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The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fay

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  118 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Morgan le Fay was a sorceress, seducer of King Arthur and destroyer of Britain. As Morgan comes of age, she discovers her own magical powers. One day she falls in love with a young Irish chieftain. But will her drive for revenge destroy her chance for love and happiness?
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Tradewinds
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3.54  · 
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 ·  118 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A solid 4.5 stars. Well, it's a retelling of the tale of Morgan le Fey, the great villain and evil witch in the King Arthur's tales. You would know the beginning of the story already if you have paid attention to the King Arthur's myths, you would know about how Morgan lost her father as a child while her mother was taken to be Uter's wife. You might also know how the story goes, about she later on beared her half brother Arthur's son.

This book takes a similar approach like The Mists of Avalon,
Aug 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
The Circle Cast speculates about what the life of Morgan Le Fay may have been like and what events lead to her legend becoming what it is today. As a huge fan of historical fiction, especially historical fiction that encompasses folklore and it’s characters, The Circle Cast was a big hit with me. It was like getting a story within a story.

Morgan, originally known as Anna, flees her home after her father is killed by a man desperate for both power and Anna’s mother. The story takes place over man
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay by Alex Epstein is an excellent addition to the genre of Arthurian folklore and legend. The author crafts worlds past with a deft hand, easily pulling a reader into the story.

The book tells the story of the Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay. The Circle Cast portrays the early years of this character, first as the child Anna and then as Morgan after she flees Britain to Ireland. It tells the story of her life as a stranger in a strange land, enslav
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
The Circle Cast aims to fill in the gap between the time when Morgan is first seen as the daughter of Ygraine and Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, and when she later reemerges as Arthur’s seductress and the mother of Mordred, his eventual downfall. How does a young girl who is sent into exile, either for her own protection or simply to keep her out of the way as Uter Pendragon begins a passionate relationship with her mother, become a powerful and vengeful sorceress?

Perhaps because Alex Epstein choose
Hylary Locsin
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Originally posted on my blog: ! Check it out for more reviews!

The daughter of a Roman governor, Gorlois, and his beautiful wife, Ygraine, Anna has spent her life in her parents’ British stronghold Din Tagell, reading the classics, learning about the culture of Rome, and being educated by her father in the ways of war. When Anna is eleven-years-old, however, her life changes forever when her father’s friend and ally, powerful warrior Uter Pendragon, betrays a
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2014
There are some quibbles with the timeline and the writing can be a bit tell don't show at times, but still, a great Arthurian feminist fantasy.

Incredibly absorbing from the get-go, but then again I love Arthurian fiction set in Roman Britain (more like, crumbling Roman Britain) so there's a bias...

What I enjoy about Arthurian fiction (at least, what I've read so far which is very little) is that you can kinda go in whatever direction you want as long as you stick to the overall accepted "canon"
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Alex Epstein and Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Morgan is left bereft after her father is murdered by the High King. With Uter's sights set on bedding Morgan's mother, she is left with only one option; to run as fast and as far away from Din Tagell as she can, lest she become another casualty of
Jules Jones
Note: I received a review copy of this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme.[return][return]Young adult novel about what happened to the sorceress Morgan le Fay between the point in her childhood when her father was murdered by Uther Pendragon, and her return as an adult to trouble her half-brother King Arthur. The book opens at the council of war amongst the Romano-British leaders where Uter (as it's given in the book) first sets eyes on Ygraine, wife of Gorlois. Uter want ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it liked it
I was equally excited and nervous to receive a copy of Alex Eptstein's The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay from Library Thing's Early Reviewers program. Those familiar with the myths will already be aware that very few authors have dealt with Morgan's character except to mention, often merely in passing, that she is Arthur's half-sister, and then immediately cast her as the evil sorceress and mother of his son/nemesis, Mordred. Those authors who delve into Morgan at all can't seem t ...more
At First Sight: Before the Morgan of legend, she was a girl named Anna. Anna who was the beloved daughter of Gorlois, a governor of Britain, and his beautiful wife Ygraine. And it was her mother's beauty that destroyed her family.

