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The Memoirs of Cleopatra

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  18,287 ratings  ·  1,212 reviews
Bestselling novelist Margaret George brings to life the glittering kingdom of Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, in this lush, sweeping, and richly detailed saga.

Told in Cleopatra's own voice, The Memoirs of Cleopatra is a mesmerizing tale of ambition, passion, and betrayal in the ancient Egyptian world, which begins when the twenty-year-old queen seeks out the most powerful m
Paperback, 964 pages
Published May 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Emerald I just finished this and I'll write a review later. I will say the book is written in first person, that is to say, Cleopatra is telling her own life …moreI just finished this and I'll write a review later. I will say the book is written in first person, that is to say, Cleopatra is telling her own life story to the reader. I was blown away with the mastery with which George wrote this book. It is well worth the read and no, it's not some romance/sex filled book. Historically, it is extremely accurate and has been very well researched. (less)
Terri There is sex - not particularly graphic. A mature teenager could read this.

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Feb 11, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Argh....this book needed a good editor. As with all of George's books, I get about half way in and begin to lose interest. While the historical detail is wonderful, it took the author 4 pages to say that Cleopatra took a swim.

Started the book in Egypt in December and had to put it down for a while.
Sep 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I can't believe this book is over...I feel a sense of accomplishment for having finished it (it's really, really long) and a sense of loss that it's over. The writing is so beautiful and real that it isn't a stretch at all to imagine that Cleopatra wrote it herself. There are so many incredible sentences in this book I could write page after page of quotes. Some of my favorites: "Always carry a limited gold service with you, was my motto." and "When fate offers you no choice you must appear ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of all works of fiction, this book certainly gives the most indepth account of the fascinating and tragic Queen of Egypt.

The author has clearly done extensive research and aquits this research well, in an entertaining and exteremly informative way.
Not only does she have an impressive array of books and documents that she studied before embarking on this work, but she travelled to Egypt, Rome, Israel and Jordan, and spent four years working on this epic.

The author explains that her sympathy is wi
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a tradition for me to read each summer. I relished school getting out and lounging in the pool, day by day, and reading through these pages. It took the whole summer to read, too, because this book is a monster.

After graduating college, I stopped reading this book every summer. But I still pick it up time to time and read my favorite passages.

If you have any interest at all in Queen Cleopatra, you will love this book. However, if you're like me, after reading this book any other bo
3.5 stars, but I'm going to round it up to 4 because the enjoyment I got out of it outweighed the flaws.

The positives, to me, were:

The focus: It's a Cleopatra novel that is actually about Cleopatra. My major contention with other novels about the last Pharaoh is that they tend to emphasise too much on her liaisons with Caesar and Antony to the detriment of herself as a ruler. Cleopatra had a life of her own independent of these Roman men who, while certainly very important in her life, weren't t
Oct 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is my car book...what is a car book? The book I keep in my car for those occasions such as appointments, waiting or dining out alone, when I want a book to read. I have owned this book since November of 2006 and I am only, maybe, halfway through it...but I have loved savoring it in these short bursts. I have often thought of pulling it out of the car and reading it full stop, but then I think it would spoil the fun.

I love this book! First career was as an archaeologist, so I LOVE all the ti
Debbie Zapata
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dar
I think my timing was off for trying to read this book. I thought it would be a wonderful escape from our real world; after all, what could be further away from all of this mess than Egypt in Cleopatra's time?

But I noticed problems right away. Of course I kept picturing Cleopatra looking like Liz Taylor. I know they didn't look anything near similar, but when you've seen the movie a zillion times, your brain has images it can't erase with mere words.

I read up to about page 300 when I realized I
I wouldn’t have thought it possible to make the reign of Queen Cleopatra dull, but that’s exactly what Margaret George has achieved in The Memoirs of Cleopatra, a 900+ page hair-puller of a novel. Books like this make me wish I wasn’t a Finisher. I wish I had mastered the art of abandoning a novel halfway through, but, alas, once I start a book, I’m committed.

Not that Memoirs is a total loss. I set out to read it wanting to learn more about Queen Cleopatra’s reign and I’ve certainly done that. T
We use what we have, and I have been blessed indeed by what fate has send my way.

