by Lorie Lewis Ham
Details on how to win a copy of Circle of Blood at the end of this post.
Circle of Blood by Debbie Viguie
Samantha Ryan is a cop who has tried to escape magic and her past as a witch, but it keeps following her. Out of necessity, she has become a witch hunter–but where will that hunt lead her?
In Circle of Blood, the third and final installment of this trilogy, Samantha has let her dark side, Desdemona, take over. She travels to New Orleans to confront the witch who has mercilessly been shaping the events around her for a month. Desdemona is focused, angry and willing to use her powers on anyone who gets in her way–including Samantha who is still inside her head. This side of her is what she may have become if she hadn’t escaped the vicious Salem coven of witches she was a part of as a child. After her escape from the coven, much of Samantha’s past was blocked in her mind and she was adopted by a nice Christian family and tried to leave all of that behind and be normal. However, she discovers this was not meant to be as she gradually remembers the full truth about her past.
The first part of this book is very dark as her powerful, dark side is in control. However, gradually Samantha fights her way back–the arrival of her love Anthony, has a large part in that. But it isn’t until she accepts that she can’t fight this battle on her own, and accepts both sides of herself, that she has a chance of fighting this evil witch and coming out alive.
This is a very complicated story and I don’t suggest you jump in with book three, as you will be completely lost. It even took me awhile to remember everything from the last book and for things to click as to what was happening. However, it is a wonderfully constructed story I highly recommend. I’d say the best way to read them is to binge read all three, one right after the other. I may at some point go back and do that myself.
Not only is Circle of Blood a good fantasy/mystery novel, it is an interesting character study and reminder about how each of us is made up of many parts, both good and bad, and that we need that mix to make us who we are meant to be. Also, that we need to embrace the gifts we are given.
Circle of Blood is filled with interesting and complex characters, and I love the unusual intertwining of magic and Samantha’s faith–I’ve never read anything quite like it before. My favorite combo is always fantasy and mystery so this was a perfect mix!
Interview with Debbie Viguie:
KRL: Did you originally intend to make this a trilogy?
Debbie: Originally, I was thinking of making this a four book series with book three to be set in Hawaii, but a trilogy ended up being just perfect.
KRL: How did you come up with the premise for the books?
Debbie: I was in Salem speaking at a conference. I fell in love with the place. It’s very kooky and they’ve embraced their witch trials heritage and so it’s kind of like going to a perpetual Halloween town. It was incredibly fun. All the stores had fun, kitschy witch decorations and merchandise. After a couple of days, I thought to myself that this would be the perfect place for real witches to hide in plain sight. I started thinking harder about what it would be like if underneath all the fun and light-heartedness there was actually something truly dark and disturbing going on. That’s how the idea for the series was born.
KRL: What kind of research have you done?
Debbie: I’ve done a lot of research on witchcraft, Wicca, and other earth based religions for several different books. For this series, the primary focus of my research was the places that Samantha was visiting. I wanted the reader to get a real sense of what it was like to be there. I’ve been to Salem, and I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where book two is set. I still did a lot of research on little details, sometimes just to jog my memory. I did more research for New Orleans, the setting of book three, since I’ve never been there.
KRL: Why the mystery/fantasy combo?
Debbie: I have a lot of experience in both those genres and thought it would be fun to combine them. I like mash-ups because I think they can make for multi-layered, compelling reads that appeal to a broad audience.
KRL: Why did you decide to combine Christianity with witchcraft?
Debbie: I’m actually laughing right now. It’s a good question, but the first thing that went through my head was “because the two have a long and bloody history together.” It has always irritated me that people can be so quick to put Christians in a little box. I’m a Christian and have been since I was very little. In college I constantly heard people upon discovering this fact say things like “You can’t be a Christian because you’re too much fun” or “You can’t be a Christian because I saw you wear a sexy dress once” or “You can’t be a Christian because of the movies you watch” and so on and so forth. Being a Christian means that you have accepted Jesus as your savior. That’s it. The rest is dogma. Sure, it means that there is a moral code you’re expected to have, but there is more freedom in it than most people understand.
In these books, Samantha is someone who is able to practice magic because she was born with that ability. Magic use in itself is neither good nor evil in the story. What you do with it is good or evil. This is something Samantha herself struggles to understand. Because she used it for evil as a child she has a hard time accepting it as part of her life and for a long time refuses to use magic even to do good. Unfortunately, newer Christians sometimes have the same reaction to their own natural gifts and talents. If they feel they abused them or used them for evil they become reluctant to use those gifts or talents ever again because they feel like they lost that right when they used them before. That’s just ridiculous. When God gives you a skill or a talent, it’s to be used. Just because you misused it doesn’t mean you can’t ever use it again. That’s punishing yourself in a way that is harmful both to you and to those who might benefit from your skills and talents. Understanding that her God-given gifts are just that is key to Samantha ever being able to come to terms with herself and with her past. Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.
KRL: How hard was it for you to make that combo work?
Debbie: It was actually pretty easy for me although it was sure tough on my characters!
KRL: Did you know how you were going to end this final book?
Debbie: Yes, I knew what the end was when I first conceived of the series.
KRL: What is next for you writing wise?
Debbie: I’m working on a supernatural retelling of Robin Hood with co-author James R. Tuck. It is shaping up to be an awesome series! I’ve also just finished writing an amazing YA thriller with Nancy Holder. I also have a half dozen other things up my sleeve as well.
To enter to win a copy of Circle of Blood, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Circle,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 5, 2014. U.S. residents only.
Check out more fantasy book reviews in our fantasy and fangs section.