by Kate Murdoch
Publication Date: December 1, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 286 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Fantasy
Is the ability to read minds a blessing or a curse?
When Antonius’s father dies, he must work to support his family. He finds employment as a servant in the Palazzo Ducal, home of Conte Valperga. Sixteenth-century Pesaro is a society governed by status, and Antonius has limited opportunities.
When a competition is announced, Antonius seizes his chance. The winner will be apprenticed to the town seer. Antonius shares first place with his employer’s son.
The two men compete for their mentor’s approval. As their knowledge of magic and alchemy grows, so does the rivalry and animosity between them. When the love of a beautiful woman is at stake, Antonius must find a way to follow his heart and navigate his future.
Praise for Stone Circle
“Murdoch presents a delightful romance, feathered with light touches of fantasy. The development of her love triangle is gratifying, and even secondary characters offer stark dramatic moments…” –Kirkus Reviews
“Kate Murdoch’s characters are so greatly human, that it’s easy to sympathise with them: to cheer them on during hard times and to admonish them for being foolish. Her characters’ interactions with each other and their individualities helped shape the book into something wonderful; at the same time she excels at pacing the story with her characters, all within a framework designed to help readers understand the world of seers and alchemy she has created.” -Readers’ Favorite (5 Stars)
“Kate Murdoch’s STONE CIRCLE is a stunning historical fantasy debut set in Renaissance Italy, packed with rich imagery, well-developed characters, and an enthralling plot. The execution of the love triangle is both captivating and refreshing, weaving love, jealousy, and rivalry into a complicated but realistic story of one young seer’s journey into alchemy and adulthood. I can’t wait to read more by Kate Murdoch.” -Madeline Dyer, author of the Untamed series
In Renaissance Italy in the village of Pesaro, Seer Savinus is looking for someone who shares his talents for divining the future so he is able to cultivate the next generation and Seers. Savinus' daughter, Guilia is talented, however, women in the trade are simply not respected. Savinus decides to hold a competition. One of Pesaro's noble family's son, Nichola Valperga competes as well as a servant in the Valperga household, Antonious. Antonious has far more ability in the field and is recognized right away by Savinus. Nichola has limited ability, but Savinus agrees to apprentice Nichola as the secondary apprentice out of respect to the noble family. From the start the two young men are at odds, Nichola can not stand that a servant has a position above him and Antonious can not understand Nichola's haughty nature. Tensions rise as Giulia's affections towards one apprentice emerge and jealousy leads to violence.
Stone Circle immersed me into 16th century Italy and the alchemy practices of the time. I was surprised to learn the esteemed role that Seer's played in the society and that they were often employed by nobles to learn the best time for special events to take place and even who they should marry. Savinus was my favorite character, wise and conscientious in his choices, helped along by his psychic abilities. Antonius and Nichola were typical young men, but their strained relationship demonstrated the division between classes at the time. I was waiting for one of them to compromise on their differences as so many of the adult characters suggested. Guilia was an interesting character for me, I really wanted her to take a more prominent role in her father's practice rather than simply be a love interest; however she did show insight and grow as she realized the apprentices true nature. Jealousy was a theme throughout the story, and it was one that had dire consequences. It was interesting to see that even with magic and alchemy all of your problems could not be fixed. Overall, an engrossing story that mixes history, magic and romance.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Kate Murdoch is a Melbourne-based writer and artist. Her short-form fiction is regularly published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Eunoia Review, Sick Lit Magazine, Ink in Thirds and Spelk Fiction. She also writes for her blog at https://kabiba.wordpress.com/.
Kate’s first novel is Stone Circle, a beautifully imagined work of historical fiction. An earlier version of Stone Circle was widely-acclaimed on the HarperCollins UK website, Authonomy, where it was chosen by the editors as the “one to watch” and ultimately ended up ranked 16th out of more than 10,000 manuscripts.
For more information, please visit Kate Murdoch’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.