Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Queen of Kings

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal
Pages: Hardcover, 384pp
ISBN-13: 9780525952176

(Received for review from Dutton/Penguin)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Maria Dahvana Headley on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from
Queen of Kings
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Jacket):


The year is 30 BC. Octavian Caesar and his legions are poised to enter Alexandria. A messenger informs Queen Cleopatra that her beloved Mark Antony has died by his own hand. Desperate to save her kingdom and resurrect her husband. Cleopatra turns to the gods for help. Ignoring the warnings of those around her, she summons Sekhmet, goddess of death and destruction and strikes a mortal bargain. But not even the wisest of Egypt's scholars could have predicted what would follow.

In exchange for Antony's soul, Sekhmet demands something in return. Cleopatra herself. Egypt's queen is possessed, transformed into a vampiric creature of mythical proportions, an immortal shapeshifter with superhuman strength, at once ferocious and seductive. Fighting to preserve something of her humanity, Cleopatra pursues Octavian back to Rome. She desires revenge, she yearns for her children and she craves human blood.

Clashing against witches and monsters, gods and warriors, Cleopatra journeys from the tombs of the pharaohs to the great amphitheaters of Imperial Rome to the ancient underworld, where she will meet her love once again, and where the battle between man and beast will determine the fate of the world.

Blending history, mythology, and the darkest of fantasy, Queen of Kings b rings the timeless story of Cleopatra to life like never before in this stunningly original and spellbinding debut.


Author Maria Dahvana Headley takes the timeless tale of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt to new heights in her fiction debut,
Queen of Kings. Headley's unique gift to take a story that has captured the minds of readers for centuries and transform into something new and refreshing will have readers on the edge of their seats. This isn't your typical historical retelling of the love story between Cleopatra and Antony. With gods and monsters, shapeshifters and mythological creatures, Queen of Kings packs a definite punch. Paranormal readers and historical fans alike will find something original and different in this book.

When Cleopatra learns of her lover, Antony's death from suicide, she is beside herself. Antony was her life, he meant as much to her as the throne of Egypt. Against the advice of her closest advisers and friends she decides to do something drastic. Calling upon the mythological goddess of War and Destruction, Cleopatra hopes to make a deal that will bring Antony back to her in one form or another. But such things always carry a heavy price and in this case, it's Cleopatra's life. When she bargains with Sekhmet, she becomes her minion, carrying out her demonic plans on earth. Cleopatra becomes more than just a queen. A creature that thrives on human blood and craves the destruction of the world. Will she able to maintain her kingdom as she sinks deeper into the clutches of this monster inside her? Will she reunite with Antony, her only love?

The first thing I want to say about this book is WOW! This is a stunning retelling of the story of one of the most famous queen's in history. Cleopatra comes alive and in a very chilling way in this novel. Author Maria Dahvana Headley has crossed a lot of boundaries with this book. It is in part historical, part paranormal, part fantasy. It blends the three flawlessly together to create a story that will have readers biting their nails and sleeping with the light on! It made my skin crawl at times and also made me see the depths that a person could go for love. What would you be willing to sacrifice if you thought you could bring your lover back from the dead? It's a question that seems a lot less fantastical after reading a book like this. (Shivers!)

Headley takes a story that readers have heard a million different times and in a million different ways and is still able to make it new and exciting. To me Cleopatra has always seemed a bit legendary or fantastical. It was hard for me to believe that someone with that kind of magnetism and power could have really existed. So it wasn't that much of a stretch for me to see her has a superhuman shapeshifter. She always had the quality of dark magic about her even in historical text. She seemed supernatural and Headley certainly uses that to her advantage in this book. Headley's Cleo is terrifying in all her glory. She is a dark goddess that wields a power that few can control. It was spellbinding!

Readers will love the way that Headley gives the story a paranormal slant. Using monsters, mythical creatures and epic battles to bring the stark reality of Rome after the fall of Egypt into focus. It was a time of devastation and lawlessness. The author did an amazing job of making the scenes in this book come alive for the reader. Her descriptions of Egypt and especially Rome are dramatic and vivid, leaping off the pages. The reader will feel the sand under foot and the breeze from the Nile on their faces while reading this one. I thought it was great example of using description to make the scene almost appear like a character in itself.

This is one you won't want to miss if you are a paranormal historical fan. I think readers from both genre's will come together to make this one a hit. I recommend it to anyone who has always loved reading about Cleopatra and wants to see a different portrayal. This book is unique and creepy! I loved it. It is set to be the first in a trilogy of books about the Egyptian queen. I can't wait to read the next one!

Queen of Kings is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one a definite 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag, one of my favorites of the year so far!

Maria Dahvana Headley is the author of the internationally acclaimed memoir
The Year of Yes (2006). Her writing has appeared in the The New York Times, Elle, and other publications. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and lives in Seattle.


The publisher has been gracious enough to sponsor a giveaway for one copy of Maria Dahvana Headley's book, Queen of Kings of one winner from Debbie's Book Bag!

~ You must be a Google Friend Connect follower to participate.
~ US Addresses only for this one! (Publisher Request)
~ The Deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST June 9th.

1. Please leave a comment in appreciation of the author on THIS post!
2. Please fill out the FORM.


cyn209 said...

congrats & good luck, Maria!!!
& thank you for the giveaway!!!


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

i've read so many books about cleopatra, but never a paranormal book! thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I can't wait to read the book. Sounds very good.

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

This sounds like an amazing book. I love stories about Cleopatra. She is a fascinating historical figure.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the great post. Cleopatra is one of the most fascinating women in history. I'm looking forward to reading this story.

onebookshy at yahoo dot com

karenk said...

i'm very interested in reading this novel...thanks for the chance :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com