During a council, before all the chiefs of Britain marched out to face the Saxons, Anna's mother caught the eye of Uter Pendragon, and that was the beginning of the end. Taking offense of Uter's pursuit of his wife, Gorlois took them all back to their holding and shortl
Patricia (Patricia's Particularity)
More stories and tales focus Arthur and his knights, however, Alex Epstein puts the spot light on Morgan. It is Morgan's turn to tell her story. There is something very unique about Morgan, which we discover when she dreams about her father's murder. Most children in these circumstances would loose their minds (figuratively and literally); but not Morgan. Gathering all her strength, Morgan flees her father's murderer, Uter, to Ireland. But her strength does not stop there. She endures capture, e ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What an intriguing story. I have never thought about how Morgan Le Fey's life came about or who she was before she was part of the Arthurian legend. Mr. Epstein has remedied that with his version of the tale of a girl who starts of with the name of Anna on the Isle of Britain and has to go on the run or be killed at the early age of twelve and ends up in Ireland which is a entirely different world to her.

Witchcraft is something that drives her through the book, Anna, who becomes Morgan at sea on
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 fal
Mar 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy, re-telling
A twist on the popular Arthurian myths, told from the prospective of the sorceress Morgana, who is called Morgan in this novel.

This is also a Canadian debut novel! And it was a good one.

I'm a huge fan of the Arthurian legends and I thought that this story did add something to the somewhat saturated genre. Anna, or Morgan as she is renamed, is driven by vengeance throughout the novel. I really sympathized with her as a character and understood the hatred that she felt for Uter who kills her fath
Oct 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Read my full review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

I am drawn to any story about the Arthurian legends or characters. There are so many variations and theories about these figures from history and legend that I think they will always be of interest me and others. I was impressed to read that one of the author's inspirations was T.H. White's "Once and Future King". It was one of my favorites as well.

Morgan Le Fey has always been one of the more mysterious players in the drama and mists surroundi
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
The story follows Morgan Le Fay, daughter of Gorlois and Ygraine, who is sent away after the death of her father. I don’t know much about Arthurian legend…I know the main story about King Arthur, Genevieve and Lancelot and that’s about it. Actually I didn’t know who Morgan Le Fay was and so I googled her to learn a bit more about her.

In the story Morgan is really resilient and determined. She’s sent away to Ireland and has needed to overcome many difficulties while there. There was never any la
Roof Beam Reader (Adam)
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fay is an interesting retelling of the young life of Merlin’s arch-nemesis, Morgana. The story takes place in the late 400s, after the Romans have fallen and Christianity is on the rise, reaching the superstitious, pagan-rich lands of Britain and Ireland. Young Anna, whose father is a powerful governor father and whose mother is the beautiful Ygraine, a timid witch, is forced to flee Britania from the wrath of Uter Pendgragon, who kills Anna’s father ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for

Anna is the young daughter of a British warrior governor just growing into her extraordinary powers when a terrible event changed her life forever. With her father dead and her mother under the control of a nefarious ruler, this would-be peaceful Wiccan transformed into a scorned woman, desperate for revenge.

At her mother's urging, Anna flees to Ireland, where she would take a new name, Morgan le Fay. Extreme misfortune follows her, as she becomes a
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Morgan Le Fay's lost years. Sent away from Britain to Ireland by her mother, to save her life, after her father was killed in battle by Uter Pendragon. The story follows her trials and tribulations as she travels throughout Ireland learning about love, life and magic, but never forgetting her wish for vengeance towards the man who destroyed her family.This is an interesting story with plenty going on, never staying in one place for long. There is a sense of Morgan briefly en ...more
Rachel K
Jun 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rachel by: ForeverYA
Shelves: ya, magic
My only real issue with this book was that I wanted it to be longer. I wanted the whole story, and the book only covers "The Lost Years". Says so right in the title, but I still felt like I was cut off suddenly.
The best parts of this book are the descriptions of magic. When Morgan casts the circle and calls upon the elements it reads beautifully. I believed it all the way, and the progression of her understanding and abilities, her connection with the source of power, it all rang true. It wasn'
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Alex Epstein writes about the early years of the famous sorceress, Morgan Le Fay, as she is discovering her powers. She was the daughter of Ygraine, another sorceress Queen who was married to Uter Pendragon, father of the even more famous, Arthur. After Uter kills her father, Ygraine sends Morgan away to safety in Ireland. She learns magic while living with her kin, albeit in bondage, and all the while she yearns to take revenge on Uter. She escapes to a Christian encampment and struggles to com ...more
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Not really sure about this book. Parts were involving and there was a good feel for the locations & era-especially the parts set in Ireland- but overall it was forgettable, at least for me. I know the author was probably trying to bring in info on the rise of Christianity and the conflicts between the old ways and this "new" religion but that whole section seemed tacked on and loomed too large- it became a serious speed bump in the flow of the story.

