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Cleopatra revisited

February 15, 2012

“Queen of kings” by Maria Dahvana Headley

This richly imagined reworking of the iconic love story between Marc Antony and Cleopatra takes the story in a whole new direction.

In this version, Marc commits suicide believing that Cleopatra is dead, so to bring him back and save her country from the Roman army, the Queen chants a spell meant to harness the power of Sekhmet, goddess of death and destruction. But something goes wrong – and Cleopatra becomes a vessel for the goddess, her soul forfeit, and her body transformed into a shape-shifting bloodthirsty vampire.

Conquering emperor Octavian takes her captive children back to Rome, so Cleopatra follows, intent on saving them and taking revenge on Octavian. The goddess Sekhmet is prepared to allow this, as long as the blood still flows.  Realising that even the legions of Rome cannot protect him, Octavian enlists the help of three witches, but one witch plans to use the Queen’s power to release her own goddess from Hades – one much worse than Sekhmet.

Meanwhile, Cleopatra petitions the gods of Hades for help. On condition, they promise to let Marc Antony leave Hades for the Egyptian heaven Duat, where Cleopatra hopes to eventually reunite with him. But Sekhmet has other plans for her and the world …

Sprinkled with historical facts, this very original plot has elements of Egyptian, Roman and Norse mythology woven throughout.  A love story, a dark fantasy, and a paranormal thriller rolled into one.  7/10.  Reserve it  Reviewed by Natalie

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