Stone Circle by Kate Murdoch

Stone Circle

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 app...

Title:Stone Circle
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Stone Circle Reviews

  • Sebnem E.

    Stone Circle is a fascinating book I had the privilege to read before its due publication date later this year. Kate Murdoch transports the reader to medieval Italy where she tells us a tale of magical realism. Savinus, a seer, needs an apprentice to teach his knowledge. Antonius, a young lad from a poor family, is his candidate though Savinus

    must also employ Nichola, the son of Conte Valperga, his patron. As the young boys begin their education under Savinus' guidance, both fall in love with G

    Stone Circle is a fascinating book I had the privilege to read before its due publication date later this year. Kate Murdoch transports the reader to medieval Italy where she tells us a tale of magical realism. Savinus, a seer, needs an apprentice to teach his knowledge. Antonius, a young lad from a poor family, is his candidate though Savinus

    must also employ Nichola, the son of Conte Valperga, his patron. As the young boys begin their education under Savinus' guidance, both fall in love with Giulia, his beautiful daughter. The rivalry between the young men does not escape the attention of Savinus nor the Conte's. Guilia falls for the fairy tale prospects of a marriage with Conte's heir, but is this what her heart really wants? Meanwhile, the church is reconsidering the benefits of Savinus' practice, as well as other seers. A love triangle set in Pesaro, Italy with vivid descriptions of the area, from the lavishness of the Count's palace, to the poverty in the village; the ball at the palace, to the mysterious atmosphere of the Stone Circle up on the hills. Kate Murdoch delivers a visual feast of reality mixed with magic, alchemy, and geomancy, as well as a gripping tale with lively characters. Thoroughly recommended.

  • Cindra Spencer

    Consider trying to weigh what you value more: truth or privacy?

    In a life ruled by class, young Antonius is lucky to find work. His father is dead and his family must eat. Aware that he should count his blessings, being a servant in the home of Conte Valperga isn’t the only thing Antonius has been blessed with.

    When a competition is posted, Antonius takes his chance to rise above societal constraints. Using his mind-reading talents, he lunges into a fierce rivalry. He competes for pride, approval

    Consider trying to weigh what you value more: truth or privacy?

    In a life ruled by class, young Antonius is lucky to find work. His father is dead and his family must eat. Aware that he should count his blessings, being a servant in the home of Conte Valperga isn’t the only thing Antonius has been blessed with.

    When a competition is posted, Antonius takes his chance to rise above societal constraints. Using his mind-reading talents, he lunges into a fierce rivalry. He competes for pride, approval, and the love of their mentor’s daughter, Giulia. Antonius must learn which blessings he cannot take for granted.

    Author Kate Murdoch presents to us a relatable story of love and betrayal, acceptance and rejection. Her characters navigate these challenges with the ability to read thoughts, and the intrusion of having their own secrets exposed. Each character is layered with rich, multi-faceted traits that demonstrates Murdoch’s exceptional command of both creative writing and the human spirit.

    This book is well-suited for a book club. On its surface, the story sails along without pausing, leaving the reader little time to weigh the underlying questions that beg for group discussion. Do you value truth over privacy? Can you ever forgive an act of betrayal from someone you love, someone you believed loved you in return?

  • Kathryn at Book Ink Reivews

    A copy of this review can be found at

    .

    Kate Murdoch is a renowned painter, and it absolutely shines in this depiction of a gorgeous Italian setting.

     will place you right in the Italian countryside while also bringing up the nostalgia of reading

     for the first time. The novel winnows seamlessly between the entire cast of characters' perspectives using a th

    A copy of this review can be found at

    .

    Kate Murdoch is a renowned painter, and it absolutely shines in this depiction of a gorgeous Italian setting.

     will place you right in the Italian countryside while also bringing up the nostalgia of reading

     for the first time. The novel winnows seamlessly between the entire cast of characters' perspectives using a third-person, omniscient style.

    I never really cared for anyone except the Seer and his daughter, Guilia. Antonio had some growth and strength of character, but for the most part was still very young and immature in his dealings with his rival Nichola. From the very start, I despised Nichola and was not at all surprised at how the novel played out when it came to his character, though I felt he deserved...

    . Yet I can understand the complexity of their immaturity because they can all read minds. There are no secrets: causing hatred and love to be as obvious as night and day.

    But what 

     lacks in depth of character, it makes up for in gorgeous depictions, a clever premise, and a focus on a young boy becoming a man and learning to hone his craft.  This is the perfect book to escape into for a vacation from your living room.

