Antony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough
A Novel

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A sweeping epic of ancient Rome from the #1 bestselling author of The Thorn Birds

In this breathtaking follow-up to The October Horse, Colleen McCullough turns her attention to the legendary romance of Antony and Cleopatra, and in this timeless tale of love, politics, and power, proves once again that she is the best historical novelist of our time.

Caesar is dead, and Rome is, again, divided. Lepidus has retreated to Africa, while Antony rules the opulent East, and Octavian claims the West, the heart of Rome, as his domain. Though this tense truce holds civil war at bay, Rome seems ripe for an emperor -- a true Julian heir to lay claim to Caesar's legacy. With the bearing of a hero, and the riches of the East at his disposal, Antony seems poised to take the prize. Like a true warrior-king, he is a seasoned general whose lust for power burns alongside a passion for women, feasts, and Chian wine. His rival, Octavian, seems a less convincing candidate: the slight, golden-haired boy is as controlled as Antony is indulgent and as cool-headed and clear-eyed as Antony is impulsive. Indeed, the two are well matched only in ambition.

And though politics and war are decidedly the provinces of men in ancient Rome, women are adept at using their wits and charms to gain influence outside their traditional sphere. Cleopatra, the ruthless, golden-eyed queen, welcomes Antony to her court and her bed but keeps her heart well guarded. A ruler first and a woman second, Cleopatra has but one desire: to place her child on his father, Julius Caesar's, vacant throne. Octavian, too, has a strong woman by his side: his exquisite wife, raven-haired Livia Drusilla, who learns to wield quiet power to help her husband in his quest for ascendancy. As the plot races toward its inevitable conclusion -- with battles on land and sea -- conspiracy and murder, love and politics become irrevocably entwined.

McCullough's knowledge of Roman history is detailed and extensive. Her masterful and meticulously researched narrative is filled with a cast of historical characters whose motives, passions, flaws, and insecurities are vividly imagined and expertly drawn. The grandeur of ancient Rome comes to life as a timeless human drama plays out against the dramatic backdrop of the Republic's final days.

About Colleen McCullough

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Colleen McCullough, a native of Australia, established the department of neurophysiology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney before working as a researcher at Yale Medical School for ten years. She is the bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Thorn Birds, and lives with her husband on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.
Published December 4, 2007 by Simon & Schuster. 580 pages
Genres: History, Romance, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Antony and Cleopatra

Kirkus Reviews

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The latest volume in McCullough's ancient Rome series tracks Antony's precarious alliances with his lover, Cleopatra, and his nemesis, Octavian.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Antony and Cleopatra: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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McCullough (The Thorn Birds ; The October Horse ) continues her Masters of Rome series with a chronicle of one of history'

Sep 17 2007 | Read Full Review of Antony and Cleopatra: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Upon Julius Caesar's assassination, his heir, Octavian, and former ally Mark Antony find themselves in an intense power struggle.

Nov 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Antony and Cleopatra: A Novel


Basically, it’s good overview to Roman history as the republic transitioned to an empire but it doesn’t necessarily spend as much time on Cleopatra and Antony as one might hope from the title (obviously context is important, though).

Aug 17 2010 | Read Full Review of Antony and Cleopatra: A Novel

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