I have been having conversations with Egyptian friends and scholars, readers who are revisiting my novel Kleopatra, and book clubs that are reading it for the first time. It’s just amazing how history is repeating itself two thousand years later. “Egyptians have never been passive,” says an Egyptian friend. “We have attracted despots and dictators throughout our history but we have always rebelled against them.”
In Kleopatra, the unruly populace stages multiple demonstrations against King Ptolemy XII, Kleopatra’s father, who has overtaxed them in order to help the Romans finance their wars of conquest. The king had reason to be afraid; the Egyptians had been so aggravated with his predecessor that they slit his throat. The riots escalated, and Ptolemy XII was forced to go to Rome to demand support for his continuance on the throne. In my book – and in the minds of some scholars, owing to epigraphic evidence- the young Kleopatra accompanied her father to Rome, forever changing her attitude toward governance.