Lily of the Nile

Lily of the Nile

3.9 (5,522 ratings by Goodreads)
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The extraordinary daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony 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.

From the first breath of her life, young Princess Selene understands herself to be a cherished daughter and the future queen of Egypt. But when Alexandria falls and her parents are forced into suicide, the once-pampered princess and her two surviving brothers are left at the mercy of their captors and dragged through the streets of Rome in chains. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and is suspect of 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 Roman 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....
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 135 x 202 x 26mm | 318g
  • Penguin USA
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0425238555
  • 9780425238554
  • 271,969

Review quote

Praise for Lily of the Nile

"A spectacular blend of history and unforgettable fiction."-San Francisco Book Review

"An active, vibrant take-charge protagonist."-Publishers Weekly

"Lily of the Nile is graceful history infused with subtle magic and veiled ancient mysteries, at a time of immense flux and transition...Meticulously researched, thoroughly believable, this is a different kind of book, and a true achievement."-Vera Nazarian, two-time Nebula Award-nominated author of Lords of Rainbow

"With clear prose, careful research, vivid detail, and a dash of magic, Stephanie Dray brings true life to one of Egypt's most intriguing women in Lily of the Nile."-Susan Fraser King, bestselling and award-winning author of Queen Hereafter and Lady Macbeth

"Cleopatra Selene has unusual gifts and problems, but her struggle to understand herself and her destiny is universal. The glimpses of the cult of Isis leave one wanting to know more, and the story keeps you turning the pages until the end."-Diana L. Paxson, author of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword of Avalon

More Praise for the Novels of Cleopatra's Daughter

"A magnificent novel with a magical twist!"-Fresh Fiction

"Delicious prose, an exotic setting, and a heroine that will impress you with her unfailing courage and determination to reclaim what was once hers...historical women's fiction at its finest."-History and Women

"A stirring story of a proud, beautiful, intelligent woman whom a 21st century reader can empathize with."-RT Book Reviews

"An entertaining foray into an intriguing legend."-New York Times bestselling author Margaret George

"Strong, elegant prose and a strong, elegant heroine...Song of the Nile is a delight!"-New York Times bestselling author Kate Quinn
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About Stephanie Dray

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical women's fiction. Her award-winning novels include America's First Daughter and My Dear Hamilton, co-authored with Laura Kamoie, and the Cleopatra's Daughter Trilogy. Her work has been translated into eight languages and often 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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Rating details

5,522 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 31% (1,739)
4 37% (2,024)
3 24% (1,313)
2 6% (335)
1 2% (111)

