Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Lily of the Nile
Author: Stephanie Dray
Release Date: January 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Fiction
Year/Setting: Cleopatra's Age/Rome & Egypt
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Moderate/Intense
Stephanie's Website/Blog: www.stephaniedray.com
Rome's Triumph is most definitely Stephanie Dray's Triumph. Her way of mixing the compelling historical story of Cleopatra's daughter, with the mystery and majesty of the power of Isis is truly a wonder to read, and marks Ms. Dray as a force to be reckoned with in the publishing world.
Readers can smell the heady scent of the flowers and hear the lyrical lute flow through their ears as the cries of delight go up from the crowd lining the marble terraces, announcing to the world that their beloved Queen Cleopatra and her consort Mark Antony have brought twins into the world who will rule their beloved Egypt one day.
But as they reach their teenage years, disaster strikes. Selene is told to bring her brothers (her twin, Helios and their younger sibling, Philadelphus) to her mother's temple - the tomb built for the amazing Queen where she will enter the afterlife. When they arrive Cleopatra speaks with them about what is to happen now. The Romans have won. Octavian has arrived to dispose of the rest of the Ptolemy family, wanting nothing more than to take Cleopatra and her wretched children through the streets of Rome where they will be beaten and chastised by the hideous barbarians inside the marble gates of the Roman Empire.
Cleopatra has decided that she will not succumb to the horrible man's requests and decides instead to join her true love in the next world, where they will forever walk along the banks of the Nile. As she speaks the words of Isis she bestows upon each of her children a gift: For the youngest, she gives her sight; Philadelphus will always be able to see the paths that the Nile has to offer and have the ability to show to others which way they should travel. For her oldest son - Helios, the true King - she gives the power and strength to fight the horrors that await him. And for her precious Selene she gives her...Isis, herself. Selene IS the Resurrection and the hope for Egypt to rise again. With the gifts etched in stone the children are taken from the tomb, and only Selene can seem to hear the hissing of the violent creatures writhing in the basket on her beloved mother's lap.
Selene and her brothers find themselves wards of their true enemy. Readers watch as they are marched through the streets of Rome, and how they are saved and granted mercy by Octavian's sister. Although taken into the home just so that the Emperor has a hold over the citizens who still believe that Isis is the only Divine entity to look up to, a story of true passion, love, and understanding unravels before the reader's eyes.
Helios uses everything in his power to fight the enemy and escape, while Selene uses her gifts to convince the Emperor that she is a valuable asset. Messages appear on Selene's skin - messages from the Goddess Isis - and the Emperor grows more and more fearful of a girl who seems even brighter than the mother she came from. A deal between the two is struck that may just bring the Pharaoh back to the throne where she belongs.
Every step of this story is truly exciting. Although the daughter of Cleopatra has certainly been the subject of books before, Ms. Dray has found a way to draw superbly on the realm of magic and religion to tell her tale with passion. I'm not sure what I was more excited about - the story itself, or finding out that this is simply the first in a trilogy with a great deal more excitement to come. I, for one, can hardly wait for the second in this amazing series. Bravo!!!
Until next time,
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