Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra” as Want to Read:
When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra

by
3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,066 ratings  ·  127 reviews
"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
...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Crown (first published 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When We Were Gods, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about When We Were Gods

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,066 ratings  ·  127 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Ahmad Sharabiani
When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra, Colin Falconer
In When We Were Gods, Colin Falconer's bold, sensuous prose brings to life the mysterious, glamorous Cleopatra as she really was: strong, ambitious, complicated, and a women well ahead of her time, wielding great power in a man's world. From her early ascent to the throne of Egypt to her passionate, politically tangled relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and her tireless battle to preserve her nation at all costs, we meet a fier
...more
Suzy
Feb 04, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: very desperate readers
This question has long plagued me about historical novels: why, pray tell, WHY are women always 'cursing their weak hearts' for craving love? In every book where the main character happens to be female (Cleo, Joan of Arc, Queen Elizabeth, JEZEBEL for heaven's sake) this line inevitably appears in some form or another. Can't there be one woman who is utterly ruthless, supremely disciplined and seeks nothing more than gratification and the odd opened jar from men? The stereotype of the eternally l ...more
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
I have just found this at the newspaper stand for only 7.7 Ron (they had quite a few of Colin Falconer's books at the same price).

********************************

I am fascinated with Cleopatra. I like reading books/watching movies about her. I am aware the historical truth must be lost, yet she will always be remembered.

I appreciate that Cleopatra is portrayed as having only two lovers during her lifetime. Yet she is not perfect. She is cunning and has to be in order to keep her throne. And I'm
...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
For a book entitled When We Were Gods, Falconer spends a ton of time creating disagreeable human characters. His Cleopatra is a simpering, ineffectual, fragile, weeping creature with Victorian values. Marc Antony is an oversexed lush and the great Caesar is not involved in the plot long enough to have the same impact that he assuredly had on history.
Once Cleopatra stops whining "hold me", "he doesn't love me", we finally get a glimpse at her intelligence and courage. Antony continues to have ze
...more
Andreea  Drăgan
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Singurul lucru care a stat in calea Cleopatrei a fost faptul ca s-a nascut femeie, intr-o lume si perioada in care barbatii nu concepeau ca noi putem sa stam pe aceeasi treapta ca ei...
Monique
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finished this monsterous historical romance while I was getting eight hour micro braids and must say I was completely content to read and lose myself in ancient Egypt again with my favorite woman ruler, Cleopatra..I am so intrigued by this beautiful ambitious woman that had not only men at her disposal but gods on earth reincarnated through Julius Caesar and Marc Antony..This book takes us from Cleopatra's childhood to her untimely demise highlighting her quest for power and security for herself ...more
Danielle
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 21-in-12
While the story itself is a great one, the writing is shaky and I found myself frequently bored with repetitive statements or thoughts from characters.
Renee Thompson
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The detail and emotion throughout was riveting. I felt like I was there throughout the entire book, which isn't necessarily a good thing, given all the lopping off of heads and whatnot. Falconer does an amazing job at writing several years' worth of history into a single book, and making all the names and battles memorable and significant. This is my first Falconer book, and I fully intend to immerse myself in the rest of his stories.
Ana Mardoll
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
When We Were Gods / 0-609-80889-3

Falconer shows his prowess yet again at bringing history to life, in a vivid landscape, dominated by a powerful (and yet deeply politically vulnerable woman) who is frighteningly compelling. Falconer seems to specialize in strong women who are fundamentally unreliable narrators and sometimes anti-heroes and yet we are drawn to their courage and we admire their drive and ambition, even when we do not agree with their motives.

You see this in "Feathered Serpent", a
...more
Marichee
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was an OK book. It was interesting in that it covered Cleopatra's early life, as much as it could. What her life in the royal house was like with a mousy brother who was supposed to rule. We also got a quick tour of what it was like being with Celius Juser. Um. Sulius Jeezer. Oh, heck. Whatever his name is!

The best part is that we got an idea of what kind of queen she might have been, and why Egypt was so rich. And I do mean RICH. She knew something of national management, if anything in th
...more
Liviu
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mainstream, read_2009
(review March 2016)

I remembered about this book as I've come across a book of the author that interests me since it takes place in Romania during WW2 ;

I read When We Were Gods a while ago - cannot say when for sure but it was in a period i was fascinated with Cleopatra's story and reading a few of the many novels dedicated to her (there is one I really enjoyed by Margaret George, there is another by Gillian Bradshaw which is an what if her son with Caesar survived, and many others) and I still
...more
Alethea
Jan 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I did not finish this book. Not because it was poorly written or because it lacked comprehension or realism; to put it bluntly, I got bored. Margaret George's Cleopatra novel was so vivid in my memory's comparison, while this book just seemed to be going on interminably. That may be due to my familiarity (somewhat) with the Cleopatra story, or perhaps it's due to some other factor. I just found myself, instead of being absorbed into the text, anxious to move on to other books and didn't seem to ...more
Deepa
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An engrossing historical fiction for people fascinated by Egypt. The strong characters take the tale forward
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
When We Were Gods / 0-609-80889-3

Falconer shows his prowess yet again at bringing history to life, in a vivid landscape, dominated by a powerful (and yet deeply politically vulnerable woman) who is frighteningly compelling. Falconer seems to specialize in strong women who are fundamentally unreliable narrators and sometimes anti-heroes and yet we are drawn to their courage and we admire their drive and ambition, even when we do not agree with their motives.

