Title: Lily of the Nile
Author: Stephanie Dray
Series: Cleopatra’s Daughter #1
Publication: January 4th 2011 by Berkley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
The extraordinary daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony seeks to reclaim her birthright in the first novel of an epic historical fiction trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of America’s First Daughter.
With both of her parents dead, Princess Selene and her two surviving brothers are left at the mercy of their captors, taken from Egypt and put on display as war trophies in Rome. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, Selene struggles for survival in a court of intrigue. She can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends.
Faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother’s dreams and succeed where she failed. But there’s no telling what success will cost her in a treacherous political game where the only rule is win or die…
I’ve read several stories by Stephanie Dray but I hadn’t actually picked up her debut novel, Lily of the Nile. I had some minor doubt about a story because a story about the daughter of Cleopatra is one I’ve read before and I was worried it would be too similar but I worried for nothing because it was actually really amazing. I ended up being instantly hooked by the story and I want the read the other books in the trilogy as soon as possible.
It’s actually a little strange that I waited so long with purchasing this book because I adore anything related to ancient Egypt. Most of the book is set in Rome but it is about the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony who’s named Cleopatra Selene, so it did manage to sate my desire to read anything about the time it’s set in.
The story starts in Egypt when Cleopatra famously commited suicide by snake bite. After that Selene, her twin brother Helios and younger brother Philadelphus are taken to Rome to be raised in Emperor Octavian’s household. For the most part Selene struggled with coming to terms with being in Rome after losing her parents the way she did and taken away from her beloved Egypt, not wanting to lose her connection to her country and the goddess Isis. She eventually makes friends with the other children in the household and there’s even a hint of romance forming with her tutor Juba. Hopefully there’s a little more of that in the second book.
One thing I definitely hadn’t expected and what was maybe my favorite thing was the magical aspect that the story and Selene had because of her connection to Isis. It mixed historical fiction with magic and myth. I loved every single part of it. I also loved how complicated most of the characters and their the relationships were. Especially the relationship between Octavian and Selene. There were hidden depths within everyone.
Overall, Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray was as fantastic as I thought it would be. The writing took me back to the fascinating time and political intrigue of ancient Rome. I would highly recommend it.
Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.
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