Six years after her Orange Prize-winning novel, The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller returns to ancient Greece to sing of Circe--witch, goddess and nymph, daughter of a god, lover to great men and a fearsome power in her own right.

Born to Helios the sun god and his preening wife, Perse, nymph and daughter of the river god Oceanos, Circe has neither the power nor the beauty expected of a daughter of titans. She is bullied and scorned by her whole family until the birth of Aeetes, her youngest brother. Before he deserts her for his own kingdom, he mentions the magical pharmaka herbs that grow in places where titans have shed their blood. Desolate, Circe falls in love with a mortal fisherman, but when she uses pharmaka to make him immortal, her nature and that of her siblings is revealed--all have some facility with witchcraft, enabling them to flout the will of the Olympian gods. Ordered by an uneasy Zeus to punish his overreaching offspring, Helios exiles unloved Circe to the island of Aiaia. Her penance turns to pleasure when Circe realizes that a bounty of herbs useful for spells grow there, and that while alone, she has the freedom to do as she wishes.

Circe's world treats females, particularly nymphs, as currency at best and objects at worst. She must fight to walk a different path. Ambitious in scope, Circe is above all the chronicle of an outsider woman who uses her power and wits to protect herself and the people she loves, ultimately looking within to define herself. Readers will savor the message of standing against a hostile world and forging a new way. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

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