Cover image for Pharaoh
Essex, Karen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
408 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
"Volume II of Kleopatra".

Sequel to: Kleopatra.
Format :


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Following on from 'Kleopatra', the glittering epic of Egypt's queen continues as she allies herself with Anthony and begins a love story that immortalizes her as one of history's greatest political players and most tragic heroines.

Author Notes

Karen Essex lives in Beverly Hills, California.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The second volume of Essex's Kleopatra series, which picks up as the 22-year-old queen of Egypt returns from exile in Rome, overflows with war, sex, political intrigue and the fruits of Essex's assiduous research on everything from ancient Egyptian religious ceremonies to traffic laws in Julius Caesar's Rome. Essex's Kleopatra is ruled by her lust for power. Everything she controls her body, her money is a tool with which to improve her position and that of her country. As she puts it, "In matters of state, let your blood run cold." She joins with Caesar, aligning Egypt with Rome, but when he's murdered, Kleopatra lays the groundwork for a similar association with Antony, to whom she is overwhelmingly attracted. Each of these alliances transcends its political motivation. Kleopatra loves both men, viewing Caesar as a mentor and Antony as a soul mate. Yet this love never clouds her self-promoting vision, making Essex's Kleopatra more than a simple seductress, as she is often portrayed. Indeed, the careful balance Essex strikes between Kleopatra's intimate emotional life and her statecraft makes this a satisfyingly nuanced and approachable portrait. As with its predecessor, the novel's rich language, attention to historical detail and fast-flowing action offer an invigorating read for those interested in ancient history or simply the thrills of battles and romance. (Aug.) Forecast: Essex's Kleopatra must vie with other fictional Cleopatras most notably, Margaret George's (The Memoirs of Cleopatra, 1997) but Kleo-with-a-K has already attracted a following and should continue to sell steadily. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This stunning sequel to Kleopatra completes the story of one of the most celebrated, audacious, admired, and reviled women the world has ever known. History is always written by the victor, and so it was in the case of the political union among Kleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Antonius. Octavian, Kleopatra's most implacable enemy, much maligned her in his autobiographical papers, and the picture he painted of Kleopatra as ruthless, decadent, and self-indulgent has been passed down through the ages. Essex gives us a new image of the famous ruler, though even she claims in the author's notes that she may have been unkind to Octavian in an effort to balance the historical record. Nonetheless, in Pharaoh we see a queen who carefully and intelligently forges strong political and personal bonds to Rome through Julius Caesar prior to his assassination, then to Antony, Caesar's protege. The deep commitment she feels for these two men, her children, and her country is evident in every page right up to the final climactic moment of her tragic death. Though the plot occasionally bogs down in the morass of historical detail, readers will enjoy the vivid portrayal of Kleopatra and the period in which she lived. Recommended for larger public libraries. Jane Baird, Anchorage Municipal Libs., AK (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.