Charles Kingsley (June 12 1819 - January 23 1875) was an English divine, university professor, historian, and novelist, particularly associated with the West Country and north-east Hampshire. As a novelist, his chief power lay in his descriptive faculties, which are evident in this novel as he pictures the Egyptian desert and the ancient city Alexandria.
Hypatia, 1st published in 1853, is set in 5th Century A.D. Egypt. It centers upon a young orphan monk from a desert monastery who feels called to continue his religious life in the city. He discovers a sister, who is a prostitute living with a band of Goths. Other characters include Hypatia, a lady philosopher based on a historical personage; Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria; Felix, the Roman prefect; a Jewish man who has lost his faith; and an elderly Jewish woman who is like a sorceress. St. Augustine of Hippo makes a brief appearance. (Summary from Wikipedia with additions by Karen Merline)