Determined. I picked up Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra: A Life, with half-hearted interest. After all, I’ve read and seen the Shakespeare play, and Elizabeth Taylor must have nailed the role in the movie, since her image remains vivid in my memory. I quickly became engrossed in this finely written historical account of a powerful woman who became a very capable queen, acting with bold defiance against those who could do her harm. Her ambition was formidable, and she acted in ways that continually increased her power. Schiff acknowledges that much of the historical account is missing, but what she presents seems quite plausible. Readers who like history will enjoy this account which takes a mythic figure and fleshes her out in ways that separate myth from likely reality.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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