This was an amazing book about an extraordinary woman. I am intimidated by big books (this one was almost 1200 pages), as I am always scared that I'll get bored halfway through. This was definitely not a problem with The Memoirs of Cleopatra. I walked away feeling that I knew Cleopatra, Caesar, Marc Anthony, and that I had walked the streets of Alexandria and Rome.
The author writes beautifully, and I really appreci
I tried my best, I really did. Made it to 300 pages out of 1063. I just can't waste any more of my time into a book that reads like a 15-year-old's school essay about Cleopatra VII. It was obviously well researched, and the first page promised a lot. I love verbose descriptions when they're done well, but George's bulky and awkward sentences made me want to tear my hair off and stick scarabs into my eyes. Quite heartbreaking actually, because I had such enormous expectations based on the GR rati ...more
The April read for my Tome Topple challenge.

"Madness" has been known to be defined as "picking up a thousand page novel within a week of finishing another one". No regrets here, though. 😂

Admittedly, you need to be a certain type of reader to pick up this book. It's over 1,000 pages, and if that's not enough, George's novel is pretty slow paced. Not that there isn't any action, but there's an incredible amount of detail, and you need to be fairly patient.

Going into this, the only thing I knew abo
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read, a page-turner. I thought that 900 pgs of historical fiction would make me gag, but the plot was well-developed, the story tight, and the writing good. A great love story written as if from Cleopatra herself.
Jeanette Lewis
This is an epic novel of 944 pages ending with the Tenth Scroll of Cleopatra's life. Much has been told in books and movies of the adult life of this incredible woman, however the childhood of Cleopatra is what enticed me to read this book. The author creates a vivid picture of the life of this young woman destined initially to share through protocol the ruling of Egypt with her younger brother Ptolemy, 9 years old. Fourteen year old Cleopatra is aghast at the thought of marriage as was the trad ...more
Lukas Anthony
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
WOW, this book truly feels like an accomplishment to complete. My edition totalled 1137 pages, which probably makes it the largest book I have ever read. I'm also sad that it's actually over too, as it was a surprisingly engrossing read.

I think my enjoyment of this novel was helped out by the fact that I knew very little of Cleopatra's life before reading, I knew of the basics of course. Her affairs with Caesar and Anthony, and her chosen form of death, but other than that I was completely igno
But still a very good read. Very well written and researched story about an incredibly fascinating, intelligent, courageous and loving woman, a brilliant politician, but above all that a Queen. There are times when the book drags on a bit, with long descriptions of feasts, the court and court life and the business of running the country, but when she met up with Caesar (sp?) and then again with Marc Anthony things really started to cook, especially the final heartbreaking moments at the end. The ...more
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-novel
Whew! What a long book. This was my first foray into anything Cleopatran and I thought it was well worth it. I like long books, but this one was almost too long for me. Especially the last third of the book became very repetitive. How many times can she pine over Antony and worry about her children inheriting an Empire without sounding droll? Then again, it probably was an agonizing time of waiting for her - no emails or cell phone or AP newswire in those days to keep you informed.

I really got a
Oct 14, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Well, I gave this my best shot. I wanted to love this book, but at 28% I'm setting it aside. It just doesn't have much action. When it does I enjoyed it, but it is primarily long-winded descriptions of the environment. I like learning about these things, but I learn fast. When it goes on and on I find myself getting bored or even falling asleep. I've had several friends rave about this book and so out of respect to them I tried to carry on as long as I could. I'm just not having fun with it at t ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This fictional account about Cleopatra was well researched and included many details that few know. It is a work of fiction and to make a story, one has to take liberties. Overall, it was well done, given the many sources that provide conflicting opinions. 
Jan 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
FAVORITE book of all time. I would love to know Cleopatra.
Brittany B.
5 Stars + This is beyond so far beyond most books that 5 stars isn't nearly enough...

In a class by itself, I fell in love with Cleopatra and learned more ancient history than I did in school. Truly extraordinary. Margaret George is THE FINEST AUTHOR of historical fiction. I wasn't even interested in Cleopatra, but George opened my eyes to a true goddess on earth.

The research George did for the book is unbelievable, but it is placed so seamlessly into the story that you hardly realize what it
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
I did it! I finished the bloody book.


And I give it more like 2.5 stars because it was ok and I liked it every now and then.

