Whenever I receive the follow-on novel to a book I have previously enjoyed I feel nervous. Will I be disappointed or will the sequel continue to good work of its predecessor?

In the case of Bride of the Stone I was delighted to find myself transported back into the world of Eronth only this time the original main character, Emma was dead and I was reading about her daughter, Maya.

Bride of the Stone picks up exactly where the first book left off and continues without faltering. Throughout the story you learn more about the world of Eronth and the Azephim, the Dark Angels who want to re-ignite the power of the Eom crystal. As with volume one this book is intense and not an easy read. However once you start reading it quickly draws you in and suddenly you find that an hour and quite a number of pages have passed without you realising it!

These books are not for anyone who likes to pick up a book, read a quick chapter and then put it down again. They require a certain level of commitment from the reader and the ability to spend a reasonable period of time reading and enjoying the story.

Once again a superb, complex and intriguing fantasy novel.

Review by Lesley Mazey, The Eternal Night Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Fiction Website (Eternal Night’s Circle of Nine review is here)

BRIDE OF THE STONE by Josephine Pennicott (Simon & Schuster, $AUD18.95)

The second book in the Circle of Nine trilogy, this is a darker, more extreme sequel to the first instalment of the series. Josephine Pennicott obviously has a highly fertile, florid imagination. To be able to fit so many diverse characters, deities and archetypes within the one story, and make them work, really is a feat in itself.

This tale alternates between the cultic doings of the charismatic ‘angel-blood’ Lazariel, in Sydney, and the parallel world of Eronth, which is peopled by all manner of gifted crones, stone wizards, rather bad faeries, puzzled changelings, evil sea hags, Goddess worshippers, majestic deities and sinister dark angels. Each sort of being is wonderfully described, enabling the reader to form quite intense visualisations of characters and scenery.

What an excellent description of the amoral world of Faery – ugh, shudder! Obviously Pennicott has based it on aspects of traditional Faery lore, but there seems to be a realism there which can only come from having personally visited the Hollow Hills: indeed I think she must have. If you liked Circle of Nine, you’ll love Bride of the Stone.

Review by Caroline Tully, Witchcraft magazine, August/September 2003.

Alyssa Curtayne delves into a world of ancient goddesses.

BRIDE OF THE STONE and CIRCLE OF NINE by Josephine Pennicott

This dark fantasy trilogy starts with struggling artist Emma Develle, who is transported through a ‘gate’ to the parallel world of Eronth – a land of fantasy creatures where ancient goddesses struggle with a fallen angel race, the Azephim.

Emma is rescued from creatures who feed off negative energy from Earth on her arrival in Eronth by a crone, Khartyn. The their adventure to fulfil their individual destinies begins.

The tale is sometimes dark and gruesome, but in general the characters seem to be real and no longer just a fantasy that exists on the page.
The stories use of lot of new-age and witchcraft language that adds to their authenticity.

The second book twists and turns with multiple storylines eventually meeting at the end, where Emma’s daughter Maya, the chosen one, is abducted and Khartyn is trapped with the Azephim.

But to tell too much would be giving it away, and I guess we’ll all have to wait until the third instalment by this Tasmanian author when it is released in March.

Review by Alyssa Curtayne, The Examiner (Tasmania) 21st June, 2003.