Originally Posted by richvalle
Hey, Asterix and Obelix! […] Love those books though the binding seems to fail quickly on them.
Maybe for your favourites which you consider "keepers" you might want to try the newer Orion hardback reprints which seem pretty sturdy with nice thicker paper quality (at least for the ones that I own)?
Myself, I'd love to get the deluxe collector's editions with bonus features reprints they've been doing, but those cost about 40 euros last I checked, and then there's shipping from France…
Anyway, to continue the vein of Greco-Roman recreation, read Jo Graham
's Hand of Isis
, a Cleopatra retelling in much the same vein as Black Ships
This is where the Mists of Avalon
comparison really begins to make sense, since like MZB's Avalon series, there's apparently a whole bunch of reincarnation going on, with people being connected by past lives which they don't remember, caught up in grand mythical cycles that replay themselves in slightly altered states with somewhat altered players.
Once again, the POV narrator Charmian is an oracular character, but this time she's untrained and only gets occasional prophetic flashes. Graham uses the harem notion to give Cleopatra two supporting half-sisters who work to protect her throughout her perilous ascension to power.
I rather liked this one, though not quite as much as Black Ships
*. It was an interesting take on the Antony/Cleopatra/Caesar story, that was done specifically to be more sympathetic to Cleopatra, as Graham points out in her afterword that most period accounts of whom were written by her enemies.
Mind you, my impression of Cleopatra is indelibly shaped by Asterix and Cleopatra
†, which presented her as a fairly competent ruler with "a very bad temper but a very pretty nose" who was more than a match for Caesar, rather than the scheming hanger-on with no impulse control who lucked into hanging on to the Great Man's toga-tails that an unfortunate number of high-profile modern portrayals have painted her as‡.
Highly recommended for people who like new takes on old stories having to do with ancient Greco-Roman culture and giving them a magical realism twist as well as a touch of humanization to grand historical figures. Once again, this comes with excellent extras in the form of author's historical notes and explanations, glossary of terms, bibliography for further reading, author interview and reading group guide.
It's a shame Orbit is an Agency imprint even in Canada, because if these were reasonably priced and couponable, I'd snap them up. As it is, I'll wait and see if they make it one of their Orbital Book Drop special promotions titles and in them meantime support the author by requesting her books at the library.
* Although this one does have the bonus of catering to my view that love triangles where the parties really do care for and respect and desire each other should end resolve themselves as threesomes.
† The bande déssinée
, not the live-action version, though I should rewatch the animated adaptation sometime. And you should too, if only for the awesome sequence at the start where they explain how the film would look if they did it in Egyptian hieroglyphic dialogue.
‡ Y HELO THAR, Colleen McCullough. Though maybe she made up for that in Antony and Cleopatra
, which I haven't read.