Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #1)” as Want to Read:
Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lily of the Nile

(Cleopatra's Daughter #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,780 ratings  ·  530 reviews
From the New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter comes the first epic novel of Cleopatra's daughter.

Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will
Paperback, 351 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Berkley Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,780 ratings  ·  530 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Lily of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #1)
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose many of us know Cleopatra's story. An Egyptian queen who seduced two Roman generals in order to keep Egypt an independent kingdom. Antony, the second Roman general, becomes so infatuated with Cleopatra that he starts to recklessly hand out Roman territory to her, such as Syria and Libya etc, and names Cleopatra's son as the true heir of Julius Caesar. All of this makes Octavian (Caesar's adopted son) displeased and furious at being challenged. He declares war on Cleopatra, but it's rea ...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker
I can't imagine how hard it would be to create a fictional novel using real historical characters and events. Stephanie Dray did it and was able to create a great book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

The book begins with Cleopatra losing Alexandria. Cleopatra's children, Prince Alexander and Princess Selene (twins) and their younger brother, Ptolomy, are then taken by the Roman army (lead by Octavian) back to Rome.

Selene is the star of the book. While she comes across as a pampered, spoiled p
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I received a full pre-release copy of the book from the author and was spellbound. Fans of HBO's Rome or Herbert's Dune will largely be engrossed by the political dealings between Augustus and Selene. I found the troubles and lengths which Selene had to execute for, not only her survival, but her brothers' as well to be far more defining than the softer choices which Michelle Moran's version took. What's even more satisfying is that readers could be pleased by both books and not feel either lack ...more
Kate Quinn
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I missed an opportunity to blurb this book thanks to some mixups with the US Postal Service, but was delighted to buy and review it later. "Lily of the Nile" is the second book I have recently read about Cleopatra's daughter Selene; reading it so close on the heels of Michelle Moran's "Cleopatra's Daughter," I was initially dubious about similarity of plot. Happily, Stephanie Dray presents the same story in new and fresh ways. Her Selene is a poised and intelligent heroine, navigating the snake ...more

While Lily of the Nile is well-written, with generally well-developed characters and a clear storyline, I preferred Moran's Cleopatra's daughter. I just didn't like Dray's Selene very much and unless I stumble over the sequel and it looks very interesting, I probably won't read the next book in Dray's series.

While Dray and Moran both wrote a novel focusing on Cleopatra Selene they told very different stories. So don't hesitate to read both if you're interested in the time period. Dray and Moran'
This account of Cleopatra's daughter was laughable. I have had a fascination with Cleopatra, Egypt and Rome since I was a child so I have read too many things to count about these topics. But while not all books on the topic are well written or entertaining, Lily of the Nile was probably the worst I've read to date. I did not realize how deeply entwined "magic" would be in this telling and had I known I would have wisely avoided the tale. Dray mixes minimal historical fact with major fantasy ele ...more
Anne Osterlund
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Selene carried the fig basket with the asp that killed her mother, sending Queen Cleopatra into the afterlife. And leaving Selene and her brothers alone.
To face the burdens of a lost Egypt.
The hopes of the Isiac religion.
And the ultimate enemy.
Octavian. Leader of Rome. Conqueror of Selene’s homeland. Architect of her parents’ fall.
And the man who expects Antony and Cleopatra’s children to call him . . .

A fascinating look into the life of an Egyptian princess raised by the family of the ma
Historical, but hard to tell where history stopped and creative license crept in. Left lots of unanswered questions, ended abruptly and quite unsatisfactorily. But it was a good read.
This book was always going to attract comparison with Michelle Moran’s Cleopatra’s Daughter, featuring the same characters, the children of Kleopatra VII and Marcus Antonius, during the same period of their lives, the years after they were brought to Rome to be raised by Octavia with their half-siblings. Author Stephanie Dray even mentions Moran’s novel in the acknowledgements of this book, so comparison between the two novels was always going to be inevitable. Fortunately, Stephanie Dray’s Lily ...more
Sep 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
After the defeat and death of Cleopatra, her three youngest children were taken to Rome and paraded as spoils of war, then adopted into the household of the victorious emperor, Octavian. Of the three, the one who went on to make a mark on history was Cleopatra’s daughter, Cleopatra Selene. In Lily of the Nile, Stephanie Dray tells the story of Selene’s coming of age in Rome, with a magical element added.

Selene is a fully-rounded character. We feel for her as she experiences her sudden fall from
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
Any author who thinks that making jokes about slavery and rape is "HILARIOUS" is an author I don't need to waste my time with.

“50 Shades of Grey/Jefferson Mashup we’ve got in mind.”

