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Selene of Alexandria

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Selene strives to be a doctor-hard enough for women in AD 412 in Alexandria, Egypt. Add a Machiavellian bishop, a powerful governor and a famous Lady Philosopher; and Selene must survive riots and political plots, as well as plague.
Paperback, 350 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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Faith Justice
Sep 08, 2010 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Since I'm the author, no one would give any credence to my review, so I want to take the time and make the space to thank all the folks who have reviewed Selene of Alexandria here, at Library Thing, on,, Smashwords, personal blogs and all the other places reviews keep popping up. I really appreciate the time people have taken to, not only read the book, but make their thoughts known to fellow readers. Writing is a notoriously lonely business. The only time authors know we have ...more
Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
There are a number of novels dealing with Hypatia that portray her as if she were a feminist romance heroine. I commend Faith Justice's authenticity and restraint with regard to Hypatia. Although I confess to enjoying the legend of Hypatia even though I know it has little resemblance to fact. I have read Hypatia of Alexandria by Maria Dzielska which is the most authoritative biography of Hypatia.

I very much liked Selene, the central character. Reading about women in the past who studied medicine
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Selene is set in Alexandria in AD 412. It is the story of Selene, a young woman who wishes to break free from her father's expectations for her to marry and have children to become a physician and spend her life helping others in need. We follow her as she works to convince her father to let her study to be a physician and then see her struggle to be the only woman studying medicine at that time. She faces many dangers along the way, Alexandria was a dangerous place filled with many different pe ...more
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, well-written account of 5th century Alexandria, through the story of Selene, an upper-class girl, who cherishes and fulfills her ambitions of becoming a doctor and escapes the circumscribed life of marriage, running a home, and children under the thumb of an all-powerful husband. We are also thrust into the tumultuous years of that time, with religious dissention and riots between pagans, Jews and various Christian sects, the Machiavellian Patriarch Cyril, the famous woman philosoph ...more
Waheed Rabbani
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Medical and Philosophical Teachings, Romance, Witchcraft Accusations and Mob Violence in the 410s AD of Roman Alexandria

While most of us are familiar with the early Egyptian historical periods, during the reign of the Pharos, Alexander, Cleopatra, Caesar, Mark Anthony and others, little is known about a Greek lady philosopher named Hypatia. Faith Justice has chosen to pen a historical fiction novel during Hypatia’s life and times in Alexandria during the 410s AD. By then although Christianity ha
Amy Lignor
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a lifelong daughter of a research librarian - and an absolute historic "guru and geek" - I was so pleased to see this book. In fact, this book in my hands is like giving chocolate to a child (I babbled so much about how much I liked it, that I got sent to my room).

The white limestone walls of Alexandria once rose from the Mediterranean Sea like a beacon of light. The most intuitive people and the most amazing minds throughout history sat in Alexandria's famous libraries and museums, speaking
Jessie Marie

My favorite genre. My favorite time period. Even a feminine heroine and a certain level on unpredictability. It’s a match made in heaven as far as I’m concerned. I started this off by mentioning everything it gave me. I can’t imagine what more I needed. A rating scale I follow says that a 3 star rating is that it was a so-so read. I think it was less than so-so, perhaps even mediocre. Somewhere in between, I think so.

Even people who don’t read historical fiction as obsessively as I do woul
Tara Chevrestt
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I almost gave this a three, but the last quarter and the surprise ending brought it up to a four.

The beginning starts great. Readers meet Selene, a young lady of a reputable family Alexandria, Egypt. Note that this is an Alexandria ruled by Rome so it is actually a part of Rome in this particular time. A new Prefect, Orestes is just arriving to take the reigns of the city that is being ruined by religion wars. While Alexandria's Christians and Jews are constantly rioting in the streets and Ores
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book as an HFiction group choice and as a new writer...and I bought it despite the price which was three times a bookstore paperbook of a mainstream writer.
The setting is 5 star and well described with good imagery and detail that takes us into this bustling city and its conflicts.
But what is it about...I struggled to find what the plot was and the pace was way way too slow. In fact, I wasn't clear what the story was or the 'character arc' i.e how the heroine changes
J.M. Cornwell
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I chose this book because Hypatia the woman philosopher was mentioned and I thought she would have a central presence in the story. She does and she doesn't.