Our customer reviews

This review I also posted on my book weblog <a href=\"\">here</a>. (I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story) <b>Title:</b> Lily of the Nile - A novel of Cleopatra\'s daughter (on the <a href=\"\">author\'s website</a>) <b>Author:</b> Stephanie Dray <b>Format:</b> paperback <b>Pages:</b> 343 (but with a \"Readers Guide\" at the back which makes the page count 351) <b>Year published:</b> original 2010/2011, my edition 2011 <b>Language:</b> English, original English <b>ISBN number:</b> 9780425238554 <b>Reason for reading:</b> <user name = shanra> let me know about the existence of this book, because there\'s a character in it called Selene (actually she\'s the main character). Which was of course my reason for reading :P See also my review of \"Selene of Alexandria\" <a href=\"\">here</a> for another book with a character called Selene. In \"Lily of the Nile\", Selene\'s home city is also Alexandria, but she is the daughter of Cleopatra (\"Cleopatra Selene\") and she is twins with Alexander Helios. In the introduction, the author names another novel about Cleopatra Selene, which went onto my wishlist immediately as well :) And I got the sequel to \"Lily of the Nile\" already (I ordered both book simultaneously) so I can continue reading :D And I really like reading about Ancient history. <b>Back cover text:</b> <i>With her parents both dead, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is left at the mercy of her Roman captors. Heir to one empire and prisoner of another, it falls to Princess Selene to save her brothers and reclaim what\'s rightfully hers...</i> In the aftermath of Alexandria\'s tragic fall, Princess Selene is taken from Egypt, the only home she\'s ever known. Along with her two surviving brothers, she\'s put on display as a war trophy in Rome. Selene\'s captors mock her royalty and drag her through the streets in chains, but on the brink of death, the children are spared as a favor to the Roman emperor\'s sister, who takes them to live as hostages in the so-called lamentable embassy of royal orphans... Now trapped in a Roman court of intrigue, where her heritage is reviled and her faith is suspect, Selene can\'t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her flesh. Nor can she stop the emperor from using her for his own political ends. Faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to honor her mother\'s lost legacy. The magic of Egypt and Isis remain within her. But can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is to win or die? <b>First alinea of the prologue:</b> They came from Memphis, Thebes, and Heliopolis to see the Savior born. Slaves and freedmen, merchants and artisans, poets and priests - they all came. Babylonian oracles came with their prophecies. Evens Romans came, for their mystic poet, Virgil, had foreseen a new era and a worthier race of men. Some came on camels, some in fishing boats, some by foot. And standing wondrously tall in the harbor, the Pharos lighthouse welcomed them all. <b>First alinea of chapter 1:</b> Something coiled dangerously within the basket I carried, but I\'d been told not to open the lid nor to ask what lurked beneath its woven reeds. The basked smelled of comforting cedar and lush figs, but it was embroidered with emblems of Anubis - the jackal-headed Guide of the Dead. <b><i>Review:</i></b> <b>Story:</b> It may not be very clear from the back cover description, but it\'s actually a historical fantasy book based on a real person - Selene uses a kind of magic connected to the Egyptian goddess Isis. I knew there\'d be something with magic in it because I had read that online before I ordered the book, so I hoped it\'d be done well (and not something like \"hi you have magic and can do great things immediately\"). It was not \"hi you have magic\" but <i>almost</i> \"can do great things immediately\", luckily not entirely! It was believable enough now. For the most part of the book, Selene was a child (starting at age 10) and only near the end of the book (age 14) she started to understand Isis\' magic. It is a bit different from \"standard magic in fantasy books\" and it was explained a bit, but I\'d like more explanation on how the magic at the end of this book actually worked - maybe that\'ll be described in the next book. With explanation I mean where the magic comes from and what principles it is based on. Most of the story takes place in Rome, where Selene, Helios and Philadelphus (their younger brother) grow up in the emperor\'s household. Some timeline things were shifted a bit for the story, but I don\'t mind that at all because it was mentioned in comments by the author and it worked really well for the story. It was also nice to read a story about a Selene in Ancient times who did not want to be a physician/healer (...because that\'s an occupation I\'d never be able to do... (>.>) though it\'s really interesting to read about it, that\'s why I like Barbara Wood\'s books so much...). Selene in the book also made choices and did things I think I\'d do in those situations as well. And she knows a lot of languages too, but we have only a bit of overlap in languages-learned XD Being able to really read hieroglyphics would be cool though. I learned it a bit in elementary school but I only remember one (>.>) and maybe it\'s not even correct in meaning. Ah well. When I need it I\'ll start learning it :P (like Russian for the Tanya Grotter books, of which the reading is really NOT going fast XD) I didn\'t read the Readers Guide, so I can\'t give any comments on that. It looked like an exam and I\'ll have enough of those next week already (>.>) Maybe I\'ll read it next time. <b>Writing style:</b> I was quite confused by the usage of the English character names when I started reading, though luckily there was an introduction at the beginning with their Latin names. Mark Antony = Marcus Antonius (and he was called Antony all the time), Octavian = Octavianus (can I say \"Octavian\" sounds the most odd to me?), Virgil (Vergilius - I really prefer the Latin version). I was happy that the spelling of \"Helios\" was used instead of \"Helius\" (I have a personal preference for the Greek -os suffix...). For the name-reason I think I\'d have liked to read it in Dutch, but looking only at the writing itself, I\'m happy I read it in English (I liked the writing style). English is the original language of the book anyway :) Except for the prologue, in which Selene and Helios were born, the story is told from Selene\'s viewpoint in first person. So you read all Selene\'s thoughts as well. I really liked how the author wrote the first-person, it sounded very natural and it suited the story. At the end of October I\'d read all entries for the Nieuwegein Literature Contest for judging [seeing I <a href=\"\">won</a> it last year...] and quite a few entries were written in first person but it didn\'t add anything to the story; writing it in third person would have been better... But that was really not the case in this book. <b>Rereadability:</b> Yes! It\'s quite a quick read, seeing as I read it in my breaks of exam-studying and NaNo XD The cover is also really pretty (drawn by Alan Ayers), I kept looking at it whenever the book was closed. I also compared it a bit with the second book cover. And it was a story I really liked. <b>Random notes:</b> -This was the 100th book I finished reading this year :D <a href=\"\">List here</a>. -Another book with a character called Selene I reviewed is <a href=\"\">Libyrinth</a>.show more
by S. Broers
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