review by Maryom
Lucy Coats' Cleopatra, the Chosen one of the goddess Isis, is back - fleeing from the wrath of her sister Berenice, and filled with guilt that, through unforeseen circumstances, she has been the one to break 'ma'at', the balance of the universe as represented by the Double Throne of the Pharaohs. Now following the secret map which leads and physically tugs her towards Isis' sanctuary, Cleo hopes she can restore the Goddess to her rightful place and bring peace and prosperity back to Egypt.
First though, there are battles to be fought, the sand storms of the desert and the perils of a sea-crossing to be endured, her father to be brought back from Rome to take up his role as Pharaoh and the attractions of a young Roman decurion, Marcus Antonius, to be ignored.....
Chosen picks up minutes after the closing events of Cleo - and this is one occasion when it's best to read the books in order - as Cleo and her friends run for their lives, jolting away on the world's smelliest camels! Ever-faithful Charm is still by her side, with her wit and generous friendship, sharing the hardships of the journey while facing problems of her own. The interaction between Cleo and Charm is a delight to read - one a princess chosen by a goddess, the other a slave girl, but behaving as equals. This book introduces a third young woman, Iras, a trained warrior of the crocodile god, Sobek, now self-appointed body guard to Cleo, and a possible 'love-interest' for Charm. Cleo's romance with librarian Khai is moving into a different phase - he's long haunted her dreams but now he's here in flesh and blood, and will their love prove stronger than the pull Cleo feels towards Marcus Antonius.
I've always found it easier to come to grips with history when it's about personalities rather than dry facts and dates, and although neither Cleo nor Chosen are 'true' accounts of events, they still bring the times and people vividly to life. From the shifting sands of the desert to the luxury of a Roman villa, the discomfort of camel-riding or a cunning cure for sea sickness, the sights and sounds of the times fill every page. Hopefully, having read both books, readers will be intrigued enough to want to follow Cleopatra's life further as she moves from obscurity onto history's stage.
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Orchard Books
Genre - historical adventure, teen/YA