Saturday, November 30, 2013

Release spotlight: Stephanie Dray's Daughters of the Nile

I've been waylaid on my review for Stephanie Dray's Daughters of the Nile due to the holidays and dealing with my cat emergency (I'll be posting it on Thursday), so I'm sharing instead an excerpt from it. I adored this series but this final book killed me with the awesome, and I can't wait to squeal about it. As you make any wishlists, consider adding Dray's trilogy, especially if you like meaty historicals, kick ass heroines, lurid love affairs, gruesome magic, rich detail and exotic ambiance.  (Seriously -- this trilogy ranks among my all-time favorite, and has to be among the best historical fiction trilogies I've ever read.)  You can find the book blurb and purchasing info for Daughters of the Nile at Dray's website.

Read an Excerpt

Daughters of the Nile coverBelow 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."

Learn more about Stephanie Dray and her books at her website.

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