The Magic Circle by Katherine Neville

The Magic Circle by Katherine Neville: What happens when you mix Native Americans, Hitler, Gypsies, nuclear weapons, human sacrifice, Mongols, the Cold War, the Roman Empire, the early Christian church, Druids, the Knights Templar, sex, and Greek gods together? A whirlwind, globe-trotting adventure that spans the centuries. Though not as engrossing as her earlier novel, The Eight, this story still has quite a bit to offer. The year is 1989. We meet Ariel Behn, your average nuclear engineer whose world is turned upside down with the sudden death of her beloved cousin Sam. Suddenly everyone from the family she’s spent her life trying to avoid is interested in her inheritance, which is a set of ancient manuscripts. Ariel spends much of the book trying to figure out how the various players are interconnected while attempting to stay alive long enough to learn why people are so willing to kill or be killed for these documents. There are plenty of twists, turns, and surprises in store for her on her journey that takes her from the remote mountains of Idaho to deepest Soviet Russia and beyond.

This is not a light read. The story pauses several times to give first-hand accounts of events in the years following the death of Christ, both of those who knew him and those who wanted to destroy him. I unfortunately read three other books while reading this one, and I admit I was still a little lost by the end of it. I do not understand how everything tied together, or why exactly the manuscripts were so important. All the same, I enjoyed the characters and felt myself cheering Ariel on as she untangled the web of lies that had ensnared her family for so many years. Not as good as The Eight, but if you’re interested in historical fiction mixed with New Age spirituality, it’s worth a read.

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