Columbus: Emily Holleman for "The Drowning King"
Ancient Egypt, 51 B.C. Sisters Arsinoe and Cleopatra face a devastating choice: to allow Rome's army to siphon power from their ailing father, or to take matters-and the dynasty-into their own hands.
It's the dawn of a new era for Egypt as Cleopatra and her brother, Ptolemy, are welcomed to the throne after their father's death. But joint rule breeds its own conflicts: can the Nile be shared? Long overlooked by his father in favor of the beguiling Cleopatra, Ptolemy is determined to prove his ability as both man and king-but, at eleven, he is no match for his elder sister, who's quick to assert her primacy throughout the land.
Their sister Arsinoe is torn between her siblings in one of history's greatest power struggles. As the palace echoes with rumors, scandals and betrayal, Arsinoe's love for her childhood friend Alexander deepens into a forbidden passion that could endanger both their lives. When Cleopatra is forced to flee a rebel uprising, Arsinoe decides she has no choice but to follow her sister into exile.
Emily Holleman, a graduate of Yale University, spent several years as an editor for Salon—a job she left to follow Arsinoe and her quest for the throne of Egypt. Currently based in Brooklyn, she has devoted the past three years to reading and writing about the Ptolemies and is, like Arsinoe, a younger sister.
Jen Ortiz is a senior editor at Marie Claire where she edits the @PLAY section and covers culture. Her writing has also appeared in GQ, New York, Narrative.ly, and others.