It is the year 871, when England was Angle-Land. Of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, five have fallen to the invading Vikings. No trait is more valued than loyalty, and no possession more precious than one's steel. Across this war-torn landscape travels 15-year-old Ceridwen, now thrust into the lives of the conquerors.
Lost in the frozen woods, Ceridwen is discovered by the warriors accompanying young Aelfwyn, daughter of a Saxon lord, sold against her will in marriage as part of a peace treaty with a marauding Viking war chief. Their destination is the captured fortress of Four Stones, a ruin holding glittering treasure. There Aelfwyn must keep her vow and wed Yrling - and Ceridwen must do all she can to support her new friend in the rebuilding of the ravaged village and great hall.
But living with the enemy affords Ceridwen unusual freedoms - and unlooked-for conflicts. Amongst them she explores again her own heathen past, and learns to judge each man on his own merits. Yrling's nephews Sidroc and Toki, both formidable warriors yet as different as night and day, compete to win Ceridwen for their own.
Through both guile and goodness Ceridwen and Aelfwyn begin transforming the world of Four Stones. But the threat of full-scale war escalates, and a midnight party of furtive Danes delivers someone to Four Stones who destroys the girls' hopes of peace and contentment. Now Ceridwen must summon all her courage - a courage which will be sorely tested as she defies both Saxon and Dane and undertakes an extraordinary adventure to save a man she has never met.
©1995 Octavia Randolph (P)2016 Octavia Randolph
I need more ears!
Great historical novels are rare, and great historical series are even more rare. Not surprising, since for those who love them, we demand authenticity, as well as a grand sweeping story of romance. We don't just want a history lesson -- we want our characters to really live, and that includes falling in love.
If you love that kind of series, you will find it here.
Octavia Randolph is an amazing writer, researcher -- and based on her website -- she is very passionate about the historical accuracy of the age in which the series is based. Her joy in the subject matter is palpable and contagious. (Check out her website for videos related to the Vikings, and other information about Ceridwen -- such as the proper pronunciation of her name (Care-id-when!) There are even recipes!
When this book begins, Ceridwen is a girl of 15, and wise beyond her years, but she grows up quickly as the series progresses. Because she is of marriageable age, the Prior has found two men for her to choose from. One is old and the other is stupid, so neither of them will do. Unlike most women of her time who have few choices, she has been educated to read and write, skills she can use to earn her own way, so she strikes out on her own to find a position with a Lady of rank.
While on the road, Ceridwen is rescued by a young woman who is traveling to a distant land in the north where she will marry a Dane warlord. She is being given in marriage as a peace offering, so that her family and their rich holding will be safe from attacks. But things are not so simple in this lawless world, where every Dane seeks treasure and land for himself.
There are few historical novels that have moved me as much as The Circle of Ceridwen, and I couldn't be more excited that this is only the first book in a captivating series that is just now coming to Audible. The books are true to this exciting historical period, as well as passionate and deeply romantic. This is a series to be savored and listened to, over and over again.
The narrator, Nano Nagle, brings the perfect tone to her performance, and I applaud Ms. Randolph for her choice. With this reader, she has elevated her wonderful book to an audio treasure. Thank you, Octavia!
HIGHLY, VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: For people who love books set during the early history of the British Isles, sensual romance, betrayal, lust, pain, joy, and thrilling battle scenes, and most of all -- Vikings!
Important Note: Although the character of Ceridwen is 15 when the book begins, this is NOT a YA book. Ceridwen grows to womanhood over the course of the series, and there is sexual content and violence in war, depicted. The results of rape are described, but not the rape itself.
This story is so well written; the details, the research that must have been done... just blew me away. I had to force myself to put it away so I could actually sleep! This is just part one though so I'm heading off to Ceridwen's next chapter.
You can tell how she's maturing just from this talented narrators tone. Her voice becomes deeper and you can tell she's less wide eyed than when she started out. She's such a likable character though, so strong for one so young. Loved it!!
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. I have searched for books similar to my much loved "Outlander" books but have yet to find any recommendations that I really liked.
I will say that this book is entirely different than "Outlander" but very well written and very interesting. I enjoyed this book on its own merit alone. It is an old style of writing befitting of the time period the book is set in. The narrator did an excellent job and I will be immediately getting book two.
Fourteen years ago I had the happy luck to stumble across Octavia Randolph’s Circle of Ceridwen. Since that time I have traveled alongside Ceridwen through her many (and ongoing!) adventures. I was so extremely pleased to hear that Ms. Randolph was giving Ceridwen new life, via the magic of audio, and Nano Nagle’s exceptional handling of the narration did not disappoint! I have been an avid “audio-reader” for about eight years, and as such have many favorite narrators; I am happy to say that I will search out Ms. Nagle’s other works.
Having a new baby makes my reliance on audiobooks, to achieve any decent amount of reading, even greater. What a delight, therefore, to find myself immersed, once again, in the richly-detailed world of Ceridwen’s ninth century England. The tapestry of words so finely woven by Ms. Randolph is brought to vivid life by the skillful reading of Ms. Nagle, and I know this will be a repeat-listen for me, just as it has been a repeat-read over the years. I find Ms. Randolph’s writing reminiscent of the greatly detailed historical novels by Ken Follett; if you are a fan of his Pillar of the Earth series, I think you will enjoy Ms. Randolph’s work.
What a wonderful tale! I enjoyed this story so much! The audio version of The Circle of Ceridwen is performed very well by Nano Nagle. I found myself enthralled; needing to know what would happen in the next chapter and voraciously listened to this book every spare moment I had! Octavia Randolph’s Ceridwen is a wonderful heroine – brave to a fault, spirited but sensible as well. This very determined young woman knows her mind and has very strong convictions and is wise beyond her years. It is a well written story that will transport you back to the 9th century with details so vivid you feel as though you are traveling with the characters, feeling their joys, sorrows, and you will lose yourself in the telling of this tale. Highly recommend this read/listen!
This is written in an old archaic form that is not smooth to hear or read. It seems choppy and stuttered as well as illogical in every sentence. Perhaps people truly spoke this way, only a time machine could prove it, and since that's just another book I'm placing my guess in the "unlikely as hell" category. I wanted to read this SO badly! But it was SO awful.... I can see having the speech be written this way, but wouldn't it have made more sense to tell the story comfortably? I think, and I know it's just my own opinion and no one needs to agree, but I think the opportunity for this to be as big as Outlander or something comparable was utterly missed by the phrasing used for every word in the book.
I can't read it.
Omg it would be a good story if the narrator wasn't so boring to listen to. I nearly fell asleep listening to her.
need something after finishing the outlander series and game of thrones series... this one did not dissapoint!
she is young
Meeting her mother and not getting excited about it.... Then recusing Gyric and not thinking about what to do next.... How do you plan life!
Mmm not good on names.....
I'm listening to Book 2 now....
"Entertaining story, well told."
I am looking forward to the next books in the series when available on Audible.
Yes I thought the characters came alive for me
Ceridwen and her spirit - also the fact that it was set in the 9th century was so different, I was totally taken on a journey
The best yet
A world like no other!
Looking forward to listening/reading the series
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