Jewel of the Nile
Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush.
Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.
Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.
In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters—including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.
Afshar's excellent latest (after Daughter of Rome) follows a young mixed-race woman in the first century CE as she embarks on a quest to find a father she thought long dead. Chariline is the granddaughter of a Roman official; her father is a Cushite who defied his queen in order to marry her mother. After Chariline's mother died in childbirth, her heritage and the color of her skin marked her an outsider in both the Kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire. After overhearing her grandfather say her father works at a Cush palace, Chariline becomes determined to find him after nearly two decades. With little to go on, she surreptitiously gains access to the palace a move that puts her life in danger. Then Chariline's grandmother gives her a box that belonged to her mother, and messages hidden inside it suggest a woman in Rome may hold the answers she seeks. To get to Rome, Chariline stows away on a merchant ship where, after being discovered, she must depend on merchant Theo's assistance if she wants to reach her destination and find out who her father is. However, Chariline soon discovers that the more she learns, the more questions arise. Exquisite plotting and outstanding historical details set this apart. Afshar's fans will be overjoyed with this tale of love lost and found.