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.
Yes, most definitely, I think they would enjoy this saga! A fun and interesting read, and you learn a lot about living in 9th-Century Saxon, England, as well as their customs and lifestyles. The author, Octavia Randolph, masterfully keeps the story moving as she weaves a path of intrigue along the way!
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.
She did a very nice job in the first book, which only got better in the second.
Most definitely the protagonist, Ceridwen! Fun and interesting learning how Ceridwen's character, who literally started out with no apparent family and just a few meager possessions, grows throughout the story. She decides she needs more in life than just settling for the "prescribed lifestyle" stringently outlined for young women at that time! Ceridwen masterfully navigates her way through and overcomes many dangers throughout the story. Some a result of her actions—others she's literally thrown into due to her unconditional loyalty to her friends.
The unexpected circumstances sprinkled throughout this story help to make this a very interesting read!
"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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