Intrigued by the interesting premise, I began this book with enthusiasm. Finally, after a spate of young-adult quick-reads, to be challenged by a real grown-up historical fiction. But, alas, it was not to be. The author has very obviously done a great deal of research, and I respect her scholarship. But the study of this tome would require a great deal of commitment - of both time and concentration. I read for about a week, and she (Cleopatra) had just taken up with Julius Caesar -- and the discussion of the whys and wherefores and consequences of that alliance went on for chapters, and finally wore out my patience. I may try again, prior to our book club's discussion of this book -- I have renewed the checkout at the library. But reading this feels more like a chore than a pleasure. Alas.