Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Margaret Carver Leighton’s Cleopatra: Sister of the Moon describes the glories and intrigues that make up the history of Egypt and Rome in the last half of the first century b.c. The book focuses on Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt. Cleopatra was descended from Ptolemy, the lieutenant of Alexander the Great who seized control of Egypt after his general’s death in 323 b.c. From their capital of Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile, Ptolemy’s Greek-speaking descendants ruled Egypt for almost three hundred years. After the death of Cleopatra, their kingdom was incorporated into the Roman Empire.

Leighton’s biography is a third-person narrative of the life of the royal princess as she grew up amid the political instability and civil wars of Alexandrian Egypt. At the beginning of the book, a chronology of important dates in the life of Cleopatra serves as an important aid in sorting out the complicated events in which Cleopatra was involved.

The book begins with the future queen as an eleven-year-old child who was just beginning to become conscious of the complexities of her position as the favorite daughter of Ptolemy XII. In the book’s early chapters, Leighton describes how Cleopatra learned to deal with her father’s character weaknesses and with the rivalry of her ambitious sisters and brothers. Cleopatra lived in a very dangerous situation from 58

(The entire section is 467 words.)