But most of the times I disliked its length. There were too many pages for the smallest of things. I felt them creeping at me.

Then again, what I found most appealing was Cleopatra's portrayal. She is not some evil, man-eating seductress. Actually, she has only 2 lovers during her lifetime in Memoirs of Cleopatra.

Anyway, I'm just glad it's over!

Aug 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Lovers
Shelves: royalty, egypt, favorites
I just loved this huge book. It took over my life for a month.
Cleopatra narrates her life story from a young princess to her rise as the notorious Queen of Egypt.
This book is truly an epic. The details, descriptions, scandals and characters are vivid and staggering.
Egypt and the Roman Empire are characters in their own right.
It’s been a whirlwind history lesson and has left me wanting to learn more about the Roman Empire and its movers and shakers.
It’s a book that completely consumes you and
Charlotte Guzman
This was a very, very long book, but a great one. My favorite type of book to read (historical novel) and this author is my all time favorite in this genre. I read two others by this author and loved those also.
This kind of book isn't for everyone but I love to learn about history with the story of the character to go along.
Cleopatra was a big story to tell and the author told from Cleopatra's POV. This made it very personal throughout the book and so I was inside the story the whole time.
I'd give this book 4.5 stars. It was a great read but I would not re-read this book, which is a requirement of me giving it 5 stars. The story itself was beautifully written, I was a little disappointed Cleopatra's story revolved around men versus a strong female lead. the characters had great development and was a great read for lovers of historical fiction.
Margaret George has done it again! Just as she did in The Autobiography of Henry VIII, Margaret George has given an utterly realistic voice to a famous historical figure, while remaining true to the facts contained in whatever documented sources are available.

Many other novels about Cleopatra focus only on her affairs with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Many of them also repeat the myths and inaccurate stories about her that grew out of Roman propaganda.

Books like these usually ignore the facts
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Queen of Egypt, speaking in a unique voice expressing unexpected thoughts…

I’d admit that I put off reading this novel for the longest time—its thickness was an excuse I harped on, fearing that I might get bored with the story without even reaching the half of it (despite reviews to the contrary).

Of course, I realized the foolishness of this sentiment soon enough when I found myself staying up well into the hours of the night, turning page after page, losing myself in the grandiosity and hars
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any historical fiction fan (who isn't afraid of big books)
For my complete review, visit my blog:

Can we give more than 5 stars to a book? was the first thing I thought when I finished this wonderfully-written book. During half a month, The Memoirs of Cleopatra by [author: Margaret George) made me travel in different places like Ancient Rome, Alexandria (Egypt) and even Nubia and gave me the opportunity to encounter Cleopatra (of course), Caesar, Marc Antony… Written in the first person like an autobiography, we f
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book this large is an accomplishment no matter the reader .

Most people have reviewed this as not great because of every conversation being discussed - I disagree I loved the level of detail the author created and the dialogues at every stage of the story.

As you can see from my reading history I love ancient Egypt so this novel just fulfilled my need for a book that felt it wasn’t going to end ...sadly it did.

Great novel !
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Finally finished! it took me more than 2 weeks to read this, I feel a mix of relief and accomplishment in moving the longest books from my TBR into the read folder.
I think that Cleopatra characterization was a bit off, in this novel, she seems to be moved almost exclusively by romantic passion, often complaining and sulking. Her portrayal is far from the calculating and shrewd ruler I was expecting. She was an intelligent and learned woman able to hold her enemies (both internal and external) a
Margaret George has a way with words. This is my first MG book and what a book to start with! I confess, it took me a while to get into it, though I appreciated what I read I was not pulled in. The book is a staggering 956 pages (if you don't include th authors notes etc.) and while the book read like poetry at times it also got tedious in the explanations of things; such is history though. Though I know that Julius Caesar and Cleopatra's relationship is very much more romantic in the book than ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Memoirs of Cleopatra/Margaret George - 4 stars 10 26 Sep 21, 2016 05:02PM  

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Margaret George is a rolling stone who has lived in many places, beginning her traveling at the age of four when her father joined the U.S. diplomatic service and was posted to a consulate in Taiwan. The family traveled on a freighter named after Ulysses' son Telemachus that took thirty days to reach Taiwan, where they spent two years. Following that they lived in Tel Aviv (right after the 1948 wa ...more

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