This novel is the third of three about the younger generation, the sons and daughters of Ceridwen, Sidroc, Gyric, Godwin and Aelfwin.
The first of these three (SILVER HAMMER, GOLDEN CROSS) ends with the Siege of Four Stones, home of Hrald, son of Sidroc & Aelfwin, and Ashild, daughter of Yrling & Aelfwin. Just as things are building to a climax, with the nun Sparrow/Bova holding the door against the invading Danish marauders, the novel stops.
WILDSWEPT picks up a day or so later, when the victorious young Jarl of Four Stones, Hrald and his sister Ashild (who killed a Dane with a spear) are recovering. This volume doesn’t end, just pauses.
Now we have FOR ME FATE WOVE THIS, which takes up where WILDSWEPT left off, but this time we are in for a much rougher ride.
It occurs to me as I type this review that WILDSWEPT would have been a much better title for Volume 8 of the Ceridwen Circle, while FOR ME FATE WOVE THIS might have been better for Volume 7, as Volume 7 is a quiet interlude before the storms that await us in Volume 8.
To be frank, I don’t know what FOR ME FATE WOVE THIS refers to. It could be Ceridwen, who continues her charmed life with Sidroc (the love of her life) whose peaceful tranquillity in Gotland is about to be shattered. It seems to me (reading between the lines) that these three volumes HAMMER, WILDSWEPT and FATE are setting up the eventual return of Ceridwen to Anglia (England), which presumably we will witness in Volume 9.
But the “me” of the title could refer to other characters. It could refer to Hrald, or Aelfwin, or Cedric who each suffer unspeakable loss & tragedy. Or it could refer to Ashild.
Whoever it was, I would have preferred to have been given a clue!
The reason why so many love this volume is because the tension is ratcheted up several notches, making the emotions of the characters more intense. As I have said previously, author Octavia Randolph is superlative when it comes to depicting the world of the 9th Century, and she also allows emotions to unspool on the page, hooking the reader in. But as with WILDSWEPT, I felt the pacing was lacking. It didn’t help that this volume didn’t really begin, just slid into place where WILDSWEPT broke off. Four stars.