The new patriarch of the Catholic church was Cyril, a young Reader whose uncle, Theophilus, was dying and determined his nephew should take his place as Patriarch. Had Timothy, a much older and more moderate man, become Patriarch the history of that time would likely have been very different. Selene is the daughter of a council member and a

It is 412 A.D., and while Selene should be joining her friends in getting married and starting a family, instead she dreams of becoming a physician. She seeks out Hypatia, Alexandria's famous Lady Philosopher, to become her patron and mentor. Hypatia agrees to support Selene and introduces her to teachers at the Museum; Selene begins her studies, happily unaware of the political unrest in the city. However, Cyril, the new Patriarch of Alexandria's Catholic Church, is determined to drive out paga ...more
Jennifer Defoy
Aug 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book has everything... It was such a great story.

I LOVED Selene, she was such a great character. I'm really finding it hard to describe her. There were times when she was so strong, emotionally, and yet other times when she would let her emotions take over. She was so strong-willed and yet still understood her place in her world and did as she was supposed to do. I guess the best way I can think to describe her would be, she was a real woman.

I was very attached to Selene. She was just so
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
I don't like saying unpleasant things about a book. It seems to me writers have a hard enough time. But to claim this book is well researched is very misleading. There's so little known about Hypatia that research into her actual life could take maybe two hours. Various people complain that books mentioning Hypatia aren't accurate. Excuse me, but what do we really know? What's accurate mean? Scholars pride themselves on their research. I've read their research. It's like research into Shakespear ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Selene is a rich man's daughter living in Alexandria in 412 AD. Not content with the life of a noble Christian woman, she seeks knowledge and freedom. After meeting Lady Philosopher Hypatia and convincing her father to allow her to continue her studies, Selene enters the Museum as a student. She excels at her classes, much to the delight of her father and chagrin of the other elite living in Alexandria. Cyril, the new patriarch of the Alexandrian Church wants to convert Alexandria to complete Ch ...more
Andrea Love
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
This is a book with everything, historical setting, intrigue, mystery, social and political conflict. It is well written and I truly appreciate the dedication the author showed by staying as true as possible to the scant historical record while maintaining the integrity of her story. Selene's story is more than a coming of age tale. The story encompasses the social unrest which ultimately brings down huge empires from the inside; it explores the role religious figures have played in shaping the ...more
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. After a kind of slow start I really did get into the story and wanted to see what was going to happen, not only to Selene but to the other characters too.
I thought that the author did an excellent job of creating the tension in the story between the political and the religious factions existing in Alexandria at the time and bringing them to life with in the persons of Orestes and Cyril. Adding the stories of Selene and her family made this a great read.
Until I read this nov
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book made me nuts. I have the hardest time dealing with religious conflicts, death in the name of the "god" of said religion. I know it was historical and I really did like the characters, but the religious persecution is just a sore spot with me.
I am facinated by the "Lady Philosopher" and would like to learn more about her. The fictional character was well written, even though she is young in the beginning, you have to remember that children grew up very fast during this time period.
N.E. White
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story, extremely well researched, and superb writing. Didn't get the full five stars from me because I didn't get as engaged with Selene, the main character as much as I would have liked. Highly recommended.

I wrote a longer review here, and I can't be bothered to re-write it for on over!
Anne Ipsen
Oct 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Anne by: Historical Fictionistas
Shelves: historical-novel
This novel about Christian Alexandria is well-told, the apparently well-researched historical details interesting, and the writing excellent. By all measures, I should therefore have loved this book about a time about which I knew nothing and the dedication of the protagonist for becoming a healer, yet I could never feel close to Selene, never truly care what happened. Perhaps the fault is mine.
Jun 26, 2013 marked it as wish-list
wait for price to come down
Rather good: At first I thought this was going to be the book version of Agora the 2010 movie that depicted this part of Hypatia of Alexandria's life, and since I knew the basic parameters of the story I was reluctant to dive into it for the story is depressing one of deep political intrigue, hypocrisy, and a turning point in history where things went bad and got worse. This book surprised me though it's not the story of Hypatia but of her student Selene someone who I knew nothing about also had ...more
Sekhar N Banerjee
A fascinating read

I knew the story on Hypatia, but this novel woven around Selene, author’s creation was really a fascinating read. I enjoyed reading every page of the book.
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Faith L. Justice is a science geek and history junkie who writes award-winning novels, short stories, and articles in her historic Brooklyn home. She’s published in venues such as, Writer's Digest, Strange Horizons, The Copperfield Review and Circles in the Hair.

You can read her stories, interviews with famous authors, and sample chapters of her novels at her website . Check out her

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“I am constantly amazed by how little difference there is between religions.' Selene sighed. 'It seems the arguments are always over the details. Mary or Isis, Jesus or Horus. Maybe Hypatia is right and names don't matter, just the search for godliness in the life we live.” 3 likes
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