When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra

by Colin Falconer

Crown | December 12, 2000 | Hardcover

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"The most complete woman ever to have existed, the most womanly woman and the most queenly queen, a person to be wondered at . . . whom dreamers find always at the end of their dreams."
-- Theophile Gautier, 1845

Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that stretched from the scorching deserts of lower Egypt to the shining Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria, with its famed libraries, storehouses, and treasuries. Imperiled at every turn by court conspiracies and Roman treachery, the young queen was forced to flee Alexandria and live in exile while a foreign army overran her city and her own siblings plotted her downfall. With nothing to lose, Cleopatra brazenly sought a partnership with the only man who could secure Egypt''s safety: Julius Caesar, a wily politician and battle-hardened general with a weakness for women. The result was a passionate love affair that scandalized Rome and thrust Cleopatra into the glittering but deadly world of imperial intrigue and warfare-- a world that she would mesmerize and manipulate even after Caesar was gone.

At the height of her power and fame, Cleopatra fell in love with Caesar''s protégé and successor, Marc Antony, a handsome general known as much for his drunken hedonism as for his victories in  battle. Brash, irresistible, and fatally unreliable, Antony''s once-strong hold on the Roman Empire was slipping fast, and with it slipped Cleopatra''s fortunes. When the tide had finally, irrevocably turned against her, the proud queen plotted a last, spectacular maneuver that was to save her children, her empire, and her place in the pantheon of gods.

Colin Falconer''s bold, sensuous prose takes the reader inside the walls of Alexandria''s great palaces and into Cleopatra''s very heart, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman who thrived and triumphed in a world ruled by men. This is the story of a legendary woman''s most glorious time, a story that blazes through thousands of years of history to capture the imagination of readers today.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 480 pages, 9.54 × 6.52 × 1.4 in

Published: December 12, 2000

Publisher: Crown

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0609605992

ISBN - 13: 9780609605998

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– More About This Product –

When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra

by Colin Falconer

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 480 pages, 9.54 × 6.52 × 1.4 in

Published: December 12, 2000

Publisher: Crown

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0609605992

ISBN - 13: 9780609605998

Read from the Book

Darkness, cold stone under her fingertips, shadows dancing on the walls, torches flickering in the downdraught of the tunnels. So cold, and damp as death down here, and it was long moments before her eyes became accustomed to the darkness. She heard them before she saw them, their sinuous coilings and cold slithering, as they retreated before the light of the torches. She felt her muscles freeze. She was unable to look away, her limbs paralyzed by the horror in the pit below. There were hundreds of them, countless deaths sliding upon and under, eyes glinting like chips of garnet. The executioner''s storehouse. There an asp, its tongue flicking in and out of its slit mouth in agitation, sensing their presence. Its bite caused agonizing pain that spread to the whole body, and the affected limb was soon covered with ugly purple blotches and swellings. Its victim soon began to retch, and then lost control of bladder and bowels. An ugly death, reserved for criminals who were to be doubly punished. And there, its slender body banded with yellow and brown, the hooded cobra, the divine symbol of Upper Egypt, the royal emblem of pharaoh and Ptolemy alike. The Greeks called it basilisk, or little king. In the Book of the Dead the hooded cobra was the symbol for everlasting life. Its bite was deadly but relatively painless. After a short time its victim''s eyes began to droop, and then they fell quickly into a deep sleep from which they did not return. The fangs left two small marks fro
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From the Publisher

"The most complete woman ever to have existed, the most womanly woman and the most queenly queen, a person to be wondered at . . . whom dreamers find always at the end of their dreams."
-- Theophile Gautier, 1845

Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that stretched from the scorching deserts of lower Egypt to the shining Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria, with its famed libraries, storehouses, and treasuries. Imperiled at every turn by court conspiracies and Roman treachery, the young queen was forced to flee Alexandria and live in exile while a foreign army overran her city and her own siblings plotted her downfall. With nothing to lose, Cleopatra brazenly sought a partnership with the only man who could secure Egypt''s safety: Julius Caesar, a wily politician and battle-hardened general with a weakness for women. The result was a passionate love affair that scandalized Rome and thrust Cleopatra into the glittering but deadly world of imperial intrigue and warfare-- a world that she would mesmerize and manipulate even after Caesar was gone.

