Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

Title: Song of the Nile
Author: Stephanie Dray
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Books
Website: www.stephaniedray.com

Song of the Nile is the second Novel of Cleopatra's Daughter written by Stephanie Dray. The first book, Lily of the Nile, was wonderful and reminded me how much I enjoy historical fiction.  When reading a series, I always wonder if the current book will hold up to the story told in the previous book (or books).  I am thrilled to say that Song of the Nile retained the strengths of Lily of the Nile while allowing the characters to grow with their circumstances.

Cleopatra Selene is no longer the frightened, young girl who was dragged into Rome as a captive.  She has enchanted Octavian and convinced him to make her a queen.  Although her ultimate goal is to return to Egypt as queen, she is determined to take part in ruling the country given to her husband, Juba II.  Their marriage stands on ceremony alone and for much of the book, the two are apart.  When Juba travels, Cleopatra Selene reigns and when she is absent the country's leadership falls to the council.

Each time Octavian summons her Selene's hopes for being named Queen of Egypt rise and she positions herself for power.  While her womanly innocence was stripped from her, she now uses her feminine appeal to manipulate circumstances to her advantage.  All the while she longs to see her twin, Helios, again.

Song of the Nile is much more adult in content than the first book of the series but this fits the story as Cleopatra Selene grows into her role as female leader and mother.  Dray again gives readers a compelling story with strong characters and fantastic writing.  While she also provides a very realistic historic setting, readers must remember that this is a novel, a work of fiction, and as such Dray has taken significant liberties with the factual story of Cleopatra Selene as recorded by historians.  In her Author's Note at the end of the novel, Dray acknowledges these changes and also where she has filled information into periods of time in Selene's life which have been lost to us.

I was excited to hear that the final novel of the trilogy has been picked up by Berkley Books although I am unsure if a release date has been announced.  Here is a link to my review of Lily of the Nile.

I received a copy of Song of the Nile from the author in exchange for my honest review.


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