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Cleopatra's Heir


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About the Author

Gillian Bradshaw won the Hopwood Prize for fiction with her first novel, Hawk of May. She has BAs in English and Classical Greek, and sold her first novel while preparing for exams for her third degree, in Greek in Latin Literature. Her novels include Cleopatra's Heir, Render Unto Caesar, The Sand-Reckoner, and The Wolf Hunt. She and her husband live in Coventry in England. They have four children and a dog.


What if the son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar had lived past his 18th year? This is the question British author Bradshaw (The Wolf Hunt) poses in her latest historical novel. History says that Caesarion, who was perceived as a threat to Octavius's throne, was killed soon after his mother's suicide in 30 B.C.E. A more gripping story, perhaps, is Bradshaw's version, in which Caesarion, suffering from the sacred illness (epilepsy), is attacked by Roman forces and left for dead. Wounded, he flees the battle scene and is rescued by a kindhearted caravan master. His life forfeited, his mother's cause lost, Caesarion must decide what to do. Should he give up and surrender to his enemies, or can he create a new life for himself from the ashes of the old? Mixing truth and fiction, Bradshaw creates a compelling and imaginative story. She draws the reader in through deft characterization; we feel Caesarion's pain as he struggles with his destiny. Highly recommended for all public libraries and large academic institutions. Laurel Bliss, Yale Univ. Lib. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"Bradshaw is a classics scholar as well as an excellent writer . . . . History comes alive in her expert hands." --The Philadelphia Inquirer"Bradshaw makes ancient history immediate and thrilling." --The Orlando Sentinel

Fascinating historical figures Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra roam the ancient Egyptian desert and the glittering city of Alexandria in this latest from classics scholar Bradshaw (The Sand-Reckoner). The hero is Cleopatra's son Caesarion, whom she has declared to be Caesar's offspring. Her ploy fails when Caesar's adopted Roman son and successor, Octavian (later Augustus), conquers Egypt and sends soldiers to attack troops fleeing with the 18-year-old Caesarion. The young man, after suffering an epileptic fit, is left for dead, but has only been wounded. Waking, he escapes, but another fit leaves him unconscious on a desert roadway, where Ani, an Egyptian merchant with a small caravan of merchandise, finds and saves him. Caesarion, who is Greek (like all royalty in Egypt at this time), is intelligent enough to conceal his background, calling himself Arion, but he cannot hide his aristocratic ways or his disdain for a mere Egyptian who treats a king as a commoner. He resents the merchant, but agrees at last to write his letters for him. Slowly, the patient and generous Ani wins Arion's respect; his beautiful daughter Melanthe falls in love with Arion, who is interested, but cannot acknowledge loving a commoner. While the story is light on action, Bradshaw's attention to Arion's growth into a caring person and the convincing historical detail she musters give the novel substance, but it is the final (and thoroughly fictional) confrontation between Octavian and Caesarion that will truly make it attractive to history buffs. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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