Queen of Kings

Queen of Kings

4.3 3
by Maria Dahvana Headley
     
 

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The immortal story of Cleopatra.

Passion and seduction, witches and warriors, and history and mythology combine to bring the timeless story of Cleopatra to life like never before in this stunningly original and spellbinding debut.

The year is 30 BC. A messenger delivers word to Queen Cleopatra that her beloved husband, Antony, has died at his own hand

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Overview

The immortal story of Cleopatra.

Passion and seduction, witches and warriors, and history and mythology combine to bring the timeless story of Cleopatra to life like never before in this stunningly original and spellbinding debut.

The year is 30 BC. A messenger delivers word to Queen Cleopatra that her beloved husband, Antony, has died at his own hand. Desperate to save her kingdom and resurrect her husband, Cleopatra summons the most fearsome warrior goddess, Sekhmet, and against the warnings of her scholars she strikes a mortal bargain. But not even the wisest scholars could have predicted what would follow...

In exchange for Antony's soul, Cleopatra is transformed into a vampiric creature of mythical proportions, an immortal shapeshifter with superhuman strength and an insatiable hunger for human blood-a being at once ferocious and seductive. And she is bent on vengeance against those who have wronged her family and her kingdom. Clashing against witches and monsters, gods and warriors, Cleopatra journeys from the tombs of Egypt to the great amphitheaters of Rome to the ancient underworld-where she will meet her love once again, and where the battle between man and beast will determine the fate of the world.

Blending history, fantasy, romance, and the supernatural, Queen of Kings is a masterful feat of the imagination that fans of Diana Gabaldon, Patricia Briggs, Philippa Gregory, and Neil Gaiman won't want to miss.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The blurbs compare Headley's Cleopatra-gone-bad fantasia to Diana Gabaldon and Neil Gaiman, but it's likely that the Anne Rice fans will find more to like here. Though there are some lovely romantic scenes at the outset, this is no romance. The Egyptian capital of Alexandria is under siege by the vengeful Octavian, out to punish Marc Antony for choosing loyalty to Cleopatra over Rome, and over Octavian's sister, whom Antony has divorced. Antony dies within the first few pages, and Cleopatra seeks to strike a bargain with the ancient lion-headed goddess, Sekhmet, to bring him back. The deal goes bad, as all such bargains must, and the question becomes not whether Antony will live again, but what price will Sekhmet extract from Cleopatra for the queen's audacity? Part horror, part history, and all tragedy, the story is not likely to please romance fans. But for those who enjoy the eroticized violence and stylish nightmares of the Rice tradition, Headley delivers a vivid dose. (May)
From the Publisher
"Queen of Kings is the definition of a page-turner: An epic historical thriller that combines a great love story with a slew of witches, gods, ghosts, and classical monsters. Add the Roman Army and Cleopatra and it is obvious: This is the book readers have been waiting for."
Danielle Trussoni, New York Times bestselling author of Angelology
Library Journal
In retelling the story of one of the most fascinating women of history, Headley (The Year of Yes: A Memoir) has penned a dark mix of paranormal romance and historical thriller. Cleopatra, seeing her country conquered by Rome and hearing that her beloved husband, Marc Antony, had committed suicide, turns to dark magic to defend herself against the forces gathered against her. But she unleashes a power she's unable to control and is transformed into a vampiric creature. What follows is a blending of history and mythology of epic proportions. According to the author's website, this title is intended as the first of a trilogy. It will be interesting to see where Headley takes her Cleopatra next. VERDICT Readers who enjoy grand stories steeped in history yet rewritten with a dark, magical twist may be intrigued by this depiction of Cleopatra.—Crystal Renfro, Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib., Atlanta
Kirkus Reviews

It is not an asp that Cleopatra takes to her breast in this novel. It is Sekhmet, the daughter of Ra, the Sun God, summoned by the distraught queen and thereafter shifting into the form of a viper.

Antony, defeated at Actium, is besieged at Alexandria by Octavian, fragile boy turned emperor. A false message from the Roman camp reaches Antony saying that Cleopatra has betrayed him. Cleopatra, however, has retreated to the couple's fortress mausoleum and conjured a spell written by the old god-kings, a spell discovered and translated by Nicolaus, a scholar. With its incantation, Cleopatra became that which the Romans labeled her:fatale monstrum.Headley (The Year of Yes,2007)carries the reader beyond history, beyond Shakespearean drama, and into the realm of angry gods, shape-shifters and vampires. Imbued with Sekhmet's power, Cleopatra becomes a night creature, flesh burnt by sun and metal, nourished only by human blood. Cleopatra, bent on revenge for the death of Antony, must watch as Octavian, her nemesis, provokes the murder of Caesarion, her son by Julius Caesar. Octavian then carries Cleopatra's three remaining children to Rome. After a visit to temple at Thebes, where a priestess keeps watch in the name of Sekhmet, Cleopatra shape-shifts into a lioness, steals aboard a slave ship and is transported to Rome. Octavian has been declared emperor, taking the name Caesar Augustus, but he still fears Cleopatra, and so he gathers three sorcerers from the Empire's edges to protect him, one of whom conjures up Antony from his ashes. Headley's complex plot also includes visits to Hades, circuses and gladiators, an epic battle at Avernus and the seven children of Sekhmet (plague, famine, earthquake, flood, drought, madness and violence) loosed upon the world.

First of a trilogy,this book,replete with descriptive language and a magical narrative,will appeal to fans of the fantasy genre.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525952176
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
05/12/2011
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
9.08(w) x 6.34(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Peter Straub
“Queen of Kings is a miracle, a marvel. Nothing on earth could make me read a novel about Cleopatra, but this book reeled me in almost instantly and kept me in suspense, charmed, and astonished all the way to the amazing ending.” --(Peter Straub, New York Times bestselling author of A Dark Matter)
From the Publisher

"Queen of Kings is the definition of a page-turner: An epic historical thriller that combines a great love story with a slew of witches, gods, ghosts, and classical monsters. Add the Roman Army and Cleopatra and it is obvious: This is the book readers have been waiting for."
-Danielle Trussoni, New York Times bestselling author of Angelology

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