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Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter Series #1)

Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter Series #1)

4.3 48
by Stephanie Dray

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Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a


Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman 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. But 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. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dray deftly mixes magic and history in her debut, the first of a projected trilogy set in ancient Egypt. After Octavian defeats Cleopatra and her husband, Mark Antony, in battle, Octavian takes the Egyptian queen's three children--twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios and younger son Ptolemy Philadelphus--as spoils of war to Rome, where he makes them part of his family. While Helios rages against submitting to Octavian, Selene adopts a diplomatic path to ensure her survival and her brothers'. Selene discovers hidden powers within herself to fight for her Egyptian beliefs and proves an active, vibrant take-charge protagonist as she goes toe to toe with Octavian and staunchly defends her people. Readers will eagerly look forward to the next installment. (Jan.)
VOYA - Pam Carlson
Mother: a suicide. Social status: ward of the state. Religious beliefs: persecuted. How is a girl to be queen if she is not even living in her own country? Selene Ptolemy is the proud daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Following their mother's death, she and her brothers are paraded through Rome in chains and their lives placed in the hands of the mercurial emperor Octavian. At first, the goddess Isis sends messages for Selene and Octavian carved in bloody hieroglyphics on Selene's hands and arms. As years pass and the messages cease, Selene believes Isis has deserted them. She tenaciously plots to regain her destiny as queen and struggles to remain Egyptian, even in the heart of Rome, surrendering to unwelcome compromises. Dray provides readers with an inside look at Roman government and intrigue at the highest levels as family members battle continuously for recognition. Lily of the Nile is a mostly engaging tale of perseverance, power, magic, faith, and triumph. Although just a teen, this future queen is a formidable, intelligent character. Indeed, apart from Octavian, the female characters are portrayed as the most skilled politically and often dominant over the males in their lives. A sequel is planned in which Selene will return to Africa. An author's note explains the importance of the Isiac religion as a precursor to the personal faith of Christianity. A reader's guide provides teachers and book clubs with thoughtful questions about the story, history, and culture of the novel. Reviewer: Pam Carlson
Library Journal
As Michelle Moran did in Cleopatra's Daughter, Dray chose to explore a lesser-known Egyptian royal in this, her first book in a trilogy about Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Antony and Cleopatra. The novel follows Selene's story from her parents' suicides, through the years that she and her brothers, Alexander and Philadelphus, were wards of Octavian, living in his sister's home until her betrothal to Juba II. Unlike Moran, who portrayed Selene as a fiery young girl who became an astute co-ruler of Mauretania with Juba, Dray has her Selene initially seem to be both more passive and victimized as a captive of Octavian, emperor of Rome. It isn't until she begins to manifest magical abilities of prophecy and healing through the goddess Isis that Selene's true character emerges, and she learns to manipulate people and situations to her benefit. Verdict Dray imbues her work with meticulously researched details of Roman life, historical figures, and political upheaval. Add magical realism and controversial goddess-worship, and you have a novel that will appeal to readers on many levels.—Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Cleopatra's Daughter Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Stephanie Dray lives in Maryland.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Lily of the Nile 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
pagese More than 1 year ago
It's funny how books about the exact same time period and people can have totally different feels to them. I've read Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran as well. They basically begin and end at the exact same points. While I like one slightly more than the other, the both were so different in style that if you enjoy Selene's story you should read them both. Selene felt young in this book and thus I think the book feels more young adult. This book also had a touch of magic that I found I really enjoyed. I still really enjoyed her character because she's still a princess even if she's been stripped of her titles. She refuses to bow down to her captors and I think she eventually earned the respect. The relationships were different in this one which was hard for me to accept. I found I liked the representation of Juba. I found I liked how Octavian was represented the best. He seemed almost crazy with his obsession with Cleopatra and it reflected a lot in how he dealt with Selene. I'm actually more excited to read the next in the series. From the end of Cleopatra's Daughter, I wanted to know what happened to Selene next. I can't wait to see what Stephanie Dray does with Song of The Nile.
