"For her actual beauty was not itself remarkable . . . but the contact of her presence . . . was irresistible; the attraction of her person, joining with the charm of her conversation . . . was something bewitching. it was a pleasure merely to hear her voice, with which, like an instrument Of many strings, she could pass from one language to another."--Plutarch CLEOPATRA, last of the Ptolemy rulers of Egypt and mother to both Julius Caesar's and Mark Antony's children, inspired countless myths and legends as well as the greatest poets and dramatists throughout the ages. Intriguing both to her admirers and to her critics, Cleopatra's sheer presence and inimitable actions elicited passionate responses from the moment she was smuggled inside her own palace to meet Caesar to her debut as a warrior queen at the illfated battle of Actium. An educated woman and politically savvy ruler, she wisely encouraged her subjects to worship her as the Egyptian goddess Isis, even as she traced her own ancestry back to a Macedonian Greek, Alexander the Great. Her Roman enemies tried to ruin her by casting her as a dangerous and immoral foreign queen, "the serpent of the Nile," but even they respected her courage when she took her own life rather than be taken prisoner to Rome. Throughout her reign, Cleopatra was such a powerful force in the struggle between East and West for control of the Mediterranean world that no one ever dared ignore or underestimate her. Polly Schoyer Brooks's fascinating portrait of this vital young queen will leave readers speculating whether the history of the Western world would have been different had Cleopatra succeeded in her dream of an empire ruled jointly by Rome and the Ptolemies of Alexandria. æIn this lively and entertaining biography, Brooks does an admirable job of presenting a well-rounded picture of the most famous queen of all time. . . . Short and straightforward enough for a middle-schooler, this biography is also complete and complex enough to satisfy any reader interested in the time period.''VOYA.