Page Turners

Here is a list of books that have been shared on KMA's Page Turners with the Shenandoah Public Library.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA--Colleen McCullough--The seventh book in the 'Master of Rome' series was unexpected by many as at the end of the sixth book McCullough said she was taking a break from Rome, she'd written over 6000 pages, as I recall, and needed a break. Finding McCullough's treatment of the 14 years following the murder of Julius Caesar is a huge treat. One more time in this stand alone novel (although it helps to have read the others and have loose ends 'tied-up'), McCullough displays her huge knowledge of things Roman from details of food and dress and daily life to political, military and cultural attitudes which were prevalent during the period. Whether you like the characters or not, they're portrayed with great clarity relative to their importance in the scheme of the story. Her portrayal of the major characters, Octavian, Anthony and Cleopatra allows the reader to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each; and how those strengths and weaknesses combined to determine the flow of history. Some reviewers have challenged her work for describing situations in terms of 'anglo' interpretations rather than those of the first century B.C. and others her description of Cleopatra's physical appearance. None however have found these differences sufficient not to recommend the book nor to detract from the author's scholarship. McCullough's authorship displays highs and lows of behavior; adherence to a principle (Rome/Egypt) political greed, ambition, stupidity, love and hate all in the context of the rivalry between Octavian and Anthony and Cleopatra's determination to put her son, Caesarion, child of Julius Caesar, on the "Throne of Rome". One wonderful book--compelling reading.


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