Stone Circles #1
By Terri Brisbin
Author’s Website: http://www.terribrisbin.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Contains mild spoilers
What if the standing stones and stone circles across the old Celtic world had a secret origin and use? What if some opened into another world? What if the goddess of fire was trapped beneath one?
Lovely and innocent, Brienne of Yester has always been able to manipulate fire, but when her powers suddenly surge, the simple life she once knew explodes.
Handsome, fearless, and commanding, William de Brus has been summoned by the king to investigate a nobleman rumored to have powers linked to the fabled fire goddess. When he chances upon Brienne, his desire for her is immediate. But as his mystical quest unfolds, William realizes that she is at the center of it — for Brienne possesses the very power he has been sent to vanquish….
As their attraction deepens, William attempts to free Brienne from the dark force beginning to control her — even when his duty demands that he treat her as an enemy. With emotions flaring, fire rising, and evil threatening at every turn, can the two lovers survive the coming battle and save all of humanity? (Goodreads)
Rising Fire is the first book in the Stone Circles series and takes place in 1286 A.D. Scotland, a time when Christianity has firmly taken hold and the ancient gods and goddesses have been cast aside by all but the most secret of followers. Years before, Chaela, the goddess of fire and chaos, was entombed by her fellow deities, the gods and goddesses of war, healing, earth, water, and beasts. She waits impatiently for her time to rise again waiting for the right ancestor to free her.
Brienne of Yester may prove to be the key. She has been raised as the village blacksmith’s daughter, but she is truly the cast off illegitimate offspring of the local ruler, Lord Hugh de Gifford. She has emerging powers of her own, and her fire manipulating abilities soon draw the attention of the Hugh, and he brings her into his home as his own. Meanwhile, rumors about Hugh and his potential use of dark magic have made their way to the king. William de Brus, a knight who is the king’s son, embarks to investigate the claims.
William is drawn to and transfixed by Brienne from the first moment he sees her and feels compelled to protect her. However, as Brienne’s powers are growing, something is going on with William as well. The more they discover about the ancient gods, the more perilous the situation becomes. They strive to stop Hugh from releasing Chaela all while trying to keep everyone safe and falling in love, even though they should be on opposite sides of the fight.
Rising Fire does not end with a cliff hanger, but it does end without tying up loose ends. I am confident that all will be resolved in future installments. I found it to be more of a fantasy tale than historical romance, although Brienne and William’s relationship is the focus of the story. I like both Brienne and William and think they will make a formidable team facing evil. The members of William’s entourage and the priests and seer added variety and texture, and I was disappointed when some of the minor characters met their end. Scotland was an interesting backdrop and a character in itself.
I enjoyed this first book in the series and look forward to reading more of this ancient world. I recommend Rising Fire to fans of dark magic with a good versus evil battle, those who like romance with their fantasy, and those interested in thirteenth century Scotland.