Really??? So the ownership, dehumanization and rape of a 14 year old girl is just so side-splittingly funny.

Then to issue some fauxpology claiming butthurt and how much one "cares" about social justice is unacceptable. I love ancient Egypt but I'll spend my money with authors w
Minni Mouse
I picked up this book because I was on a Mistress of Rome series withdrawal and because I hoped it would help rekindle my interest in historical fiction. And it did.

And, okay, I came to the realization that I know close to nothing about Cleopatra and absolutely nothing about her daughter, Cleopatra Selene. I found myself Googling Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, Caesarion, and Selene just to get an idea of what was true and was was fabricated. The struggle I found was because this boo
Okay, I have to admit. I despised the book. I hated the heroine with a fiery passion in the first 300 pages of the novel. In fact I had several battles inside myself to finish or not finish this dreadful monstrosity of a novel. Selene seemed to me as an indecisive,overly-opinionated, whiny little girl who took others for granted. The other characters weren't too likable either. In fact, my favourite person would have been Octavian because he actually got things done. He was clever and cunning an ...more
After the deaths of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, Princess Selene and her two brothers are brought to Rome as high-profile hostages and installed in the household of the emperor. What follows in this first of a planned trilogy are Selene's plots with twin Helios trying to escape their confinement, the battle of wills they wage with the emperor, as well as the mysterious *writings* from Isis that appear and disappear on Selene's hands.

Yep, there's a lot more to it than that, but plenty of other re
Tara Chevrestt
This is very similar to Moran's starting with Selene being forced to go to Rome, continues with childhood in Rome, ends with similar situation regarding Juba. (No spoilers here.) However, it was more entertaining and I liked the author's writing style better. There is the same intrigue involving Julia and forbidden romance and all that, but a bonus is lots of politics and religious history regarding Rome and their hatred of Isis as Augustus attempts to oppress the religion that Selene wants to " ...more
Aly is so frigging bored
I loved it! Stephanie Dray has written a compelling book. Everyone who loves history, Cleopatra and Egypt should read it.
Apr 21, 2022 rated it it was ok
While I love books of this time period I cannot say that this one worked for me. This was more fantasy than historical which was not what I was expecting. If you go into it with a different mindset it might be better.
I am all for historical fantasy, and the fact that it was believed Egypt held such great magic makes this for a scene where it should work. But it was lacking something. I also didn't appreciate the use of English words for Latin concepts even though this is warned at the start of t
May 04, 2022 rated it liked it
So much of history that I still have yet to learn. I knew about Caesar and Cleopatra, then Cleopatra and Marc Antony and how they killed themselves so not to be captured by Octavian. Well I really didn't know much about their children, twins Selena and Helios (which means Moon and Sun).

Octavian takes the twins as his own, which is usually very odd for Romans. They are so paranoid that everyone is out to kill them, that they kill everyone in sight!! But these twins stay in his house and Octavian
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was simply a beautiful novel. While not exactly a heart-thumping page turner, it nonetheless had me enraptured with its story and characters every step of the way.

Lily of the Nile is a historical fiction novel about Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. She and her twin brother Helios were hailed from birth as a sacred pair for the worshipers of Isis, but after Alexandria fell to Roman forces and the suicides of their parents, the children are brought to Rome by the conqueror
Lyn (Readinghearts)
So - Historical fiction and historical figures are my forte. In fact, I am one of the mods of a group called History of Royals, so when Stephanie Dray approached me with an offer to read a ARC of this book I jumped at the chance. Although I have not read a lot about the Ptolomies so far, I find them and Egypt fascinating. I have always been fascinated by their gods, rituals, etc. This particular book focuses on Cleopatra's daughter, Cleopatra Selene. It begins with Cleopatra's death, and follows ...more
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I have to tell you, I was unbelievably THRILLED to win this in the Giveaway. I never win things. And it was a book. About Egypt. I was psyched.

The book was AWESOME. I adored it. I’ve recommended it to the school librarian, spread the word through school about the author’s writing competition, The Cleopatra Literary Contest for Young Women, and basically told everyone they should read it.

I loved the book. I found it to be extremely well written and well researched. The
Kai Pollard
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Lily of the Nile brings back the beauty of a forgotten era.

We all know of Antony and Cleopatra and the historical rule of Julius Caesar. Stephanie Dray's book brings us to the next generation. Lily of the Nile is about the time of Cleopatra’s daughter, Cleopatra Selene, as she is taken hostage by Augustus Caesar after her mother’s death.

