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Morrigan's Cross: Book One of the Circle Trilogy    by Nora Roberts order for
Morrigan's Cross
by Nora Roberts
Order:  USA  Can
Jove, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Despite his formidable powers, eleventh century sorcerer Hoyt Mac Cionoith cannot save his twin brother Cian from the evil clutches of vampire queen Lilith. Determined to destroy Cian before he falls completely under Lilith's thrall, Hoyt seeks out the queen's seaside lair. But once again, he tastes defeat at the hands of Lilith and her bloodsucking minions. As Hoyt and his family mourn their loss, he is visited by Morrigan, goddess of battle. She tasks him to gather to his side 'the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms, and the one you've lost.' Together, the Circle of Six must wage war against Lilith before she and her growing legion of demons destroy humankind.

In order to find 'the one you've lost', Hoyt must leave all he knows and loves. He steps through the circle of stones and projects himself through time to present day New York City. It's not long before he tracks down his vampire brother Cian, who's content with his life of decadence and power and has no wish to wage war against the one who made him. But Hoyt's persistence and unflagging code of honour persuades Cian, who reluctantly agrees to join his brother's fight. Hoyt's arrival hasn't gone unnoticed by modern-day witch Glenna Ward. For weeks she'd dreamt that their fates and hearts were intertwined and that they would live or die together in their quest to defeat Lilith. Their return to Ireland and the Mac Cionoith ancestral home heralds the arrival of the scholar, the one of many forms, and the warrior. Now that the circle is complete, they begin the monumental task of preparing themselves for the greatest battle ever waged.

In Morrigan's Cross, Roberts embraces a dark, dangerous, mystical world, adding yet another layer of excellence to her storytelling repertoire. She spends a good deal of time setting up her complex mythology and fleshing out an interesting set of nicely drawn, otherworldly protagonists. Detailed plotting, rich descriptions and a sizzling romance between Hoyt and Glenna make for a heady combination, one that will guarantee satisfaction for even the most discriminating paranormal fan. Nor will there be a long wait for the sequels: Dance of the Gods and Valley of Silence will both be released in October, just in time for Halloween.

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