At the height of her power and fame, Cleopatra fell in love with Caesar''s protégé and successor, Marc Antony, a handsome general known as much for his drunken hedonism as for his victories in  battle. Brash, irresistible, and fatally unreliable, Antony''s once-strong hold on the Roman Empire was slipping fast, and with it slipped Cleopatra''s fortunes. When the tide had finally, irrevocably turned against her, the proud queen plotted a last, spectacular maneuver that was to save her children, her empire, and her place in the pantheon of gods.

Colin Falconer''s bold, sensuous prose takes the reader inside the walls of Alexandria''s great palaces and into Cleopatra''s very heart, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman who thrived and triumphed in a world ruled by men. This is the story of a legendary woman''s most glorious time, a story that blazes through thousands of years of history to capture the imagination of readers today.

From the Jacket

"The most complete woman ever to have existed, the most womanly woman and the most queenly queen, a person to be wondered at . . . whom dreamers find always at the end of their dreams."
-- Theophile Gautier, 1845

Arrestingly beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Cleopatra VII of Egypt was barely more than a teenager when she inherited the richest empire in the world--one that stretched from the scorching deserts of lower Egypt to the shining Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria, with its famed libraries, storehouses, and treasuries. Imperiled at every turn by court conspiracies and Roman treachery, the young queen was forced to flee Alexandria and live in exile while a foreign army overran her city and her own siblings plotted her downfall. With nothing to lose, Cleopatra brazenly sought a partnership with the only man who could secure Egypt's safety: Julius Caesar, a wily politician and battle-hardened general with a weakness for women. The result was a passionate love affair that scandalized Rome and thrust Cleopatra into the glittering but deadly world of imperial intrigue and warfare-- a world that she would mesmerize and manipulate even after Caesar was gone.

At the height of her power and fame, Cleopatra fell in love with Caesar's protégé and successor, Marc Antony, a handsome general known as much for his drunken hedonism as for his victories in battle. Brash, irresistible, and fatally unreliable, Antony's once-strong hold on the Roman Empire was slipping fast, and with it slipped Cleopatra's fortunes. When the tide had finally, irrevocably turned against her, the proud queen plotted a last, spectacular maneuver that was to save her children, her empire, and her place in the pantheon of gods.

Colin Falconer's bold, sensuous prose takes the reader inside the walls of Alexandria's great palaces and into Cleopatra's very heart, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman who thrived and triumphed in a world ruled by men. This is the story of a legendary woman's most glorious time, a story that blazes through thousands of years of history to capture the imagination of readers today.

About the Author

COLIN FALCONER was born in North London. He is a former journalist and the author of three previous historical novels, which have been published in many languages throughout the world. He travels widely to research his novels but now lives in a small coastal town in western Australia.

From Our Editors

Cleopatra reigned over the world's wealthiest empire and inspired a storm of personal legends. Incredibly beautiful and alarmingly intelligent, Cleopatra sought to protect her people and her empire from Roman treachery by forging an alliance with Julius Caesar. Leading to a love affair that astonished Rome and resulted in open warfare and political upheaval, Cleopatra still managed to maintain the upper hand, even after her lover fell. Drawing its readers inside the walls of ancient Rome and into the deserts of Egypt, Colin Falconer opens the legendary woman's heart in When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra and infuses history with the life-giving source of his prose.

Editorial Reviews

"A sensual and imaginative portrait of a great queen's life and times, her fortunes played out against a backdrop of rich pageantry." -bookreporter.com

"In a prose style as provocative as the scent of Lebanese cedar and vivid as Eastern sun on white marble, Falconer interweaves the themes of power and politics, love and desire. . . . " -Library Journal

"Spectacular historical fiction blazing with intrigue, romance, and dramatic action. The author interweaves the fast-paced narrative with authentic period details that vivify the exotic splendor of ancient Egypt. Falconer paints an enthralling fictional portrait of one of the most powerful and beguiling women of all ages." -Booklist


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Employee Review

This is a fabulous tale of the life and rule of Cleopatra. It follows her time as Queen of the Nile -- and her battle to stay in that position. Throughout the story, we follow her battle to keep Egypt out of the hands of Rome by trying, through her dealings with Julius Caesar and then Marc Antony, to wed Egypt to Rome equally. The descriptions in this story are so amazing, you can actually picture ancient Alexandria and Rome. I highly recommend this title to anyone with any interest in ancient history. If you like the work of Pauline Gedge, you will enjoy this book.
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