Circle of Stones

Catherine Fisher. Dial, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3819-5
Ominous in tone and deliberately paced, Fisher’s standalone fantasy (published as Crown of Acorns in the U.K. in 2010) unfolds across three narrative voices linked by imagery rather than event. There’s Sulis, a modern teenager who’s been assigned a new identity after years in foster care, hiding from an unidentified man who murdered her playmate. Zac is a debtor’s son and architect’s apprentice, who loathes his master and pursues a desperate secret agenda in the Georgian era. And briefly, at intervals, there’s Bladud, a druid king who runs mad like Lear across the ancient wilderness of southwest England. They’re all tied to the city of Bath, whose origin Fisher (Obsidian Mirror) places at the moment when a goddess says to Bladud, “Hold me in a circle of stone.” The agency of men and imprisonment of women are at play throughout, even in the narration—Sulis is the only character whose story is told for her, in third-person. There’s a romance of sorts and elements of a thriller, but Fisher’s real interest is in resonance, as images and patterns of relationship come under scrutiny through each narrative lens. Ages 12–up. Agent: Pollinger Limited.(Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/26/2014
Release date: 08/28/2014
Genre: Children's
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