I could not decide if this was a Young Ad
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This book takes itself so seriously that it forgets to enjoy its own story. The writing rarely makes it into an actual narrative flow, instead languishing in explaining to the reader. There are a lot of very interesting ideas at play, but they don't really get to shine. I never connected with the main character, either. She always felt distant. Also ... the editor really should have been on the lookout for the author's tendency to break into the second person during explaining mode.

So, yeah, it
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
"The Circle Cast" might be considered the prequel to the Arthurian legend, as it attempts to bring to life the story of the great mythical sorceress, Morgan Le Fay. The title is particularly apt in that this is a legend that comes full circle beginning with Morgan's casting out of Britannia (England) to the wild pagan world of Ireland and ending with her triumphant and bittersweet return to her birthplace. While Morgan's story is ripe with adventure and drama and magic, the book falls short on c ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Perhaps because I know how the story ends, I found The Circle Cast to be a poignant read. Epstein fine characterization makes Morgan an almost tragic hero, rather than the two-dimensional villain she usually is.

My only complaint is that nobody bothered to make sure that the dates were consistent. Several times it states that Morgan was a slave for 8 years when she couldn’t have been one for more than 4 and there are several instances when her age is given inaccurately.

Despite the errors, The Ci
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
THIS TOOK FOREVER TO READ! But I am glad I read it. Not really my cup of tea but I think it'd be a cool book to have. Maybe it wasn't just the fact that it was set in medieval time that made me read it so slow. I really don't know, I guess I could have read more instead of watching television or playing Candy Crush Saga.
Morgan or Morgana as I see her, doesn't seem so villainous in this book and I nearly ALWAYS saw her as Katie McGrath from Merlin.

Stephanie Lindsay Hagen
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
"The Circle Cast", is a well-written side-step that tells us about Morgan Le Fay's early years and what helped to shape her into the woman she was to become. It also gives a good base in understanding Morgan's future relationship with her half-brother, Arthur.

I am an avid reader of Authurian novels. Jack Whyte, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mary Stewart, T. H. White...and now Alex Epstein. I hope there will be a sequel.
Tommy /|\
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a superb read! Being a huge fan of the Arthurian myths, its always a treat when someone decides to write on a forgotten corner of that story. Morgan's back-story is treated quite well, with excellent depth and understanding. There are many underlying currents within the story as well, especially that of the push/pull start of Christianity within the wilds of Ireland. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the Arthurian myths!
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Meghan
Cover Story: Incognito
BFF Charm: Yes!
Swoonworthy Scale: 9
Talky Talk: Solid
Bonus Factors: Feminism, Badassery, Magic, The Birds
Relationship Status: Goin' Steady

Read the full book report here.
Jo Oehrlein
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology
The story of Morgan, from the child of a Roman governor in Britain to a slave in Ireland to a British leader summoned to Arthur's side. It's also the story of vengeance, of war, of choosing your own way.

I was surprised at the intense Christianity of the middle part of the story, but Morgan's story doesn't follow that path.
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A native New Yorker, Alex Epstein studied Computer Science and English at Yale University. After a year in Paris, he studied filmmaking at the University of California, Los Angeles in the School of Theatre, Film and Television, finishing with an MFA.

Throughout the 1990s, Epstein worked in the motion picture industry as a development executive. His first book, Crafty Screenwriting, came out of his