Title: Stone Circle
Author: Kate Murdoch
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical 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.
In a 16th century Italian village, status and property are valued above all else. The station you’re born into is the same one you’ll pass onto your children, whether you’re deserving or not. Antonius is poor but has a special gift for reading thoughts. He’s always tried to keep it to himself but when the village’s seer holds a competition for an apprentice, Antonius jumps at the chance and secures the head apprentice position while the Comte’s son, Nichola, is the understudy apprentice. Even though Antonius’ gift is stronger, the seer appoints Nichola as an apprentice to appease his patron, Comte Valperga.
As both young men learn under the tutelage of Savinus, the seer, they vie for the affection of Giulia, his beautiful daughter. The rivalry heats up between the two apprentices. Nichola cheats, robs and sneaks his way into Giulia’s heart while Antonius loves her from afar. Savinus advises Antonius to wait to confess his true feelings until Nichola’s true nature is revealed. But jealousy and deceit rule a heart and he’ll do whatever it takes to make Giulia his. Will Giulia choose the right man, or will it end in a disastrous climax?
A poignant, beguiling story dealing with matters of the heart: family, falling in love and following your heart. This is the kind of historical fiction I love most, where the author transports me to a time and place I’ve never been. Kate Murdoch’s lyrical narration reminds me of Gabriel García Márquez. She describes the nuances of Medieval Italy without being heavy-handed. There’s almost a poetic nature to the story and its characters. I loved it!
Favorite Character/Quote: Antonius. I love how he didn’t let his station in his life and/or other people’s views dictate his life. He’s a gifted young man and through hard work and perseverance, he can have everything he’s ever wanted. He leaps off the page and he’s my favorite character.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone Circle. She exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally and was a finalist in a number of prize shows before turning her hand to writing. In between writing historical fiction, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction.
Her short-form fiction is regularly published in Australia, UK, US and Canada.
Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It will be released by Fireship Press December 1st 2017. She has also completed another novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France.
Social Media Links:
Goodreads Author Page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16644188.Kate_Murdoch
Reviewed by: Mrs. N