Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

lilyofthe nile

The son of Gaius Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, Caesarion, seems to get most of the press in fiction in relation to the three children borne by Cleopatra with Marcus Antonius, Selene, Helios and Philadelphus.  The fate of those three is the backdrop to Stephanie Dray’s series starting with Lily of the Nile.  I was captivated from the get go as the author begins with Cleopatra’s death and the arrival in Rome of the children as part of Octavian’s Triumph; a humiliating experience to say the least.  They are given over to Octavia’s care but it’s Octavian with help from Livia who are the true architects of the children’s future.  The interaction between Octavian and Selene progresses through the story and is one of the highlights of the book.  The author does a superb job in that relationship, one that changes/grows as the power of Isis is made manifest in Selene.  The erstwhile rulers of Egypt never give up their hope of being restored to their rightful place but there are many obstacles and lessons to be learned.  I really enjoyed this story, the portrayal of Caesar Augustus is especially well done as are the characters of the twins…indeed this is a hallmark of Stephanie Dray’s writing acumen…the way she draws the reader into a character’s state of mind.  Looking forward to the rest of this series… 5 stars.