  • Amanda

    Stone Circle transports you to a magical time and place in coastal Italy. A story of relationships, love and family, the prose is beautifully written, and plot draws you along the the inevitable climax. An great book for all ages - interesting, thought provoking and thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Theresa Smith Writes

    Stone Circle, an historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy, is the debut offering by Australian painter turned writer, Kate Murdoch. Mystical elements converge with historical superstitions and romantic notions in this atmospheric coming of age story about two young men vying for the attentions of one woman while also competing for the top position as apprentice to a highly revered seer.

    While historical fiction is my favourite genre of all, I generally avoid fantasy like the historical p

    Stone Circle, an historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy, is the debut offering by Australian painter turned writer, Kate Murdoch. Mystical elements converge with historical superstitions and romantic notions in this atmospheric coming of age story about two young men vying for the attentions of one woman while also competing for the top position as apprentice to a highly revered seer.

    While historical fiction is my favourite genre of all, I generally avoid fantasy like the historical plagues I read so much about. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed fantasy novels in the past, it’s just that I find them more often than not overly complicated to follow. Combining history and fantasy is to my mind, a big call, yet Kate has pulled it off very well. The story is authentic to its historical setting as well as being deeply atmospheric in terms of mystical content. I particularly enjoyed the sections that detailed the study of alchemy and prophecy.

    I did find the story to be rather fast paced, and while this in no way impeded my ability to follow the events, I do think it impacted on both character and plot depth. It seemed at times as though Kate was holding back and I longed for her to have just dug in a little deeper. But I’m used to historicals that are longer and more explorative so my expectations may simply be in line with that. I also found at times there was a bit of head hopping within scenes. These are minor issues though when you consider the fantastical scope and historical detail of this novel, particularly within the framework of it being a debut offering.

    I’m quite looking forward to seeing what Kate will produce for us next as I think she shows a lot of promise within the historical fantasy genre. She has a deft hand when it comes to setting scenes, particularly those that involve nature and mystical conjurings. Overall, Stone Circle was a very enjoyable read and I wish Kate all the best for success with its release and eagerly await her next novel.

    Thanks is extended to the author and Fireship Press for providing me with a copy of Stone Circle for review.

    Stone Circle is book 72 in my 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge

  • Amy

    Stone Circle is Kate Murdoch's debut novel. I thought it was good. I found this magical and historical combination to be an easy read. I enjoyed the beautiful setting and 16th century time period. Antonius is a good character that I connected with. He needed to find his way and find where he belonged.

    I would give Stone Circle four stars. I hope to see more by Kate Murdoch and see where else her imagination goes to next.

    I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest op

    Stone Circle is Kate Murdoch's debut novel. I thought it was good. I found this magical and historical combination to be an easy read. I enjoyed the beautiful setting and 16th century time period. Antonius is a good character that I connected with. He needed to find his way and find where he belonged.

    I would give Stone Circle four stars. I hope to see more by Kate Murdoch and see where else her imagination goes to next.

    I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

  • Stephanie

    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 recogniz

    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.

  • N.N. Light

    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 th

    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

    This review first appeared:

  • Monique Mulligan

    Kate Murdoch’s historical fantasy Stone Circle is abundant with historical and descriptive detail, painting vivid pictures of sixteenth-century Italy and the lives of alchemists, seers and servants. Stone Circle reminds me of a still life or a landscape – for as a portrait of its characters, it doesn’t have the same richness and depth and the central love triangle theme doesn’t pull as much weight as I would have liked. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting historical read and I liked it particularly

    Kate Murdoch’s historical fantasy Stone Circle is abundant with historical and descriptive detail, painting vivid pictures of sixteenth-century Italy and the lives of alchemists, seers and servants. Stone Circle reminds me of a still life or a landscape – for as a portrait of its characters, it doesn’t have the same richness and depth and the central love triangle theme doesn’t pull as much weight as I would have liked. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting historical read and I liked it particularly because Kate made me imagine.

  • Jo Demmer

    Stone Circle, historical fantasy, is set in Renaissance Italy. Two students of the town seer—one rich and one poor—compete for love. Kate gives the readers insight to social mores of the 1500s and their approach to women, disabilities and mystics. The fantasy elements are shown in a realistic fashion as an extension of science/alchemy. Antonius, the protagonist, is a gentle young man learning to deal with opposition and trying to better his lot in life. His love interest, Giulia, is a talented w

    Stone Circle, historical fantasy, is set in Renaissance Italy. Two students of the town seer—one rich and one poor—compete for love. Kate gives the readers insight to social mores of the 1500s and their approach to women, disabilities and mystics. The fantasy elements are shown in a realistic fashion as an extension of science/alchemy. Antonius, the protagonist, is a gentle young man learning to deal with opposition and trying to better his lot in life. His love interest, Giulia, is a talented woman, ahead of her times. Nichola, the spoilt son of a nobleman, is used to getting everything he wants. The dynamics between this trio keeps tension boiling.

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