Frequently Asked Questions About the Books

Would Cleopatra Selene Really Have Considered Herself Egyptian? - Mon, 03 Mar 2014
    One of the criticisms sometimes leveled at my Nile series is that because the Ptolemaic Dynasty considered itself Macedonian, the emphasis I place on Egyptian culture–and Cleopatra Selene’s awareness of it–is somehow historically inaccurate or anachronistic. I believe this criticism is made primarily by people who correctly understand that Cleopatra the Great, Selene’s mother, was not [...]

Why Do You Hate Ancient Romans So Much? (And Other Frequently Asked Questions) - Thu, 23 Feb 2012
A few years ago, I was enraptured by the life story of a nine year old Egyptian princess who was taken prisoner by the Romans, dragged through the streets in chains, and yet went on to be the most powerful queen in Augustus’ empire. I decided to write some books about her, the most recent [...]

Did Augustus Really Persecute Isis Worship? - Mon, 16 May 2011
A common misconception held even by some classics majors who ought to know better is that Rome was tolerant of every foreign god and the idea that Augustus suppressed Isis worship is a fictional literary flourish. While it’s true that Rome generally accorded respect to foreign gods, there are a few religions that fell afoul of [...]

Juba II and Cleopatra Selene: Was it a Love Match? - Fri, 25 Feb 2011
The King and Queen of Mauretania enjoyed an apparently stable marriage of at least twenty years in duration. In a time when spouses were swapped like fruitcakes at family gatherings, this was somewhat of an anomaly and leads many to wonder whether or not theirs was a love story. Birds of a Feather The two certainly shared [...]

Of What Importance Was King Herod in the Life of Cleopatra’s Daughter? - Tue, 31 Aug 2010
Though no ancient sources directly link the two monarchs, it’s difficult to write a novel about the life of Cleopatra’s daughter without referencing one of her mother’s bitterest enemies. Herod the Great was Cleopatra VII’s rival even before her affair with the Roman Triumvir, Antony. As a Ptolemy, Cleopatra maintained a hereditary claim on Judea, but [...]

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A Regretful Review of THE LOTUS PALACE - Mon, 04 May 2015
Let me tell you what I regret about Jeannie Lin’s THE LOTUS PALACE. I regret every day that I didn’t read this book. Now, understand that I wanted to read it. I wanted to read it so much that I somehow own three copies–one in paperback, one for the Nook and one for the Kindle. Now [...]

The San Francisco Book Review Says… - Tue, 01 Mar 2011
“Stephanie Dray’s Lily of the Nile is a spectacular blend of history and unforgettable fiction…Lily of the Nile is a fresh and vibrant story of family, loyalty, political games, and love. It’s exquisitely written and left me begging for more. The only letdown was that it had to end.” ~ San Francisco Book Review Also, a review [...]

Review of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra - Wed, 09 Feb 2011
I couldn’t be more pleased about the resurgence of interest in Cleopatra VII of Egypt. Given that I’ve spent the past few years of my life working on a trilogy about Cleopatra’s daughter, I admit a ready bias in favor of Stacy Schiff’s new biography. However, I believe that this book would appeal even to [...]

Reviews for Lily of the Nile are Coming Fast & Furious Now - Thu, 13 Jan 2011
“Stephanie Dray weaves a brilliantly crafted story. Rich is details, plot, and character…an amazing start of a brilliant trilogy. I simply cannot wait to read what comes next.” 5 crowns from Royal Reviews “Nothing short of breathtaking…” Errant Dreams Reviews “Augustus was brilliantly done by the author. His thoughts, motivations and life were so clear. [...]

Review: Lady MacBeth - Mon, 08 Nov 2010
  The first chapter of Lady MacBeth should humble any historical fiction writer. With prose so lyrical that you’ll want to re-read each sentence to enjoy its cadence and artistry, Susan Fraser King gives us a compelling introduction to a fascinating queen. Lady MacBeth is a wonderful example of what historical fiction does best. It corrects the [...]

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Up or Down the Nile? Another one for the Blooper File - Fri, 07 Dec 2012
The Nile is a river in Egypt that empties into the Mediterranean. Its source, though hotly debated in ancient times and incorrectly theorized by King Juba II to be in ancient Mauretania, is actually (mostly) in Ethiopia. The river flows north. Consequently, when traveling from Alexandria on a river barge into deeper parts of Egypt, one [...]

On the Importance of Clear Note-taking - Mon, 24 Oct 2011
Last week, I posted an article on historical accuracy and whether it matters. My general contention is that I won’t change anything in history unless there’s a very good plot reason for doing so. And even though I am willing to move a battle, I try very hard to get the small things right. I [...]

Bloopers and Historical Fantasy - Tue, 18 May 2010
When your heroine has magical abilities and you’ve written your book to be as accessible as possible, historical accuracy may not seem like something an author would be overly concerned with. But when it comes to my writing, I like to make sure that when I deviate from history–I do it purposefully. To that end, I’ll [...]

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