Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Set in Ancient Egypt, Hands of Isis, tells the story of Charmian, a handmaiden and sister to Cleopatra from her childhood to her death and beyond.
The story is told from the perspective of Charmian, and although the blurb on the back calls it 'a novel of lovers' the story is more about the sisterly love between Charmian, Cleopatra and Iras. It's an easy read, that was enjoyable. However in my opinion the novel didn't bring anything 'new' to the story of Cleopatra, although it tried.
Similar to Black Ships, Graham brings elements of fantasy/supernatural into her story, trying to bring a new spin to an already well told tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this element in Black Ships but I don't think it translated for Hands of Isis. It felt quite forced and a bit silly, especially in regards to non egyptian characters.
Understandable, one could understand a religious egyptian relating to past lives and egyptian gods, but Julius Caesar and Agrippa? It just pulled me out of the story. I think this extra element was unnecessary, I believe focusing on the sisterly love which is touched on, without the explicit religious overtones would have been much more interesting (and a side of Cleopatra that has never been explored in historical fiction as far as I know).
I'm probably being highly critical, but this was still an enjoyable entertaining book, but due to certain elements which just didn't feel right to me, I'm giving it 6 stars.