Following on from 'Kleopatra', the glittering epic of Egypt's queen continues as she allies herself with Anthony and begins a love story that immortalizes her as one of history's greatest political players and most tragic heroines.
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Karen Essex was born and raised in New Orleans. She graduated from Tulane University, attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University, and received an MFA in Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. Essex's previous books include KLEOPATRA and PHARAOH, which she adapted into a screenplay for Warner Bros. Essex has adapted Anne Rice's novel THE MUMMY OR RAMSES THE DAMNED into a screenplay for 20th Century Fox, and she has also written a screenplay about Kamehameha (the first king of Hawaii) for Columbia/Tristar. Most recently, she has written a screenplay for Entertainment and Paramount Pictures in which Jennifer Lopez is set to star.
Also an award-winning journalist, Essex's articles, essays and profiles have been published in publications such as "Vogue, Playboy, The L.A. Weekly, "and "L.A. Style. "After being awarded highest honors from the Los Angeles Press Club for her thought-provoking cover story about the missing 1950's pinup icon Bettie Page, Essex co-authored the biography, BETTIE PAGE: LIFE OF A PINUP LEGEND. Essex is the first and only journalist with whom the reclusive Ms. Page has ever agreed to meet and cooperate.
Essex has appeared on "The Today Show" and "A Word on Words," hosted by John Seigenthaler, as well as other PBS and NPR programs. She's lectured at the Chicago Museum of Art, and extensively at universities. Her books are taught in many college courses from creative writing to history to women's studies.
Essex's novels have been published in twenty languages. She lives in Los Angeles.
The second volume of Essex's Kleopatra series, which picks up as the 22-year-old queen of Egypt returns from exile in Rome, overflows with war, sex, political intrigue and the fruits of Essex's assiduous research on everything from ancient Egyptian religious ceremonies to traffic laws in Julius Caesar's Rome. Essex's Kleopatra is ruled by her lust for power. Everything she controls her body, her money is a tool with which to improve her position and that of her country. As she puts it, "In matters of state, let your blood run cold." She joins with Caesar, aligning Egypt with Rome, but when he's murdered, Kleopatra lays the groundwork for a similar association with Antony, to whom she is overwhelmingly attracted. Each of these alliances transcends its political motivation. Kleopatra loves both men, viewing Caesar as a mentor and Antony as a soul mate. Yet this love never clouds her self-promoting vision, making Essex's Kleopatra more than a simple seductress, as she is often portrayed. Indeed, the careful balance Essex strikes between Kleopatra's intimate emotional life and her statecraft makes this a satisfyingly nuanced and approachable portrait. As with its predecessor, the novel's rich language, attention to historical detail and fast-flowing action offer an invigorating read for those interested in ancient history or simply the thrills of battles and romance.
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