The Circle Cast was shortlisted for the Quebec Writers Federation Prize for Children's and Young Adult Literature.

A mature and surprising story that supposes the life of Morgan LeFay, the half-sister of King Arthur. Intense and evocative. This book has everything one wants in a novel from a deftly-organized plot, to varied characterization to crisp, rhythmic writing.

—The QWF Prize Jury

This has the darkness of Celtic magic — not fanciful, period romance — and a poetic terseness that suits its stern, passionate hero.

The Toronto Star

This blend of the ancient and the modern works seamlessly in Mr. Epstein's retelling, all of it linked by the deep connection we feel to the character of Morgan... Those with a longstanding love of Arthuriana are sure to take pleasure in this new vision of Morgan, and those who are new to it will no doubt be drawn into the pleasures of this multivoiced literature after reading "The Circle Cast."

The East Hampton Star

Epstein skillfully blends the coming-of-age, the fairy, the revenge, and the legend. Through the poetry of Epstein's writing, I could feel the power of the old magic that Morgan evokes when she goes "between the worlds," and I could taste the salt sea air as she sails between her two lands... Fans of Arthurian legend will love this book, and so will everyone else. Great characters, great writing, great story.

Historical Novels Review

Epstein's writing is hypnotic.

CM Magazine

An excellent work of Arthurian fantasy, highly recommended.

The Midwest Book review

A sophisticated, stylishly written novel ... In this haunting tale of fantasy there is romance as Morgan falls in love with a young Irish chieftain and is then torn between her thirst for revenge and her desire for love and happiness. This is a most impressive book... The book's descriptive passages are a joy to read, often more akin to poetry than prose and teachers might well wish to focus on the writer's techniques from the title itself to the use of repetition and of the simple, very short, very effective sentences.

School Librarian

For fans of Arthurian reimaginings, The Circle Cast is a must read, and even readers who have been disappointed by vague historical settings and authors more interested in defending their characters than developing them will find this novel a welcome departure from the norm. The Circle Cast is a quick read, but one that will stay with you long after the closing image.

Lacuna: A Journal of Historical Fiction

Blog Reviews

Morgan's story is relatable... and she feels like a friend. Epstein makes her come alive on the page, and with some great poetic prose. One can hope for a sequel… I give this book 4 Druids, kudos to the writer for turning such a distant story into a great read.

The Young Adult Fantasy Guide

It takes a very special book to make me think, "gosh, I really like fantasy novels," but The Circle Cast did it. A well-thought backstory to the life of Arthurian sorceress Morgan le Fay, the novel also provides a fascinating look at medieval Britain and Ireland... Morgan is a cunning, sassy adolescent and subsequently a wise and powerful woman.

Things I Think About

Bff charm: yes!
swoonworthy scale: 9
talky talk: solid
bonus factors: feminism, badassery, magic
relationship status: goin’ steady

Forever Young Adult

I was hooked... A fascinating contribution ... An excellent YA fantasy novel that should appeal to adults as well.

Jules Jones

[Epstein] has captured the raw energy of the land, the people of that time in history, and the mythical person who we know as Morgan Le Fay.

Historical Novel Review

A great strong female protagonist for a young adult story.

Old English Rose

... this delightfully enchanting novel is a welcome complement to the mythology.

A. F. Stewart

An appealing and creative re-imagining of the young life of Morgan. One can only hope that it will be the first book in a series.

Roof Beam Reader

A fascinating tale ... a great addition to the many King Arthur stories.... I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy a good adventure story as well as new takes on old legends."

One Book Shy

A thoroughly and imaginatively described world in which magic comes to life... As an avid history fan, I absolutely loved this rendition of Morgan's lost years and am curious to see how Epstein would continue her story.

Lost for Words

The Circle Cast was a fascinating look at what Morgan's life might have been like in the early years and I loved every minute of the book. Mr. Epstein's writing was great, he dove right into the mind of an adolescent girl in early Britain and brought out this marvelous story of her life as she traveled in a foreign country and navigated their customs as she fought for her life and plotted and schemed toward her own revenge and getting back to Britain.

My Reading Room

A hidden treasure...




Who is Morgan le Fay?
Why is the story set in 500 AD?
What is Wiccan magic?
Who is Alex Epstein?
Alex Epstein hath a blog.
An Interview with Alex Epstein on The Young Adult Fantasy Guide
Praise for The Circle Cast
Publication Information