Saturday, September 24, 2011

Song of the Nile - Stephanie Dray - Blog Tour Review

Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra's daughter is the one woman with the power to destroy an empire...

Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.

The magic of Isis flowing through her veins is what makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra's daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother's throne be more than she's willing to pay?
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: Song of the Nile
Genre: Adult Fiction, Historical
Publisher: Penguin Group Incorporated (USA)
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Format: E-ARC
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Shelly for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5

Selene has been both a princess, and captive in her short life. Now, she is set to become Queen, as long as she remains loyal to Augustus. She is devoted to Isis as well, and now that Rome no longer worships Isis, Selene has to worship in private. Isis is a part of her, as much as Egypt is. She will have to travel a treacherous slope if she is to return to her native Egypt, but will she be strong enough to do anything to gain her desires? 
My recollection is that Selene isn't a well-known character from Egyptian history, but Dray brings her to life. She re-imagines the world and times and brings to life the rivalries, and family bonds inherent during the time period of the Ptolemy reign, as well as their subsequent captivity. I was fascinated by Selene. Her relationship with Augustus was tumultuous to say the least. I enjoyed reading how Selene grew from a child to a woman, even with all that happened to her. She was a strong woman, playing the political and religious minefield as she struggled to regain what she wanted the most. 
Dray is a skilled storyteller as she weaves fiction in with history. I appreciated her notes at the end of the book which described the events she lifted from history. I also enjoyed how she rounded out the characters, as she gave us plausible scenarios for how certain scenes came about. I definitely want to find out more, and I love how rich Song of the Nile is with history. 
All in all, a captivating read for those wanting to learn more about Selene, and Augustus and this period in Egyptian and Roman history. With lush descriptions, this is certainly an enjoyable read, even when unpleasant events arise. I'm curious to read more about Selene now and will be checking out the rest of Dray's novels. 

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