The Circle of Ceridwen

Octavia Randolph

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I received this book free from the author in exchange for a review.

Set in 9th century Britain, the book tells the story of Ceridewen, a orphan girl trying to find her way through the dangers of Anglo-Saxon times. The first part of the book was quite good. Ceridwen leaves her safety as an orphan in a monastery when it is suggested that she remain permanently. Soon she falls in with Aelfwyn, a young woman who has been given up as a wife to Yrling, a Danish raider in hopes of bringing peace to her people. Brought into her household, Ceridwen finds refuge and a place for herself.

Her peace is shattered when a young man, previously known to Aelfwyn, is brought as a captive to Yrling’s stronghold. Battered and bruised, blinded by the captors, Gyric is dependent upon Ceridwen to escape and return to his father’s home. As Lord of Kilton, Ealdoerman of Wessex, Gyric’s father is an important liegeman to Kind Alfred the Great. The second half of the book their journey back to Wessex, and details Ceridwen’s growing love for the blinded man.

I wish she has stayed at home. The details of life with the Danes is fascinating and Aelfwyn’s struggle to make a home for herself and an better life for the people around her make for good reading. Ceridwen on the road and life in Wessex not so much.

I made it through all 636 pages with admiration for the author’s research and knowledge of 9th century English history, and little desire to find out what happens next. If you can overlook lie/lay errors and sentences that use ‘between he and I’ constructions, you will be able to enjoy the book. There are six novels in this series, so if you like it, there’s lots more to come.

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