Wow, this was a long book. It took me 3 weeks to read. It's one that I've had on my to read list for a long time, but had always been daunted by its size. I lost count of the number of times I'd picked it up in the book store but had put it down because I just wasn't sure that I was ready for a book that's almost 1000 pages long! Anyway, I was put out of my misery when I got it as my gift in our group's Secret Santa and so I finally got over my size-related anxiety and picked it up!
I've been fascinated by Ancient Egypt since we covered the topic at school when I was 8 or 9. I've some non-fiction books over the years and, as I said, this has been on my TBR list for a while. As soon as I started reading I was transported into the surroundings, sights and sounds of Ancient Egypt and the description was so vivid and detailed that I really felt like I was immersed in Egyptian life. Well, the life of the Royals anyway. Sometimes though, there was a little too much description and I wondered why the editor hadn't asked the author to trim it down a little.
Despite having to depict a whole lifetime in 957 pages, the plot was quite slow to develop. This gave more time for character development and as such the characters were very well built - obviously Cleopatra had to be, but the supporting characters were well explored too. I felt, though, that this meant that there were slow parts to the plot and, coupled with the overuse of description, this resulted in me skim-reading in places.
Looking past these flaws though, this was an entertaining read. I'm not sure how true-to-life the plot was as I only knew the basics about Cleopatra before reading this book, but there was definitely enough intrigue, mystery, death, love, lust and loathing in there to make me keep reading.