Lily of the Nile
Berkley, Jan 4 2011, $15.00
In 31 BC, Roman legions loyal to Octavian defeats married couple Cleopatra and Mark Antony at the battle of Actium. They follow that victory with a successful invasion of Egypt leading to the suicide of the royal opposition leaders. Afterward to insure no more Egyptian uprising behind a martyr and to extinguish the prophesized Golden Age for Isis worshippers, the young Roman emperor takes the vanquished Egyptian queen's preadolescent children in chains to Rome. He incorporates the older twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios and the youngest offspring Ptolemy Philadelphus into his household.
Helios is irate as he loathes bowing down to the barbaric Roman Emperor who has taken away his divined destiny. His wiser sister Selene works the court though she conceals her Isis worship from those who scorn her beliefs as primitive. Selene soon learns she possesses inner strengths, outer enticing beauty to rival her mom, and a need to defend her religious beliefs and her people. She refuses to back away from the emperor as she challenges the man who defeated her mother in ways her mom tried to do but ultimately failed.
Mindful of Michelle Moran’s delightful young adult targeted Cleopatra’s Daughter, Stephanie Dray provides a wonderful adult entry that enhances the first century BC thriller with a touch of magic. Selene is strong as she tries to protect her siblings and her people from the wrath of Rome. Historical armchair readers will enjoy a trip to the Mediterranean escorted by the charming Lily of the Nile.