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The Memoirs of Cleopatra


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About the Author

Margaret George is the author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles, and Elizabeth I, among other novels. Margaret first got the idea to write historical fiction when, after reading numerous books that viewed Henry VIII through the eyes of his enemies and victims, she found herself wondering if there might be another side to the story. She became determined to let Henry speak for himself, and it took fifteen years, about three hundred books of background reading, three visits to England to see every extant building associated with Henry, and five handwritten drafts for her to answer the question: What was Henry really like? Margaret was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and has traveled extensively. She and her husband live in Madison, Wisconsin.


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)

"Fans of the author who loved her biographies of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scots will find this story of Egypt's ancient queen equally engrossing. The author's impeccable research brings a long ago civilization thoroughly to life, and her portraits of Cleopatra, Caesar and Antony are wonderful. A spellbinding book." --Barbara Taylor Bradford"A thrilling story...[Cleopatra's] 'memoirs' are vivid and enthralling. Read them." --Washington Post"[A] time machine...It's as if you lived there, walked the streets and counseled the Queen throughout her turbulent life." --Cincinnati Enquirer"Awash in sensuous, jewel-like detail... As if ancient frescoes had sprung alive." --Entertainment Weekly"George is such a skilled writer the book seems built no the intimate details of the five senses" --Memphis Commercial Appeal"Readers looking to be transported to another place and time will find their magic carpet here." --Publishers Weekly"

Cleopatra has captivated generations, and this huge novel will ensure additional adulation. Beginning with a memory at age three of witnessing her mother's death and ending with her own suicide, Cleopatra tells her story. Both the telling and the tale are exceptional. George (Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles, St. Martin's, 1992) combines history and legend with her own imagination to produce a fascinating portrait. Strangely, some of the more implausible events, such as Cleopatra's being hidden in a rug and taken to Caesar, are fact, not fiction. The graceful use of the language and the intense action make for compelling reading. Success is guaranteed: book club rights have been sold to the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club, and miniseries rights have been sold to Hallmark Productions. For most libraries.‘Dorothy S. Golden, Georgia Southern Univ., Statesboro

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