Arsinoe More than 1 year ago
totally enjoyable the characters were faceted and credible. totally good read
Cappi More than 1 year ago
I have found myself interested in the early roman times. I picked up this book wanting to sink into this time period. While the descriptions were wonderful the relationships between the characters was laking. I love the dynamic between the twins but the ending fell short, I realized there is another book to come but, this book left a little too much unresolved. While saying that I still suggest that lovers of history pick up this book. The descriptions were on par and the links to religion were quite interesting.
Meli_Green More than 1 year ago
An intersting tale of Cleoptra's daughter and of Rome. Looking forward to the next book. It. will be interesting to see where the next book goes.
notsosilente More than 1 year ago
Michelle Moran's "Cleopatra's Daughter" is quite possibly my favorite book. The story of Cleopatra Selene is one of my favorites, as well. So of course, this is right up my ally. I was skeptical from the start, but I stuck it out. One thing, this book employs a lot more fictional license than Moran's. I loved Moran's book because I could feel the terror and the uncertainty right from the start. Moran's felt more realistic, Dray's was a bit more fantastical. Nevertheless, this book was wonderful. I enjoyed how Selene learns to play Octavian's game, being as shrewd as her infamous mother. The two books cannot be fairly compared to one another as they are both different, but the story of Selene is always a gripping one.
justBetsy More than 1 year ago
When Stephanie Dray came to lecture at our writers' group, I was more interested in the Mythica dark romance series she writes as Stephanie Draven, than in her historicals. But when she mentioned that there were magical aspects in her Cleopatra Selene series, I decided to check them out. I'm so glad I bought them. I've always been more into urban fantasy than historicals, but the quality of her writing hooked me from the start. I could feel I was actually there, in the nexus of Ancient Egypt and the Roman empire, understanding the beliefs and motivations of the characters. After a dramatic opening which detailed Selene's role in the suicide of her mother, Cleopatra, there was a lot of interesting action, but I wondered where the "magical aspect" was. Let me tell you, tt was worth waiting for. The magical communications from Isis represent a unique, exotic magic that fits perfectly in the mythology of Egypt. I have never read such a compelling account of pagan mysteries. I came to care deeply about Cleopatra Selene, her twin Alexander Helios, and little brother Philadelphus, so much so that I couldn't wait to read "Song of the Nile", the next book in the series.
moonflower44005 More than 1 year ago
I Hate to say that this book was WAY better the "Cleopatra's Daughter" by Michelle Moran,becouse She is one of my fav book writter. Once I started reading I could not stop reading it! I kept telling my self one more page or just one more chapter. Then in the end I finished the WHOLE BOOK IN ONE DAY! THis is a MUST READ! I could SO read this again. ^-^
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BooksMania More than 1 year ago
As an aspiring historical fiction novelist, I consider Stephanie Dray a model and an inspiration of what I would like to create. This trilogy is hard to put down, it doesn't drag at all, every page is filled with action and suspense.  I read it fitfully due to little time, but at the end of the weeks I finished the three books, it felt like I had been watching a soap opera. It is that fast paced, that reading a little every day was like breaking into episodes. The descriptive style makes it easy to visualize the scenes, and imagine the characters. You feel like these personages are well known friends. A TV series should be made after it.  Fans of Phillippa Gregory, Jean Plaidy, Colin Falconer and historical fiction in general, will love this. Bravo Stephanie Dray !
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Leonoe More than 1 year ago
I decided to read this book because of many wonderful reviews I saw. THANK YOU! I would not have picked it up if it weren't for them. I really enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one in this series. I loved how I was transported to Rome in this book. I was there with Selene as she first gazed eyes on the ancient city. I am not sure how historically accurate the book may be but it was 100% entertaining. Princess Selene struggles to survive, protect her brothers, defend her faith and attempt to bring a Golden Age all while adapting to a new place, a new family and a changing body. I couldn't put this book down. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction. I can't wait for October 4th for Song of the Nile to come out.