Title: The Circle Cast
Author: Alex Epstein
Publisher: Tradewind Books
Pages: Paperback; 300
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Intended Reading Group:
4 Keys to My Heart
How did an exiled girl become the most powerful witch in legend?
Britain, 480 AD. Saxon barbarians are invading, pushing the civilized British out of their own island. Morgan is the daughter of the governor of Cornwall. But when her father is murdered and her mother taken as the King's new wife, she has to flee to Ireland to avoid being murdered herself.
But Ireland is no refuge. She's captured in a slave raid and sold to a village witch. As Morgan comes of age, she discovers her own immense magical powers. She falls in love with a young Irish chieftain, and makes him powerful.
But will her drive for revenge destroy her one chance for love and happiness?
The Circle Cast follows Morgan, a young girl who a governor's daughter. Morgan is not a weak girl by any means, but what she witnesses at the beginning of the story is enough to make any person falter in their life. Morgan, however, spends her anger and disappointment on vowing vengeance. Although she may be sent away, she vows that she will return even stronger soon enough to take back what was taken from her in the first place. She's my kind of girl.
I've always been a fan of anything that falls in with Arthurian lore. Morgan Le Fay is a popular character in these stories, but up until now I had never been treated to one that revolved entirely around her. I was eager to see where Epstein would take me with this story, and I wasn't disappointed. Morgan's growth into the powerful wizard of tales is nothing short of utterly intriguing.
Morgan is an excellently written character. Extremely multi-faceted, the reader is allowed to see the vengeance and anger that drive her while still being allowed to see the scared, weaker girl that is on the surface. As she grows in her powers it is easy to believe the magical elements of the story that are woven in. There are times in the book when Morgan even exceeds her own expectations, and those are a treat to watch as a reader. Epstein does a lovely job of bringing the world around Morgan to life with lavish descriptions of Britain and Ireland, as well as the people within them.
If I had to hedge a guess, I'd say that other lovers of Arthurian lore will find as much to love here as I did. My one let down was that it was so short. I could have read about Morgan and her quest for many more pages, and done so happily. Gorgeous world building and rich attention to the lore that builds this character mixes together into a really amazing read. I'd say you should give it a shot!
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.