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The Ghost of Cleopatra is a work of historical fiction by John Rice and Gail Tanzer. It tells the story of African-American/Native American sculptor, Edmonia Lewis, whose masterpiece, The Death of Cleopatra, languished for over 70 years in obscurity.
It's an epic story that spans centuries and continents and tells how the spirit of the Queen of the Nile inspired Lewis to create her likeness in marble. The tale is through the eyes of Lewis, her statue and Cleopatra herself.
The Ghost of Cleopatra celebrates the achievements of women, immigrants and minorities. It shows the indomitable spirit of Edmonia Lewis, who overcame terrible hardship to become one of the celebrated sculptors of her time. It traces her life from her humble circumstances living with her mother's Ojibwe tribe to her life of sculpting world-renowned works of art.
Cleopatra's rise to power in a world ruled by men and the fate she suffered at the hands of these powerful men are testaments of what a truly remarkable woman she was.
Finally, the story describes the precarious journey of the Statue, from its creation to its ultimate triumph.
All three characters embody the spirit of strong females, who rise above oppression by their sheer determination. Primarily, it's the saga of Edmonia Lewis, who was born in 1844: the daughter of a Haitian immigrant man and an Ojibwe-African American woman. Aside from the racism she suffered, she faced the prejudice that plagued females of that era.
The authors hope to inspire women, young and old, in their struggle for equality. Their story also recognizes an overlooked sculptor who deserves a place of honor in the pantheon of American heroes.
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