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The Circle of Ceridwen

(Circle of Ceridwen Saga #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,992 ratings  ·  238 reviews
It is the year 871. 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 fifteen year old Ceridwen, now thrust into the lives of the conquerors.
Epic...immensely impressive achievement - Historical Novel Soc
Kindle Edition, 638 pages
Published 2012 by Pyewacket Press
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Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,992 ratings  ·  238 reviews

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Arie Farnam
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am a reasonably easy reader to please... and a very hard reader to enthrall. I like a lot of books, but I passionately love only a few. My favorite authors can be counted on one hand. And if Octavia Randolph keeps it up I may need another finger.

The world of digital books is like a great mountain of ash. You step into it and you're instantly up to your waist in dust. You know there are jewels of incredible power hidden in the grime and fluff, but finding them is a mammoth task. Aft
Erika Altensee
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found myself a little dissatisfied with Ceridwen's choices as a person, which means Randolph made her a truly realistic character. Indeed, you come to love and hate all of the characters (and their flaws). Also, the book reads very lyrically, which is a great way to tell the story. This is a fast read because the story is beautifully told--the author's imagery of countryside, culture, and day-to-day goings-on is impeccable. She truly paints the setting from which the reader can totally be lost ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You will not find a more enjoyable series of books! Historically accurate to a T, down to even the smallest detail these books transport you to 9th century England before it was a united England. Ceridwen comes of age and sets out on her own path instead of one set out by the priest who has finished raising her after the death of first her ealdorman father and then her uncle. On her journey, she meets Aelfwyn on the way to marrying the Jarl of Four Stones, a Dane, a Viking. The two become like s ...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘I was born in 856, at a time when the Island of Britain was divided into many Kingdoms.’

This is the voice of Ceridwen, the central character in this novel. The story itself opens in 871, when Ceridwen is aged about 15 years old. By this time, five of seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms have fallen to the Vikings. Ceridwen, having left the Priory where she has lived since she was 9 years old, meets Ælfwyn and her attendants. Ælfwyn is on her way to be married, against her will, to Yrling, a V
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval, vikings
The first half of this book was a 5, but the second half really slowed down for me so I knocked this down a star.

(view spoiler) ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is set in a time period after the Roman Empire during the time the Danes were overtaking the land. The story is told from a first person point of view. The main character, Ceridwen, was orphaned as a young child and her story starts just prior to her 13th/14th year. She tells of her early years and then we go along with her on her adventure when she reached her 15th year and left the Priory. It is a wonderfully told story and kept my interest from the first page. This book is one that ...more
Patty Rodriguez
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great series! Couldn't put it down, just as good as Outlander. Loved Sidroc from the beginning will reread again!!!!
Oct 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
3 stars. Because I loved it. Then hated it.

Wow....what a bizarre reading experience. I was completely riveted and enthralled for the first 50% of the story. I couldn't wait to pick it up and keep reading.

...The second half of book made me want to prize my eyes out with a hot poker (that's a spoiler, by the way) ;)

Why would you spend the entire first half of a book establishing character and story and plot and setting and tension, and then drop EVERYTHING half way through and have t
Darlene Williams
Stellar Novel

The author notes in the foreword that the novel is written in Olde English fashion, and she does a remarkable job. A novel that captured my interest and held it to the end. I will most certainly be reading future novels in this series. Well done Octavia!
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I found interesting about this book is seeing the Dark Ages through the eyes of a woman. Most fiction of this era is written from a man's viewpoint. This isn't a bad thing, but this author shows us an entirely different look at this turbulent era. The main character, Ceridwen, is found wandering along a road by a princess who has been sold to a Danish jurl in exchange for a vow of peace between her father's realm and the Danes. Ceridwen becomes a part of this society and feels at home until ...more
Mercedes Rochelle
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
In ninth century England there was no telling when life would end as you know it. This story takes place just at the beginning of Alfred the Great’s reign, when the Vikings are overrunning Mercia and on their way to Wessex. Our wandering young heroine Ceridwen is taken in by a Aelfwyn, a West-Saxon noblewoman traveling to marry a Viking chieftain in order to honor her father’s treaty and save her people. This sets up the first half of the novel, where we get to see the inside of a Viking settlem ...more
Angela Ryser Bahling
First I must commend the publisher of the e-book format for the lack of errors included in this novel! Error-free reading is so much more enjoyable....

