Charmian is handmaiden to Cleopatra. She is also an oracle, gifted with ancient memories that may hold the key to preserving Egypt. Through blood and fire, war and peace, love and death, she will face a desperate struggle that will remake the future of the world.
Shortlisted for the Locus Best First Novel Award, included in The Amazon Editors' Top Ten List in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2008 and the Locus Recommended Reading List, with starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, Jo Graham is one of the most exciting new voices to come out of historical fantasy in recent years.
Historical fantasist Graham (Black Ships) heads to Egypt with this elegant, engaging memoir of Charmian, half-sister and handmaiden to Cleopatra. The two young women and their other sister, Iras, are inseparable from childhood, getting one another into and out of numerous mishaps. As teenagers, they vow to Isis that they will protect Egypt from the covetous Romans, and in return for their devotion, the goddess rewards Cleopatra with the throne. Graham never resorts to melodrama even at the murder of Julius Caesar or to cliché when Charmian recalls her past lives, and she supplies plenty of superb historical detail, but doesn't let it overwhelm the narrative. Charmian's shy hopes, failures and devotion to Cleopatra and Isis make her one of the most memorable "witnesses to history" to emerge from fantasy in quite some time. (Apr.)
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March 22, 2009
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