Saturday, 3 December 2011

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Queen of KingsQueen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a must read for fans of historical fiction and supernatural fantasy as it combines both in a fantastic explosion of forgotten gods, curses and spells, shamans and priests, ghosts and murder, love and revenge.

It all begins from the day Cleopatra is tricked into believing her lover Mark Antony is defeated in battle and he is tricked into believing Cleopatra has completed the suicide pact she made with him.

Of course when Cleopatra learns the truth it is too late to save Mark and the conquerer Augustus goes on to rub her nose in it which only makes her more pissed off as you would expect. So she makes an even more dangerous pact with a blood-lustful god of Sekhet who claims Cleopatra's soul and lives on in her spirit giving her body strange powers and strength.

It then of leads of course to the famous scene where Cleopatra is 'killed' by a a cobra but how can anyone die if they have no soul?

She of course espcapes from her own tomb thanks to her new enchanting relationship to creatures of the night like snakes and bats.

Augustus does his best to keep the rumours of her rising from the dead a secret but it has seriously spooked him enough to send out his soldiers far and wide to 'hire' powerful mages, shaman and forgotten Priestesses to protect him from whatever sorcery Cleopatra yields in her undead form.

At first Cleopatra merely wants to rescue her children from being royal hostages and escape to the south but after witnessing the death of one of the sons she bore with Mark Antony revenge and Sehket surge forth in ways beyond human imagination.

And so the story rolls on as the magic and power of Cleopatra's will and Sekhet's hunger for blood do battle across land and people with the sorcerers hired by Augustus (although each has their own motive and story to accompany they're powers) taking many lives both innocent and guilty to the god of death, Hades but will this endless savage quest for honour and revenge reunite Cleopatra with Mark and her son the way she hoped?

Although the first half of the story is truly seat gripping, heart wrenching and bone shaking in the gore and savagery of the new Cleopatra half human half god, it does lead to a bit of an unrealistic but gob-smacking battle of roman legions and the powers of gods from up high and down below as each part of this complex tale tries to accomplish their own agenda against each other.

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