The novel is set in 870 - 875 AD in England just at the beginning of the Danish invasion and is the first in a trilogy. It tells the story of a girl who possesses courage, wisdom, and maturity beyond her years. Ceridwen is the daughter of a deceased earldoman (chief of the shire) who is raised by her uncle until his death and then rais
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Although first in a series, the author tells a mostly complete story, with one thread left unfinished that could be resolved in a later book.

The characters, both main and supporting, are developed gradually, as are their relationships to each other. Their good and not-so-good sides are shown in their histories and interactions, but qualitative judgements are left to the reader. In a tale of war, it is not very common for both sides to have both their good
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed The Circle of Ceridwen and the time or history it illuminated. Historical novels that verify the times and people utilizing the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle appeal greatly to me. Ceridwen was mostly a believable character although some of her life choices seemed improbable.

The Danish invasions are important reading to me on several levels, and this time period especially so,as it lays a framework for when the Normans began to come to England.

"A.D. 871. This year came
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love when a book is a portal to another world. The Circle of Ceridwen transports readers to the world of the Anglos, the Saxons, and the Danes. Octavia Randolph does a masterful job of using dialect to create Angle-Land. I could see the forests through which Ceridwen and Gyric traveled when I looked out the car window. I could see the scar on Sidroc's face. I could hear the conversations, taste the ale, and feel the heat of the bone fire as rain fell outside of the shelter. I do not believe th ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
This was a great Outlander type read due to its historical backdrop and its well done romantic elements. It does not have a great complexity of politics and characters, but somehow it still felt rich and epic. The female lead is headstrong and confident, but not obnoxiously so! The author does well to create nuances in the characters, which is what made some of the male characters genuine and captivating.

I would have given it 5 stars but the closing section of the book took a b
Jennifir Huston
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down. I just started a new job and have to be up super early in the morning. Needless to say I was like a zombie the next day a couple of nights. It was offered free for kindle so I decided to try it out. It is a love story but does not feel like your typical romance. It's a part of Britain's history that I have not read too much about so it is rich in description. It is the first in a trilogy. I bought the next two books and am set for a little while. The writing is we ...more
Sydney Young
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this. Why don't they publish books like this anymore? I stumbled across this on audible, because of a new audio release. A fan was so enthusiastic, saying she had waited for this for years so I took the chance. So glad I did. I always thought this time period Deserved a book. Can't wait to find out what happens in the rest of the series!
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

I had hoped for a more historical accounting of things between the Saxons and Danes' in the 871 AD time frame. What I found was a romance novel with overtones of a fairy tale. Certainly, the settings, background and use of old English added a historic flavor, but it was not for me.

Linda Bridges
Fleeing either a life as a nun, for which she has no vocation, or being married to a man she doesn't want, Ceridwen leaves her life at a priory in Wessex, England to find a station somewhere as a lady's companion. Along the way she meets Aelfwyn, an earl's daughter who has been promised to the Dane, Yrling, along with a considerable treasure as a way to keep her father's borders safe from attack. Aelfwyn, who is love with a young man named Gyric, reluctantly marries Yrling and tries to bring so ...more
Nat Cabrera
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It took me ages to read this book, however, it was not because I wasn't hooked to the story, but because of lack of time. I really liked reading this, every time I opened the book I couldn't keep immersing in it, time passed by without noticing. I adored Octavia's writing, I need to read what's left of the Circle of Ceridwen Saga, but I really think I will add her to my favorite authors list. The book was long, and tho it was very descriptive, it never stopped been entertaining and interesting. ...more
Jen Christie
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-loved
"I was daughter to two men, but no woman claimed me as hers." - From the very first sentence, I knew that I was in the hands of a gifted storyteller. By the end of the first page, I knew it would be a wonderful story. But by the end of the first chapter I was simply "in", completely immersed in a long-ago era and deeply bonded to the main character.

