Once again, Michelle Moran has managed to make detailed historical fiction completely accessible-and incredibly enjoyable.
Her characters are living, breathing, everyday people whom I quite easily become attached to. (As I became with her version of Rameses II. Very. Attached. ;)
Selene and Alexander finally are given their own tale apart from their outrageously famous parents. And what a tale it is! Moran gives them an adult maturity, along with moments of childish fear or pettiness that were completely realistic. Selene certainly isn't perfect. It's fascinating to watch her grow and mature under her extraordinary circumstances-which she had to do very quickly. Selene also gives us an fascinating inside glimpse into the house of Octavian, or Caeser Augustus, before he was known as such. It's a breathtaking world-as well as one of utter ruthlessness and savagery, which is fleshed out in all its gruesome detail. (I mean it-if I didn't really really dislike the Roman Empire before...I very much do now. They may have given us ideals of democracy, but...yeah. Blegh)
Moran's version of Cleopatra herself was impressive; for once we see Cleopatra and Antony from a different angle than the usual one of passionate lovers. We see them as a husband and his wife; a mother and father. Moran makes Cleopatra a regal, aloof, and aristocratic woman whom I could easily see both leading an army and raising her children.
I'm happy to say that once again, Moran has changed my view of history forever. I'll never look at this period the same way again.