Daughters of the Nile

December 4, 2013

Daughters of the Nile slide

From critically acclaimed historical fantasy author, Stephanie Dray comes the long-awaited new tale based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter.

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?

Read the Reviews

“A stirring story of a proud, beautiful, intelligent woman whom a 21st century reader can empathize with. Dray’s crisp, lush prose brings Selene and her world to life.” ~RT Book Reviews

“The boldest, and most brilliant story arc Dray has penned…” ~Modge Podge Reviews

“If you love historical fiction and magical realism, these books are for you.” ~A Bookish Affair

Read an Excerpt

Below me, six black Egyptian cobras dance on their tails, swaying. I watch their scaled hoods spread wide like the uraeus on the crown of Egypt. Even from this height, I’m paralyzed by the sight of the asps, their forked tongues flickering out between deadly fangs. I don’t notice that I’m gripping the balustrade until my knuckles have gone white, all my effort concentrated upon not swooning and falling to my death.

And I would swoon if I were not so filled with rage. Someone has arranged for this. Someone who knows what haunts me. Someone who wants to send me a message and make this occasion a moment of dread. My husband, the king must know it, for he calls down, “That’s enough. We’ve seen enough of the snake charmer!”

There is commotion below, some upset at having displeased us. Then Chryssa hisses, “Who could think it a good idea to honor the daughter of Cleopatra by coaxing asps from baskets of figs?”

The story the world tells of my mother’s suicide is that she cheated the emperor of his conquest by plunging her hand into a basket where a venomous serpent lay in wait. A legend only, some say, for the serpent was never found. But I was there. I brought her that basket. She was the one bitten but the poison lingers in my blood to this day. I can still remember the scent of figs in my nostrils, lush and sweet. The dark god Anubis was embroidered into the woven reeds of the basket, the weight of death heavy in my arms. I can still see my mother reach her hand into that basket, surrendering her life so that her children might go on without her. And I have gone on without her.

I have survived too much to be terrorized by the emperor’s agents or whoever else is responsible for this.

If it is a message, a warning from my enemies, I have already allowed them too much of a victory by showing any reaction at all. So I adopt as serene a mask as possible. My daughter blinks her big blue eyes, seeing past my facade. “Are you frightened, Mother? They cannot bite us from there. The snakes are very far away.”

I get my legs under me, bitterness on my tongue. “Oh, but they’re never far enough away.”


Daughters of the Nile cover


Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads

Available now in print and e-book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Powells | IndieBound | Goodreads

Stephanie Dray Headshot

STEPHANIE DRAY is a bestselling, multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the transformative power of magic realism to illuminate the stories of women in history and inspire the young women of today. She remains fascinated by all things Roman or Egyptian and has-to the consternation of her devoted husband-collected a house full of cats and ancient artifacts.



I have become a recent convert to the world of digital books. Yes, I have read many things online before such as fanfiction, but I have only bought my first e-reader in the last few weeks. Friends of mine have had the Kindle and I did hear a great review of the Nook but I was not at the point of converting myself to a device yet. I bought the Sony Pocket Reader and added 56 books onto it within the first day of owning it. Coincidentally, I read an article in the editorial section of the New York Times this past week and wondered if I was betraying my literary roots by enjoying the convenience of my reader.

Many of the books I have read have been from the library but I do have a vast selection of books I own as well and I find my e-reader to be easier. I do not need to leave my home to borrow or buy a book that I want. I can make the text easier to read. I can search within my books for certain quotes or selections that I want to share. I understand this may be not right to others but I like it when things come to me. Our world becomes more of an open and sharing place every day and the library has always been a shining beacon of this type of thinking. With the advent of social networking, there is more connection between people though it may be through a computer screen. Digital books are a natural evolution. You can fight all you want against it but the printed word is now likely to be printed on a screen as well as on paper. One could even argue it is more environmentally conscious to have books digitally presented as we no longer need to cut down trees to make the paper to use to print our books. I will always love the smell of an old edition of a book but I also enjoy having more than one book at my fingertips.

Some comments from Klinkenborg I will agree with are the commercialization of books. I do not enjoy that certain companies including Apple and Barnes and Noble encourage only the purchase of books but you must remember that these companies are in business to first and foremost make money. They do encourage more reading but they can only do this if they remain in business. Also, a digital reader’s guide has become necessary but where is the best physical book guide? How many translations of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey have been published that have been at times wonderful and horrendous? The questions I present is does it matter? I want people to read and if a new high definition, best quality, newest edition ever has been released and it will encourage more people to discover the beauty of reading and reading often, is that wrong? If more kids will read Wuthering Heights because they have reprinted it with a cover reminiscent of Stephanie Meyer, is that wrong? In my mind, no. once we have the readers hooked, we can present them with better editions, more options, and similar books and turn them into a voracious supporter of the written word in all of its forms.

I found this article to be very interesting but I cannot agree with the complaints of Klinkenborg. Reading and literature is always evolving and that is one of the most enduring aspects of it. We are now living in a world where we read and write more than we have ever before. The world may feel smaller because we can connect with people everywhere with the touch of a button but that means we can expand our reading into worlds we have never before explored. This is my vote for the digital revolution!