cover image Jewel of the Nile

Jewel of the Nile

Tessa Afshar. Tyndale, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4964-2875-2

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. (June)