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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and exciting. Just as good as The Eight.
The Magic Circle is a fascinating and entertaining book. I think readers should give it a chance. Ms. Neville has already written The Eight, this is a different book and the constant comparisons of the two really annoy me. Give her a break! If she rewrote The Eight, people would be complaining about that too. The Magic Circle a different book and is every bit as good...
Published on 17 April 1998

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Highly disappointing compared to The Eight
I was a big fan of The Eight, so I ordered The Magic Circle as soon as I saw it. I wish I hadn't. Unlike her last novel, A Calculated Risk, which was set in the world of high finance, this book goes back to the style of the Eight. Historical accounts from various periods are interspersed with the modern day trials and tribulations of Ariel, the protaganist...
Published on 2 Mar 1998


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Highly disappointing compared to The Eight, 2 Mar 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Magic Circle (Hardcover)
I was a big fan of The Eight, so I ordered The Magic Circle as soon as I saw it. I wish I hadn't. Unlike her last novel, A Calculated Risk, which was set in the world of high finance, this book goes back to the style of the Eight. Historical accounts from various periods are interspersed with the modern day trials and tribulations of Ariel, the protaganist.
Unlike Cat, the main character from The Eight, I found Ariel a frustrating character to root for, as she was constantly doing things that made no sense to me, and shouldn't have to her either. After a while, I wanted to knock on her head and ask if anyone was home. Her family is worse. It's endlessly evolving as revelations of incest and falsified parenthood are dropped on her one after another. After a while it was pointless to even try and keep track.
Unfortunately, the weaving of myriad threads from different periods of history that the author accomplished so well in The Eight seems badly strained here, and it seems that no city they visit can even be named without a two page digression into the history of the town and how it's name mystically ties in with the hidden knowledge of the ancients. After a while, it just gets repetitive, and I kept waiting for something important to finally take place. And despite implications of artifacts of great power from ealier ages, and the sweeping changes that are to accompany the turning aeons, nothing really happens. Honestly, if you're new to this author, and this book sounds interesting to you, I'd go back and read The Eight instead.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A complete mess, 12 Aug 2003
It is very hard to believe that this is written by the same person who wrote "The Eight".
The plot wanders in and out of the book. The authors approach seems to be: take a mish-mash of arcane and esoteric references (Hitler, Stalin, Gurdjieff, Joseph of Arimethea) and use these to force along a book that is belaboured at best, hopelessly lost at worst. This book is sprinkled with famous (or infamous) historical figures, but each character is used as a deus ex machina instead of a plot. There seems to have been no effort to stitch all the characters together in a convincing story. Publishers deadline, perhaps?
The main character in this book is the kind of woman that in one scene is fiery and independent, while in another is succumbing to the the villian in a manner that would not be out of place in a Mills and Boon novel. To call her annoying would be putting it mildly.
Save your money and reread "The Eight".
Or buy another book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars VERY DISAPPOINTING, 7 Sep 2012
By 
Eleni - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Magic Circle (Hardcover)
Ariel Behn, a nuclear security expert, attends her stepbrother's funeral, where she discovers that she is the beneficiary of a priceless and dangerous inheritance, so dangerous that it possibly got her beloved Sam killed. From that moment Ariel realizes that she is in great danger, cannot trust anyone, including her family, and has to solve a mystery that puzzles mankind for thousands of years. In 1989 Ariel travels around the world trying to solve the puzzle, while brief interludes take us back to various moments in history, as the mystery unfolds.

I loved Katherine Neville's The Eight and The Fire and I expected to like this as well, however I was really disappointed. The author, in 554 pages, managed to make a complete mess of every bit of world history and mythology imaginable. From Jupiter, King Solomon, and Jesus of Nazareth, to Emperor Nero, Nikola Tesla and Adolf Hitler; practically every historical figure is implicated in this farfetched fictional quest for world domination. Sadly, nothing in the plot makes any sense, too many things are happening without any coherence, and history and mythology are brutally manipulated to fit into this plot. Also Ariel, the protagonist, is intolerable; she is supposed to be a genius scientist whose perception and code breaking abilities make her the only person in history able to solve the mystery, and yet she constantly behaves like a silly, impulsive, lovestruck teenager.

