Kleopatra by Karen Essex
I'll be the first to admit that historical fiction isn't generally my genre of choice, mainly because I keep thinking, "Would any real person covered in this book actually recognize her/himself and the people s/he knew depicted here?" The sensationalistic doesn't appeal to me when covering specific people who actually lived.
That being said, going in with the mindset of reading Kleopatra by Karen Essex (2001) purely as a fictional endeavor helped this reader appreciate the work a little more. And Essex does an excellent job of bringing Ancient Egypt to life, almost to the point of being too detailed in some of her descriptions. Very detailed and very spicy.
This first volume in the two-volume set begins when Kleopatra is only three years old. Her mother is ill, and her older half-sister (same mother, different fathers) is just about to offer herself as comfort to Kleopatra's father in the hopes of cementing her place. So begins a book filled with frequent sexual dalliances and alliances and betrayals of all sorts.
The first volume ends extremely abruptly, just as the more well-known period of Kleopatra's life, that covering her involvement with Julius Caesar and, later, Marc Antony, and ending with her death, is about to begin. Motivation to begin reading Pharaoh: Volume II of Kleopatra soon!
My overall rating of Kleopatra, focusing on entertainment value and not historical accuracy, is a B.