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Hand of Isis by Jo Graham
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Hand of Isis (edition 2009)

by Jo Graham

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2463046,727 (3.8)61
Member:mari_reads
Title:Hand of Isis
Authors:Jo Graham
Info:
Collections:Read in 2012, Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, historical fantasy, women's lives, siblings, ptolemaic egypt, cleopatra, julius caesar, marcus antonius, own

Work details

Hand of Isis by Jo Graham

Recently added byNineLarks, galphin, shantedze, jpmariana, private library, Ancientgirl, ellen.w
  1. 10
    Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (KarenIrelandPhillips)
  2. 10
    Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Hand of Isis gives a unique perspective on Cleopatra's life while Cleopatra's Daughter focuses on the next generation, but both are well-crafted historical fiction that do an excellent job of bringing the period and the people to life.
  3. 10
    The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George (_Zoe_)
  4. 00
    Stealing Fire by Jo Graham (Kegsoccer)
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Charmain is the daughter of the Pharaoh Ptolemy and a slave daughter. Raised as just another girl, she finds her fate entangled with Cleopatra and the movement of gods. She is the Hand of Isis and she is the Companion of someone great. We are taken through Egypt's history in the time of Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and Marcus Antonius through the eyes of a handmaiden.

Overall, it was okay. I was never bored, but I was also never wowed at any point in the book. I have a mild knowledge of this specific time period and Graham never really elaborates any more deeply on history except to add in human emotion between these leaders who have now become legend.

I found the concept of Charmain testifying in front of gods a little peculiar, but I was amenable to it as well. However, it didn't seem to add anything of value to the book either. So there's that.

I was never tense or afraid for the characters, I was never scared of their deaths. Maybe because I already knew how it would play out, being historical fiction and all that. But I think also because the whole book had a bit of a blase feel, almost like a slice of life book despite the assassinations and the warring.

The romance was just like the rest of the book: decent, but not wow. Agrippa was only mildly interesting, and I did like the conclusion of that relationship (you go girl, don't ever let a guy make you less than who you are!). And the little open relationship between her, Dion, and Emrys was interesting, but hardly pertinent to the book. Seemed like it was just included for a bit of fan service and added sensuality for Charmain.

I did like Charmain overall though.

Two stars because it was decent but not great. Would recommend only for those who want to read about known historical characters through a more emotional lens. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Fall-Winter-2010
  lencicki | Aug 28, 2013 |
Fall-Winter-2010
  orbitbooks | May 9, 2013 |
I'm struggling to find the words to review this book, as much as I liked it. It's a reimagining of Cleopatra's life, a life shared with two half-sisters, Charmian (the narrator of the story) and Isar, who share her lessons and become her handmaidens and later on run her household and support her in running Egypt. As teenagers they turn to Isis and find themselves close to different aspects of the goddess. The connection to Isis, as well as Charmian's mystical sense of destiny driven by their previous lives drives them to work towards Cleopatra becoming the Pharaoh, and all that follows.

I felt this was a fresh look at Cleopatra that did something clever and out of the ordinary in an interesting way, and I really enjoyed reading it. ( )
  mari_reads | Jan 1, 2013 |
I definitely had my doubts about this book when I saw the cover. But, like the old saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover.

Told from the point of view of Charmian, the half-sister and handmaiden to none other than Cleopatra, Hand of Isis is a wonderful tale about the last Pharaoh of Egypt. The way Jo Graham handles the character of Cleopatra is interesting because she shows the Egyptian side of the story, not the Roman side, which maligned her. In this story, Cleopatra is very sympathetic and wants nothing more than to take care of her beloved Egypt, no matter what the cost to herself. This dedication to her country sets her up for her ultimately tragic ending.

This book is a combination of historical and fantasy fiction, but I can guarantee you'll learn more about Egyptian history reading this than from any history textbook. Jo Graham's dedication to the details of ancient Egyptian and Roman life is truly admirable. So if you're looking for an historically accurate, yet entertaining novel, you will love Hand of Isis. ( )
  carrieslager | May 11, 2012 |
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Epigraph
The city of Alexandria is teacher, apex of Panhellenism, and in all fields of knowledge and arts the wisest. -- C P Cavafy
Dedication
For Amy
First words
In twilight I approached the doors, and in twilight they stood open for me.
Quotations
You do not know, in your innocence, how rare it is, how precious, this [Alexandria] where all the peoples of the world mingle, and where anyone can believe what they will without fear.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316068020, Paperback)

Following her acclaimed debut, Jo Graham returns to the ancient world with a novel that will captivate lovers of fantasy, history and romance.

Set in Ancient Egypt, Hand of Isis is the story of Charmian, a handmaiden, and her two sisters. It is a novel of lovers who transcend death, of gods who meddle in mortal affairs, and of women who guide empires.

Praise for Black Ships

"Graham re-creates a vivid picture of the ancient world, a mysterious place in which gods and goddesses speak to their chosen."--- Library Journal (starred review)

"A first-class, very readable novel." --- Booklist (starred review)

"A refreshingly different approach to a legend we only thought we knew." --- Locus

"Graham's thorough, detailed tale of ancient Greece is one that fans of that period are bound to love." --- Romantic Times

"A dazzling debut novel reimagines the Aeneid and restores life to a fantasy land that actually was." --- Scifi.com

"A bittersweet saga with enough action, romance, and intrigue to entertain and enthrall." --- Romance Reviews Today

"Graham...has packed the novel with exquisite detail, bringing to life a time long gone." --- The St. Petersburg Times

"Inspired and relentlessly entertaining...an auspicious debut." --- Realms of Fantasy

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Set in Ancient Egypt, "Hand of Isis" is the story of Charmian, a handmaiden to Cleopatra and devotee of Isis, and her two sisters. It is a novel of lovers who transcend death, of gods who meddle in mortal affairs, and of women who guide empires.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Orbit Books

Two editions of this book were published by Orbit Books.

Editions: 0316068020, 0316068012

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