To read about Ceridwen is not just to understand the age in which she lived. It's to see into her heart, into the choices that she made and was some
Heidi Holever
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this whole saga!
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Beautifully written, but not my type. Couldnt understand the lead character's motivations, and by the second half no longer cared.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a story of a young woman who is born to nobility in the mid 800s. However, after her father is killed, she goes to live with an uncle. When the uncle is killed, she is taken into the local Priory, where she learns to read and write. But, the Prior wants Ceridwn to marry and she doesn't like either and so slips away in the middle of the night shortly after turning 15.

After losing her way and nearly freezing to death, she's found by AElfyn, the daughter of a Saxon lord who has procured a
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
This book is the tale of Ceridwen and is told from her perspective. The tale is almost split into two halves - the first half being as she travels and lives at Four Stones, and the second half as she helps a Wessex man escape and their adventures trying to get him back home.

I have enjoyed this book but I would have to say that I enjoyed the first half more and felt an immense sympathy with Sidroc.

The writing and storytelling aspect of this book 'feels' authentic and it is obvious th
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed the characters but felt the writing was a bit stiff with some very awkward bits. Good read overall. Kept me engaged every night.
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought I had done several reviews of this authors books, but have no issue with repeating myself. Octavia is *the* best author I have had the pleasure of discovering and every single book in the now saga of six; just keeps me wanting more. Her work is to be made into a mini-series, which ought to speak for itself on the quality of her work.

If you enjoy reading of the times of the Norse/Vikings and their influence during the times of the beginning of the "new religion", you will en
Nicki Smith
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
This grabbed me fairly quickly, and even though the action is slow-going, I was engaged throughout the entire book. The research was impressive, and the language felt genuine. I felt fully immersed in the period and the location. I love historical fiction that provides all the flavors and textures of the period in which it's written: the food, the clothing, the social dynamics. There was never a time I felt startled out of the story line because of an anachronistic element. I recommend this to a ...more
Heather Kidd
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Slow to start but picked up when they reached the Four Stones. It was very interesting for a bit, if not enthralling but then the story took an abrupt turn that lost all my interest and though I finished the book to see what happens I was rather bored. She should've kept the storyline with the Danes in my opinion.
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I write the kind of book I want to read myself. I write about history as a way to better understand my own times. I write about people who are far better, and (I hope) far worse than myself. And beautiful objects inspire me: the hand-carved combs, skilfully wrought swords, and gemmed goblets of the world of The Circle of Ceridwen Saga. Almost everything interests me; I've studied Anglo-Saxon and N ...more

Other books in the series

Circle of Ceridwen Saga (6 books)
  • Ceridwen of Kilton (Circle of Ceridwen Saga #2)
  • The Claiming (Circle of Ceridwen Saga #3)
  • The Hall of Tyr (Circle of Ceridwen Saga #4)
  • Tindr (Circle of Ceridwen Saga #5)
  • Silver Hammer, Golden Cross (Circle of Ceridwen Saga #6)
“He lowered his voice. "You are a true shield-maiden; you do not turn from a scar on a man's face."I looked at him and did not lower my eyes. "My father was an ealdorman, and his brother ealdorman after him. He taught me that a scar is the badge of honour of the warrior, and this I believe."He regarded me for a long moment. "I think I am glad we did not face your father and his brother in battle," he said, "for they were of better stuff than what we have found here."In saying this, he gave my dead kinsmen much praise. I felt that praise came rarely from the Danes, and took a strange pleasure in hearing him say this. I did not speak, but he lifted his cup to me, and I again took up mine. - Sidroc the Dane to Ceridwen” 7 likes
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