The author weaves magic into the life of Selene as she struggles to uphold not only her mother's legacy, but to keep herself and her brothers safe from death at
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I adored this new historical YA by Stephanie Dray. She takes the era of Cleopatra from dusty old roman tomes to a world full of intrigue and sensation that anyone can read, understand, and digest. Ms. Dray has the ability to pull you into a story like very few authors out today, she also can make an inherently YA read feel adult and full of sensuality. With her ability to roll a story across your palette and tether you to the pages of her books I see wonderful things coming from Ms. Dray.

So, mor
Apr 13, 2011 added it
I thought that this novel about Selene, daughter of Cleopatra, was well written, and I enjoyed it, although I would have enjoyed it more if the supernatural element had been missing. I would have liked to have seen how Selene coped with her situation as an unwilling guest in Augustus's household and stood up for her religious beliefs without the help of hieroglyphics magically appearing on her body at sundry times.

One thing I did appreciate about this novel was the three-dimensional characteriz
The writing style was a bit dry for my taste but I enjoyed it enough to continue with the trilogy.
Stephanie (Bookfever)
I've read several stories by Stephanie Dray but I hadn't actually picked up her debut novel, Lily of the Nile. I had some minor doubt about a story because a story about the daughter of Cleopatra is one I've read before and I was worried it would be too similar but I worried for nothing because it was actually really amazing. I ended up being instantly hooked by the story and I want the read the other books in the trilogy as soon as possible.

It's actually a little strange that I waited so long w
”There are only three kinds of ink that rulers use to write their stories. Sweat, blood, or tears. So choose your ink carefully.”

If Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Schecter had an older sister, it would be this book. And does it have some lessons to show its little sister.

Cleopatra Selene and her brothers have been taken captive by Octavius Caesar. Children of Cleopatra, they are seen as both mortal enemies of the Roman empire and pawns in the twisted game that is Roman power. Completely cu
Kiona (Books & Cafes)
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on

Lily of the Nile is Stephanie Dray’s first novel in the trilogy following Princess Selene. Selene, daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, loses both her parents in the war between Egypt and Rome. Not only does Egypt lose its rulers, but it also loses any chance of hope when Selene and her twin brother, Helios – the rightful heirs to the throne – are taken to Rome as prisoners of war and the emperor’s hostages. While Helios schemes and plots escape, Sele
Lily of the Nile is the first book in a trilogy dedicated to Cleopatra Selene, daughter of the infamous Cleopatra and Mark Antony, starting from the death of her parents and her arrival in Rome. After reading the fantastic I Am Livia, I picked this up on a whim because I wanted to read more from that time period. Unfortunately, this novel was a let down for me.

Maybe I was wrong in starting this one right after I Am Livia, for two reason: first, I completely and utterly adored Smith’s novel; and
Tamora Pierce
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, historical
Selene, her twin brother Helios, and their younger brother Philadelphius, are taken prisoners by Octavian, soon to be renamed Caesar Augustus, in the wake of the suicides of their famous parents, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, and the murder of their older half-brother Caesarion. They are abruptly removed from their home in Egypt to be marched as trophies of war in Octavian's triumph, then swept into his household, made up of his daughter Julia, Anthony's other son, Octavia (the wife spurned by Mar ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray - 4 stars 1 6 Sep 19, 2020 05:24AM  
Historical Fiction/Romance/Fantasy/YA? 1 13 Sep 18, 2013 08:20AM  
The Readers Society: Lily of the Nile 8 25 Dec 15, 2011 10:03PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lady of the Eternal City (The Empress of Rome, #4)
  • Daughters of Rome (The Empress of Rome, #1)
  • Empress of the Seven Hills (The Empress of Rome, #3)
  • Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women
  • Cleopatra's Daughter
  • Nefertiti
  • The Heretic Queen
  • Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
  • The Lion and the Rose (The Borgias, #2)
  • Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome, #2)
  • The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora
  • The Serpent and the Pearl  (The Borgias, #1)
  • Corrag
  • The Twentieth Wife (Taj Mahal Trilogy, #1)
  • Cleopatra's Moon
  • The Three Fates (The Empress of Rome, #3.5)
  • Lady Jayne Disappears
  • The Venetian Contract
See similar books…
STEPHANIE DRAY is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. She lives with her husband, cats, and history books.

Other books in the series

Cleopatra's Daughter (3 books)
  • Song of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #2)
  • Daughters of the Nile (Cleopatra's Daughter, #3)

Related Articles

  Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people love books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts through...
34 likes · 0 comments
“Selene’s life is a lesson to us that the trajectory of women’s equality hasn’t always been a forward march. In some ways the ancients were more advanced than we are today; there have been setbacks before and may be more in the future.” 32 likes
“Kings and queens cry with family. Hide your grief from subjects and strangers.” 23 likes
More quotes…