Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Hand Of Isis Hand Of Isis
by Jo Graham
Orbit Books

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Hand of Isis is the tale of Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony as seen by her half-sister and maid servant Charmian. All these characters, plus another half-sister Iras, are avatars of the gods both Egyptian and Greek/Roman, wittingly and unwittingly.

As in her previous book, Black Ships, the gods do not make many appearances, with much of their action occurring in the weighing of the souls of the dead at the gates of Amenti. Hand of Isis explores the end of Ptolemaic Egypt as a country and how the principal political characters in Egypt and Roman could have caused that to happen. But instead of a dry history book the disappearance of a once great empire is presented in very human terms with very human players filling the leading historical roles.

Knowing the tragic ending that was to come I found this at times to be not an easy book to read, such was the skill with which Ms Graham wrote her three leading ladies and the sympathetic light in which she portrayed them.

If you like well-researched, historical fiction that is founded in fact, then Jo Graham is an author to read and collect.

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