Berkley Publishing Group, $15.00, 351 pages
Cleopatra’s story of power and political intrigue is known the world over. But few are aware of the story of Selene, her daughter. Author Stephanie Dray explores the life of one of Egypt’s most important female figures. Lily of the Nile opens with the death of the Queen of Egypt. Selene, daughter of Mark Antony, and her brothers find themselves in the hands of Augustus and his ruthless Roman soldiers. When death seems eminent, they are saved by the emperor’s sister and are sent to live with other royal orphans. Selene struggles to keep her family and faith intact. She must also work to outmaneuver the new Caesar as he attempts to use her for his own personal gains. The longer she lives in Rome, the more distance she gains from Egypt. Is this a betrayal of her mother or Isis? And what will Selene do when Augustus demands she become his Cleopatra? Drays’ seamless telling of an important but overlooked part of history is a fascinating read. Fortunately, Dray is writing a sequel that will explore Selene’s life in Africa. While you wait for that, enjoy this story of a young woman’s journey to become a queen.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin