CIRCLE OF STONES by Anna Lee Waldo


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Readers with long memories will recall Waldo’s 1.5-million-copy first novel, Sacajawea (1979), a 1,350-page paperback original about the Shoshone “Birdwoman” who winds up guiding Lewis and Clark on their search for the Northwest Passage. Circle of Stones is the first in a series about blond, sea-blue-eyed Welsh Druid worshipers discovering the New World 300 years - before Columbus, migrating up the Missouri River, and eventually settling in the present-day Dakotas, where they become the blue-eyed, blond- and red-haired Mandan Indian tribe, which builds coracles astonishingly like those in Wales. This first installment tells of Madoc, son of Prince Owain, and his troubles in Wales before setting forth to find a peaceful land where Druidic people can worship without having to battle Christians. Madoc’s mother, Irish-Welsh Brenda, relates much of the story. Because prophecy has predicted that Madoc will be the messiah of the Druids, assassins lurk, and Brenda must flee Wales with her newborn. Volume Two will cover Madoc’s exploits in Wales, France, and Iceland; the series could conceivably grow as long as Sacajawea. Waldo’s writing may have improved over the years, but she’s still no literary giant: her characters frequently “fly into tirades,” declare themselves to be “stinging with embarrassment,” or find their minds “in a whirl.” Cliché-phobes, be warned.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-19843-4
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1999


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