by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Review by Paul Haggerty
Ace Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 044101206X
Date: 07 December, 2004 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Scattered throughout the narrative Scarborough provides amusing asides from the viewpoints of the Cleopatras, who find it strange that we complain about traffic when we can travel in an hour what would have taken several days in her time. Or how we effortlessly build bridges seemingly wherever we wish as if the barriers of rivers were of no consequence. The modern day is filled with marvels from the viewpoints of the ancient queens, and Scarborough does a marvelous job in giving the world we take for granted a new angle of understanding.
Another thread running through the story is the change over time of the ancient world. Where Cleopatra remembers a vast lake, there is now only a dismal swamp. The aqueducts, temples, and pyramids have fallen into ruin or, as is especially the case in upper Egypt with the Aswan Dam, have vanished entirely. In contrast, great new cities now stand where there was only desert. Scarborough has done a fabulous job of researching the past, and through the observations of the two Cleo's paints a heartrending picture of loss and yet at the same time presents awe-inspiring descriptions of wonders that have managed, despite war, neglect, and outright vandalism, to survive for millennia to the modern day.
This book has less to do with the blending process itself, which was the meat of the first book, and more to do with the blended folks and their interactions with the world. Our heroines would prefer to be left alone to get on with their lives, but of course, there are those who seek to either use them for their own agendas, or remove them to prevent interference. Control over the blending technology plays a vital role as various groups vie for power. Then there are the enemies Gabriella has made by helping women in a part of the world that still doesn?t afford them the protection and respect of the west. Throw in terrorists, a global conspiracy, and maybe even the ancient Egyptian gods, and the stage is packed with a diverse set of players, all with unknown agendas and allegiances. And then there are the Cleopatra's themselves. These women were queens of Egypt, born to positions of power and authority, who schemed and influenced, and held their own in battles of will against the most powerful men of their time. They aren't about to let themselves come down in the world just cause Egypt is longer a kingdom.
And first on the things to accomplish is to find the DNA of their lover, Marc Antony. They have plans for him.