleopatra VII, much like Liz Taylor’s 1963 movie portrayal, is a beauty beyond compare. Out of all the fiction and non-fiction books about this elusive Queen, George manages to give her readers the definitive version of Cleopatra—a strong-willed, intelligent woman who fought like a lioness to save her country and her children. She was a political genius and while reasonably attractive, the real-life woman couldn’t hold a candle to Liz Taylor’s looks. What drew Caesar and Antony to fall in love with her was her wit, her charm, and of course, her prestigious wealth.
Even if historical fiction isn’t usually your cup of tea, no one can deny that George reigns as Queen of that particular genre thanks to her dedicated research and masterful prose.