Cover image for Circle of stones
Circle of stones
Waldo, Anna Lee.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 432 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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From the author of the 1.5 million-copy bestseller Sacajawea comes the mesmerizing first volume of The Druid Circle, about the legendary Welsh discovery of America.

Author Notes

Anna Lee Waldo was born in Great Falls, Montana in 1925. She received a degree in chemistry from Montana State and a master's in organic chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park. She taught chemistry at numerous colleges including the University of Dayton, St. Louis Community College, and St. John's Mercy College. Her novels include Sacajawea and Prairie. She also writes the Druid Circle series.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Waldo, author of the best-selling Sacajawea (1979), introduces the first volume of The Druid Circle, a series of historical novels based on a legendary journey undertaken by an intrepid band of Welshmen who sailed to the Americas a full three centuries before Columbus "discovered" the New World. After giving birth under a full moon to the illegitimate son of Prince Owain, Brenda flees to her native Ireland to protect her infant from his superstitious father. Raised among the Druids, young Madoc is destined by prophecy to one day guide his adopted people to an unknown land. Eventually returning to Wales, Brenda and Madoc become entangled in both a religious controversy and a political struggle, as Christians clash with Druids and princelings vie for power and territory. Bolstered by a crackerjack plot and a superbly rendered cast of characters, this engrossing narrative effectively conjures the semimystical world of the medieval Celts. Richly satisfying fare for fans of meaty historical epics. --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Researching Sacajawea, her first historical novel, Waldo encountered the legend of the blond Welshman, Madoc, who sailed to the Americas three centuries before Columbus. That tale inspired this well-researched but sometimes stolidly paced novel whose Irish heroine, Brenda, is the favored mistress of Owain, Prince of Gwynedd in North Wales, and mother of Madoc. When Owain falls prey to a superstitious prophecy and demands the newborn boy be put to death, Brenda flees with the help of Druids. On her forced return to Owain, she pretends Madoc has been killed. Brenda finds she cannot love Owain, but she does become his trusted adviser and a talented healer. The narrative is anecdotal and episodic, offering a variety of historical characters in the years 1151-1170 A.D, and employing archaic language and spelling. Waldo takes some unconventional risks: Owain's two wives, Gladys and Christiannt, both New Religionists (Christians), are presented as foolish, selfish women, in marked contrast to wise, courageous Brenda, who favors the Old Religionists (the Druids). Madoc, predestined at birth to be a leader and man of peace, later comes to seek out his mother and serve his father. Brenda is only one of several fully realized characters, a woman who struggles with the male-dominated 12th-century social code but still orchestrates a fulfilling life for herself. At times Waldo's determination to represent the religious and political history of the epoch retards the thrust of her narrative, but readers will appreciate the complex dynamics she portrays within her fact-filled epic. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Brenda, mistress of Prince Owain of Gwynedd, makes love to him under the northern lights, she knows that any child she conceives will be special. But Owain's wife and another mistress have conceived at the same time, and to save her baby from the death foretold by an ancient prophecy Brenda flees with the baby to Ireland and the care of a druid community. Though Brenda is eventually forced to return to Owain in Wales, the baby Madoc remains to learn the peaceful ways of the "old region." Back in Wales, Brenda must satisfy herself with practicing the druidic healing skills she has learned and advising Owain as he copes with warring sons, the greedy advances of England's King Henry II, and keeping peace between the "old religionists" and the new until Madoc, now a druid in his own right, comes to right ancient wrongs. A richly drawn medieval saga with complex characters by the author of Sacajawea (LJ 3/15/79); sequels are planned. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/98.]¬ĎCynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
Part 1 1151 to 1152 A.D.p. 9
I Story of Lugp. 11
II Madocp. 23
III Taliesin Druidsp. 41
IV Kinefeverp. 55
V Ailinp. 70
VI Gwynedd Soldiersp. 83
Part 2 1152 to 1164 A.D.p. 99
VII Sein's Songp. 101
VIII Dafyddp. 122
IX King Henry IIp. 150
X Royal Caravanp. 165
XI Aberffrawp. 182
XII Lady Gladysp. 201
XIII Deathp. 217
XIV The Duelp. 232
XV Emissariesp. 249
XVI Morganp. 262
XVII Mysteryp. 275
XVIII Consanguinityp. 286
XIX Christianntp. 306
XX Louis VIIp. 317
XXI Troyesp. 332
XXII Awarringp. 344
XXIII Prince Owainp. 358
Part 3 1164 to 1170 A.D.p. 381
XXIV Royal Funeralp. 383
XXV Gwenllianp. 395
XXVI Degannwyp. 413
XXVII Iorwerthp. 428
XXVIII Annestap. 442
XXIX Gwennan Gornp. 468
Afterwordp. 491
Acknowledgmentsp. 493
Bibliographyp. 495