Author: Stephanie Dray
Series: 3rd (Lily of the Nile, Song of the Nile)
Published: December 3rd 2013 by Berkley Trade
Source: Publisher via Author
Description: After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty. With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind. Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line?
I Give This ...
I've sat and thought about this book a really long time. Sometimes, the words fail a person when it comes to describing exactly what one thought of a book. This one left me speechless.
I went into this book with a little hesitation. I wasn't thrilled with Song of the Nile. But, Selene really became the women she was meant to be in this last installment. I often felt like it was because she let go of the idea of returning to rule Egypt and she let go of Helios. Those huge things weighed her down and really prevented her from being happy.
By letting go of the idea of Egypt, she was able to stop bending over backwards to please Augustus. She no longer needed to obey his every whim and obsession. I think this also lead to some awesome confrontations with the Emperor. So many people were afraid of him (with every right to be so), but Selene could hold her own against him. She defied him on many occasions, and while there were definitely repercussions for her actions, Augustus was so deluded that she was never out of favor for very long. But interestingly enough, she doesn't care what Augustus thinks. She's going to do her hardest to protect her kingdom and her children.
Her love for Juba grows as time passes. I think was bonds her to him is when the finally have a son together. She sees his affections for him and her daughter even when he has to know that she is no his. Juba would literally walk on fire for all of them. But, his major fault is that he has a hard time standing up to Augustus and occasionally he thinks Selene's misgivings are unfounded. But, he learns to trust her and love her.
I was so afraid the story would fall apart after the incident with the horse stables. How in the world would Juba and Selene ever put their lives back together? But, when the unthinkable happens, it was beautiful to read how the two of them managed to fall together instead of falling apart. I was also in tears at the end. Selene's death was absolutely beautifully told. Her version of the afterlife may differ with the beliefs of today, but it was so vivid!
I can't not give this book enough praise. I think it beautifully highlights what was going on in Rome during this time period. I love how the author portrayed Selene and brought her to life. I also loved learning about the deity Isis. She was such a prominent figure in the time before Christianity.