"The rich, exotic world created by Emily Holleman in her debut novel, CLEOPATRA'S SHADOWS, is mesmerizing. Intrigue, betrayal and the near-destruction of a dynasty follow in the footsteps of Cleopatra's little-known, but ambitious sisters, Arsinoe and Berenice. A perfect marriage of dedicated research and passionately inventive story telling."―Kathleen Kent, author of The Outcasts
"An outstanding debut novel.... Some writers seem destined to unearth the truth of a time and a place and a set of people: Mary Renault and Alexander, Hilary Mantel and Thomas Cromwell and now Emily Holleman and the last generation of Ptolemies. The vivacity, the verve, the sense of bone deep truth of the writing-all are superb. There's a freshness to the prose that is truly captivating, and a dynamism to the narrative that gives life to the people whose names are otherwise a footnote in history."―Manda Scott, author of The Crystal Skull
"We forget that Cleopatra was a Macedonian, her royal house a relic of the career of Alexander the Great. Where Cleopatra went to bed with Rome, her half-sister Berenice, at nineteen, tried to hold the Egyptian throne against it, while her sister Arsinoe, still a child, fought to hang on in the margins. Prophetic dreams, fraying family bonds, and desperate development of strength in crisis define this affecting work of historical fiction."―Zachary Mason, author of The Lost Books of the Odyssey
Holleman’s innovative debut explores the lives of two lesser-known sisters of Cleopatra... Readers will sympathize with Berenice as she battles formidable odds... Holleman succeeds in teasing vivid throughlines from an incredibly complex period of transition as Hellenistic civilization gives way to the rule of Rome. Her language, anachronism-free, artfully captures the matrix of myth and epic which nurtures and inspires her characters."
"Breathing new life into these historical personalities, first-time novelist Holleman has written a marvelous story of the two years when Berenice, [Cleopatra's] older sister, ruled Egypt.... Holleman offers a fresh take on the Ptolemy dynasty and has delivered what promises to be just the first in an exciting series about Arsinoe, youngest sister of Cleopatra."
―Jane Henriksen Baird, Library Journal (starred review)
"Holleman’s historically detailed and multilayered debut captures the hostile dynamics between the last generation of the Ptolemaic dynasty... [S]cintillating visual details of gorgeous palaces, rich temples, and the famous library of Alexandria, evok[e] a world in which the ancient heroes Alexander and Odysseus—and Greek tragic characters such as Antigone—come to life... Holleman’s imaginative, textured portraits of the lives and ambitions of these little-known heroines will appeal to readers of historical and literary fiction alike."―Publishers' Weekly