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The Circle Cast by Alex Epstein
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The Circle Cast (2011)

by Alex Epstein

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6527183,505 (3.87)20
  1. 31
    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (Bitter_Grace)
  2. 10
    The Once and Future King by T. H. White (AlexEpstein)
    AlexEpstein: The Circle Cast is partly inspired by TH White's classic Arthurian tale.
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In the beginning she is Anna. Her father is Gorlois, lord of Trigos, and her mother is Ygraine, the beautiful Roman from Brittany. When Uter Pendragon kills Gorlois and takes Ygraine as his wife, eleven-year-old Anna must flee Britannia for her life. Her mother sends her to Ireland and gives her a new name: Morgan, born from the sea.
In Ireland Morgan becomes many people. First, she is the cousin of a minor chieftain, then she is a slave, then a Christian, then a queen. But in her center, she is always Anna/Morgan, daughter of the murdered Gorlois, hungry for vengeance. Morgan bides her time in Ireland, learning from each of her incarnations and gaining power. The land speaks to her, and she to it, and Morgan grows a magical relationship with the elements, a relationship she will need if she is ever to return to Britannia, slay Uter and reclaim her inheritance of Din Tagell.
In The Circle Cast, Epstein skillfully blends the coming-of-age, the fairy, the revenge, and the legend. Through the poetry of Epstein's writing, I could feel the power of the old magic that Morgan evokes when she goes “between the worlds,” and I could taste the salt sea air as she sails between her two lands.
Revenge is the sustaining force in Morgan's lost years, and success in battle and magic are what give her power. Epstein holds true to the legendary woman Morgan le Fay in creating this story of the Anna/Morgan child. Fans of Arthurian legend will love this book, and so will everyone else. Great characters, great writing, great story. ( )
  elizabethcfelt | May 15, 2017 |
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 many years of Morgan/Anna's life beginning when she is just 11 years old. When she leaves her home and sets out for Ireland she never expects to become a slave, a faux Christian, or the powerful figure she eventually evolves into. Her path is cluttered with numerous obstacles which just makes her tale even more engrossing. Her will to survive, even if it was driven by revenge, is powerful and guaranteed to pack an emotional punch.

I’ll admit this isn’t a time period I have read much from. It dates back much farther than my normal reading choices. Diving into The Circle Cast with it’s references to history, religion, and lore from so many different places and cultures was both enlightening and refreshing. I enjoyed every moment I spent familiarizing myself with Morgan and the world she lived in. This is a book that will make readers long for more knowledge about the characters. I don’t know about you, but any book that can make me Google will always hold a special place on my bookshelf.

While The Circle Cast is technically Young Adult I feel it can easily appeal to even exclusive readers of adult fiction who enjoy folklore and history. ( )
  C.Ibarra | Nov 13, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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 Circle Cast was an enjoyable book that I heartily recommend.
  amanda4242 | Nov 7, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As the title indicates, this book is about the lost years of Morgan Le Fey, specifically her childhood and teenage years. During the approximately 10 or so years covered by the book, Morgan lives a number of lives, going from being the daughter of a governor, to being a slave, to living in an early Christian monastary to finally going home again.

There are a number of liberties taken with the Aurhurain legends surrounding Morgan, however one can see the evidence of the research done for the book. I found it easy to read, and enjoyed it to the point where I am looking to see if there will be a sequel covering Morgan's early adulthood. ( )
  zandoria | Sep 27, 2011 |
Reviewed by Monica Sheffo for TeensReadToo.com

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 prisoner of war, sold into slavery to an elderly wise woman. As Morgan learned the craft, she managed to escape slavery for refuge in a Christian colony.

But can Morgan master her powers and finally get her revenge?

Alex Epstein gives readers a whole new perspective on one of medieval history's most infamous women. By exploring Morgan le Fay's mysterious childhood years, readers' previous conceptions will be easily swayed. History buffs and paranormal/fantasy fans alike will all find a hidden treasure in THE CIRCLE CAST. ( )
  GeniusJen | Sep 23, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
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To Angel, for when I knew her.
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She had been born of the sea, and now the sea was trying to claim her.
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"Morgan LeFay comes of age in a time of turmoil, when legends are born. After Uter pendragon kills her father, Morgan is exiled to Ireland, where she survives by holding fast to a single-minded thirst for revenge." -- p.[4] Cover.

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