You see this in "Feathered Serpent", a
...more
Leonide Martin
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A curious, thought-provoking treatment of some of history's most famous characters. Cleopatra begins as a teenage girl contending with ruthless Ptolemy family intrigues, soon escaping to save her life sequestered in the desert. She alternately appears confident and magnetic, then insecure and immature. It seems doubtful even that young she would ever be as vulnerable and self-doubting as Falconer portrays her. Watching her character arc develop is quite fascinating, and despite some setbacks in ...more
Linda
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were some editing problems, but this was a wonderful read. The contrasts between Julius Caesar and Marc Antony were brilliantly drawn. Of the great love stories throughout history, I have wondered why Antony, rather than Julius, is coupled with Cleopatra. Maybe Shakespeare deemed it so. Cleopatra proves that it is difficult to be a god, a ruler, a mother and a woman. She never realized the depth of Caesar's devotion. She understood Antony's devotion too late. He had to look upon her face o ...more
Rebecca
I would give this 3 1/2 stars. This is not (as many have asked me) the new non-fiction book on Cleopatra. It's also not (as I had expected) a trashy romance novel about Cleopatra. Much to my delight, it's historical fiction a la Philippa Gregory and I actually got to learn some presumably real things about Cleopatra and her life. To be honest, I really only vaguely new the story of Cleopatra from grade-school stories, and it was interesting to read an account of her as a strong, savvy and strate ...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Okay, so you've got Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony. Rich material, right? Should be an awesome story, right? Wrong. Way wrong. At least in this book, it's wrong.

None of the characters ever felt remotely real. It felt like the author had a Barbie doll in one hand and a Ken doll in the other hand, and he just moved them around and told a somewhat disjointed story.

Also, there were 127 chapters in a book that is 462 pages long. And within those short little chapters, there was generally
...more
Tiffany
Oct 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical epics
Recommended to Tiffany by: found it at the library
If you want some historical Alexandrian romance and you like Cleopatra and Antony, then this is the story for you. I did like this book, I borrowed it from the library and read it fairly quickly. It was kind of an insight into day to day life in the tumultuous affairs of Cleopatra, and the actual "affairs" with Antony and Julius Caesar. Gave me a good backdrop on the era and this history of the times and the place, from Rome to Alexandria. Good book.
DerekC
Sep 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoy historical reimaginings this book insults the history scholar.
Anne Gerth
May 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: set-aside
Just ok and really hard to read. Finally decided to set this aside and move on to better books. So many books...so little time!
Vennela
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone.
Just average.

The story should have been extremely compelling given the characters involved, but the writing style sorta ruined it.
Gina Ferreyra
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the story, but editing is terrible

Loved the story, but editing is terrible. This is the third book I’ve read by this author and cannot figure out why more care isn’t taken in the editing of his books. I would be embarrassed! It detracts from the story but not enough for me to stop reading.
Lucy Gray
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
well I consider myself a bit of an Egyptian buff and have read quite a few novels featuring Caesar, Cleopatra et al. This was a fairly average novel, in terms of pace and action, but I was impressed with the depiction of both Cleopatra and Antony. Cleopatra's wisdom over the years showed insight and Antony's debauchery was nothing short of shocking. Will look out for other novels by Falconer.
GBC
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book and story.
I had chosen this book to learn more about Cleopatra and I certainly did. Unfortunately I found her to be less of a Goddess and more of a woman living in a mans world.
A good read all the same, although it left me little appetite to read more on Cleopatra.
Josée
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this book taught me anything, it was that Cleopatra was a badass who kept getting betrayed by white dudes.
I'm really not into historical fiction so I was shocked with how much I enjoyed this narrative of her life.
Beth Robinson-Kinney
There were parts of this book that were enjoyable, but the end was unbearably protracted. This author's language was maudlin, even for a book about Cleopatra. This novel would have benefitted from a ruthless editor and 100 fewer pages.
Molly Berger
Interesting to learn more about Cleopatra but felt the author did her a disservice by painting her as a desperate woman. I can tell this was written by a man.
Maggie
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such opulence and grandeur.
andriana
Not for a history buff

Interesting read. Don't go into this thinking it's historically accurate, it's not. Every other word i had to look up the meaning, small annoyance.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kleopatra (Kleopatra, #1)
  • Throne of Isis
  • Cleopatra's Heir
  • Child of the Morning
  • The Memoirs of Helen of Troy
  • Hand of Isis (Numinous World, #3)
  • Cleopatra's Secret: Keepers of the Light
  • Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World
  • Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead (Rai Rahotep, #1)
  • Cleopatra: A Biography
  • The Empire of Darkness (Queen of Freedom, #1)
  • Selene of Alexandria
  • Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
  • Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #1)
337 followers

I write crime fiction and historical fiction. I’ve published twenty-six novels so far, and been lucky enough to have them translated into 23 languages. Real ones too, not just Esperanto and cockney rhyming slang.

My favourite character is DI Charlie George, who you may have met if you’ve read Lucifer Falls. Charlie was originally named after our two spaniels, Charlie and George. Charlie is the ext
...more