I believe that this is one of those books that the more expectations and historical knowledge you have, the more disappointed you are likely to become. If you haven't read anything by this author, I would definitely recommend to avoid this one, and read "The Eight" instead.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and exciting. Just as good as The Eight., 17 April 1998
By A Customer
The Magic Circle is a fascinating and entertaining book. I think readers should give it a chance. Ms. Neville has already written The Eight, this is a different book and the constant comparisons of the two really annoy me. Give her a break! If she rewrote The Eight, people would be complaining about that too. The Magic Circle a different book and is every bit as good as The Eight. As with her other two books, Magic Circle borrows from historical facts to make her story come alive as a fascinating and informative piece. She masterfully weaves her fiction and fact together to make her fiction believable, and her facts more understandable and interesting by giving a human feel to them. Reading it made me interested in the subjects she touches on, and so I read other books and actually learned something from them. Maybe that's the problem with the bad reviews this book is getting. Maybe people are afraid to actually learn from reading novels. Ms. Neville, according to her biography enteries, has an intimate knowledge of what her main characters do, and adds to her knowledge by tireless research. I found that when the book talked about the telluric currents and the power grids of the earth, I would study maps and review history to see what else happened in these places. When she talked of Song of Solomon, I dug out a bible and read Song of Solomon because her book made it interesting. I found and read a book called Spear of Destiny that talked about the spear that Hitler was obsessed with, because Magic Circle made me wonder about it. For me, The Magic Circle was exciting and informative. I strongly suggest anyone who read and liked either of her other works to pick up this one too. Give it a chance and I don't think you'll regret it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ - LEFT ME SPINNING!, 1 Sep 1999
By A Customer
I loved Neville's first two books, but I must say, THE MAGIC CIRCLE dances rings around them. A book that covers 2000 years of history, a dazzling family embroiled in all the intrigues of our century, and a heroine, Ariel Behn, who can even out-ski an avalanche like James Bond. If you love action, adventure, historical or modern, this book is for you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK for Neville, but outstanding for any other writer, 21 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Magic Circle (Hardcover)
I loved The Eight! I liked A Calculated Risk awfully well. I wanted The Magic Circle to be equally good, but it just ... wasn't. Yes, it was enjoyable, but it wasn't up to her normally exceptional level. I consider The Eight one of the best books I've ever read, and probably one of the best-written novels of the decade. If I could write, I'd write like that.
I think The Magic Circle just got out of control. Two story lines were superbly interwoven in The Eight. Three were intricately crafted in A Calculated Risk. Between Indian reservations and Austrian Schlosses and the Last Supper and Caligula and Salt Lake City and ski slopes...
Mozart pulled off a muddle like that in The Marriage of Figaro -- 20 voices all going at once. The Magic Circle, though, became a cacaphony.
I will credit Katherine Neville with being an exceptional researcher and a wonderful writer. And I enjoyed The Magic Circle, it was entertaining and a good read and hard to put down. Fo! r any other writer, this would have been a magnificent achievement. For Neville, I'll just read The Eight again and wait for the next one. She's always worth a read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Bitter Disappointment, 1 April 2013
By 
Mme J. Mackenzie (Nice, France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I ordered this book after reading & thoroughly enjoying 'The Eight", but what a disappointment this was. While the plot is complex, for me the whole book was ruined by all the the totally unnecessary "romance", on a scale worthy of Barbara Cartland. Every cliche imaginable is here. All the characters, male & female are impossibly physically perfect, there's far too much flashing of emerald eyes & other such drivel. I enjoy books with 600 pages, sadly, most of this was just padding.
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3.0 out of 5 stars mix of thrilling and boring, 28 Feb 2010
There were parts of this book where I was unable to put it down but large sections that I skim read because it was too longwinded and the plot seemed to get stuck. On the whole it was ok but the ending wasn't worth waiting for and I felt slightly cheated at the end....as if I'd walked up a really steep hill but the view at the top was marred by fog!
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1.0 out of 5 stars The worst book I've ever read (and did not finish it), 12 Dec 2009
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This is by far the worst book I've ever read. It is such a pity and a waste of talent for the writer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly complex, 23 Oct 2009
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A fantastic, complex, intelligent book that will leave you spinning! The Magic Circle, although a complex read is fascinating with plenty of modern and historical content that would impress any intelligent reader.

My only advice is to read it after a good nights sleep, it is too complicated to try and read when tired!
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The Magic Circle
The Magic Circle by Katherine Neville (Hardcover - Mar 1998)
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