Stone Circle, by Kate Murdoch
ISBN: 978-1-6-387-1 (Ebook) | Publisher: Fireship Press
Good afternoon you B-E-A-Utiful Bookworms. ^_^
What are you reading at the moment?
I’ve just finished Stone Circle, by Kate Murdoch, an inspiring debut novel set in the heart of Renaissance Italy (1585 AD). The Story begins in a peaceful, everyday setting, in which we meet Savinus, the powerful local Seer, and his beautiful and equally as talented daughter, Giuila.
After testing several boys for Seer-like abilities, two apprentices are chosen to study under Savinus- Nichola, son of the Conte: a noble by birth, and Antonius, a poor young man with a kind heart and an extraordinary set of abilities.
I found myself warming to Antonius immediately, feeling deeply sympathetic toward his plight as he’d recently lost his father and had to begin seeking work to support his mother and siblings. While I was rooting for Antonius throughout, I could not say the same for secondary apprentice, Nichola.
Nichola is a rather dark and twisted character, with his spite and intense self-interest making him an easy character to hate. While Antonius is modest, caring and a little bit shy, Nichola is boastful of his noble station, refuses to see events from any perspective other than his own jaded one, and treats those he considers beneath him like dirt.
At every corner, Antonius continues to triumph in his studies, while Nichola inevitably struggles. It’s almost as if Nichola’s bad karma is stunting the development of his unique skills and it doesn’t get any better for him as the story continues. We see Nichola often refer to Antonius as a slave or kitchen-hand, promising to ‘show him his place,’ further demonstrating Nichola’s intense hatred for the poor boy who has stolen the great Seer’s attention.
In contrast to these two strong male characters, I found Giuila’s character to be far more gentle. She is of sound mind (for the most part), and even with a sudden onset of naivety when someone special catches her eye, Giuila soon returns from cloud nine, to realize that her reality is far different from the rose-tinted world of teenage infatuation.
Every other character in the book, including the nobility (bar Nichola) is polite and courteous to those deemed lower in station than themselves, with the majority of the rich folk actually appreciating what they have, including Nichola’s own father, the Conte. Whether this is realistic of Renaissance Italy, I cannot say, but it makes for a refreshing change from the majority of spoilt rich characters that we read about today.
Everything about Stone Circle, from the well-crafted plot, to the tension building and high stakes had me yearning for more and I can’t wait to see what else Kate Murdoch comes up with.
Definitely one of my favourite reads this year.
If you haven’t heard of Kate Murdoch, I suggest you look her up on Goodreads or Amazon, or at her website.
My rating? 5 Stars!
Recommended? Yes, for lovers of Historical Fantasy and Renaissance Italy.