Throne of Isis by Judith Tarr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Judith Tarr does what she does best, here. Fantastically researched history and really beautiful characters.
While this one is ostensibly about the grand romance between Antony and Cleopatra, I think it's really about Dione, one of the priestesses of Isis. The tumultuous romance of the other two is kinda obvious, after all. Antony and Cleopatra is one of Shakespeare's best Histories. It's probably one of the best-known romances in history.
Is this really enough to carry a whole novel, however well-researched?
Possibly, but Judith Tarr is a better writer than most people ever give her credit for. It's her equal focus on Dione, this priestess of Isis -- of love -- that balances everything out.
There are two relationships in this novel. The mirroring between Dione and her steady scholar from Rome is a wonderfully subtle indictment of Antony and Cleopatra.
The two couples mirror each other. Wonderfully. I was as invested with the quiet, understated romance as I was in the flashy and tragic one, and it served as a really nice antidote.
Between the bigger than life and the totally grounded, I felt like we were getting a wonderfully beautiful and rounded (perhaps eternal) exploration of love.
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