-by Octavia Randolph
284 pages (2001)
Octavia Randolph’s historical adventure “Ceridwen of Kilton” is set in unstable 9th Century Saxon England during the Danish Viking incursion. The narrative revolves around Ceridwen - a brave and beautiful young mother and wife, dealing with life during such a volatile period of time.
Ceridwen of Kilton is a richly-woven tapestry of characters with great depth, beauty and strength. The tale holds an appeal to the human plight of survival and love. We agonize with the characters...the long (yet resolved) understanding between Sirroc the Dane and Ceridwen. The deep kinship yet brotherly rivalry between Godwin and Gyric...to mention but a few. The characters are hardly static, as they grow throughout the story. The reader will especially enjoy observing the persona of Gyric (Ceridwen's husband), who advances from a inward lost soul, lacking self-confidence, to a strong stabilizing force of the Kilton foik, and a behind-the-scenes hero and leader.
The narrative itself is masterfully written and its complex historical details are a testament to a novel well-researched with much care. There are some parts in the book - explicitly sensual in nature - which the story could have done without. It is therefore the reason why one couldn't recommend this book to "everyone". Yet, the plot and characters alone, stand testimony to a most intriguing and adventuresome tale.