Circle of Innocents

It Must Remain Unbroken

Fiction - Supernatural
320 Pages
Reviewed on 08/17/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Stephen David Curtis is a resident of Cambridgeshire, in the United Kingdom.

Originally from Essex, Stephen has spent most of his life living in Hertfordshire, the location for his debut novel: Circle of Innocents.

Stephen grew up on a council estate and had a state education, where he developed an interest in poetry and short stories before putting these to good use as a lyricist and songwriter in a musical career that spanned four decades!

Some of those closest to Stephen would tell him that he wouldn't achieve much in music, and he set out to prove them wrong. Perhaps it was that very same drive that enabled him to write Circle of Innocents, a project that he doggedly pursued until the successful publication of the work.

It is often said that "there is a book in everybody". Stephen has no University Degree in creative writing, and yet that did not stop him from creating his first novel. He is a firm believer that if one can put into words what can be imagined, then one can certainly write a book. All it took in the case of Circle of Innocents was a throwaway comment during a conversation between friends, a skeleton onto which Stephen's imagination was able to graft the flesh that became a published work.

Inspiration is a personal seed. Perhaps the next person into whose mind that seed might be sown is whomever has just read this biography!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Parul Sood for Readers' Favorite

Circle of Innocents: It Must Remain Unbroken by Stephen D. Curtis weaves an entrancing supernatural narrative that unites ancient forces and familial bonds. Mother and daughter Joanne and Samantha Middleton's idyllic life takes a chilling turn when they become the targets of a malevolent entity named The Puppeteer. Set against a backdrop of eerie suspense, this tale introduces a cast of compelling characters, each grappling with their own vulnerabilities. The central conflict propels these characters into a battle against The Puppeteer, whose sinister designs threaten humanity. A twist of fate unites them, unveiling shared destinies and the urgency to thwart The Puppeteer's malevolence. Melding supernatural elements with human resilience, Curtis crafts a seamless and suspenseful rhythm.

Stephen D. Curtis's character development in Circle of Innocents shines as Joanne and Samantha's unbreakable mother-daughter bond becomes the story's emotional anchor. The connection between father and son, Chris and Andy, adds depth, while Wayne's tragic past casts him as a manipulated pawn of darkness. Curtis delves into the psychological intricacies of each character, rendering them relatable and multi-dimensional. Expertly building tension, the narrative embraces both heart-pounding confrontations and introspective pauses. Circle of Innocents stands as a testament to Curtis's storytelling, artfully exploring themes of good versus evil, familial strength, and human courage. For fans of supernatural thrillers, Circle of Innocents delivers an enthralling journey. This tale triumphs in delving into darkness and celebrating the human spirit. Dive into a world where ancient forces collide and familial bonds are tested, where the fight against malevolence unveils the indomitable nature of the human soul.

Asher Syed

Circle of Innocents by Stephen D. Curtis is an intricate supernatural thriller about a traumatized man named Wayne Terry, haunted by a childhood incident and under the influence of a nefarious entity, The Puppeteer. Simultaneously, businesswoman Joanne and her daughter Samantha grapple with strange phenomena, hinting at The Puppeteer's influence. The narrative also introduces Detective Chief Inspector Chris Ryan, who, after being shot, discovers he is an "Innocent," a protector of a chosen mother and her unborn child. Chris's mother, Anne Ryan, anxiously supports her son while grappling with her own fears. As the story evolves, the lives of Joanne, Samantha, Chris, Anne, and Wayne intertwine in an eerie dance of destiny, driven by a web of supernatural encounters, past traumas, and chilling revelations. The looming menace of The Puppeteer, and the protagonists' struggle against their internal and external demons, sets the stage for a gripping climax.

Circle of Innocents takes the spectral underbelly of human experiences and turns it into horror in the best possible way. Stephen D. Curtis knows the value of shock but is restrained in how frequently it is applied so that the tension extends until it feels like it might snap. At its core, the novel is a powerful portrayal of the human struggle with past scars and the continual battle with inner demons, with Wayne being the most put-on in this regard. He sure does not make it easy to feel sorry for him though, and I never could even under the looming presence of The Puppeteer. This enigmatic antagonist functions as a metaphor for manipulative forces in life, subtly influencing character decisions and their respective emotional landscapes. Curtis holds a mirror up to a reader, and while entertaining, don't expect it to be pretty. The grit and violence are massive. There is the reward of a spectacular twist when one character realizes and figures out that a prophecy is bigger than they are and as a parent that was a tough pill to swallow. Readers who like paranormal horror with a side of psychological exploration and a few mommy/daddy issues will love this novel, as I have. Beware of extreme violence and a night or two of sleeping with the lights on.

K.C. Finn

Circle of Innocents: It Must Remain Unbroken is a work of fiction in the supernatural thriller, suspense, and paranormal adventure subgenres. It is best suited to mature readers owing to scenes of sex, violence, strong language, and sexual violence. Penned by author Stephen D. Curtis, this chilling novel follows the shocking events that change the lives of mother and daughter Joanne and Samantha Middleton. The pair encounters a curious young man, but unbeknownst to them, he is merely a vessel for a much larger evil that’s intent on targeting Samantha, no matter the cost to her life or those around her.

Author Stephen D. Curtis delivers a sensational, chilling, and horror-filled work that will certainly offer fans of dark supernatural thrillers a great run for their money. For me, the standout feature was the atmosphere of the work, which takes us to many traditionally English Gothic venues with chilling woods, eerie cottages, and lots of things that go bump in the night. Against this vivid scenery, the relationships between different characters are free to blossom, and Samantha becomes a strong focal point for a battle between vulnerability, strength, and survival in the face of some truly horrifying circumstances. I felt very deeply for Joanne, and her psychological through-line in the story really gave it the dramatic impetus and involvement that it needed, anchoring us to the tale and keeping us invested from cover to cover. Overall, I would certainly recommend Circle of Innocents to fans of chilling paranormal drama with plenty of horror and thriller elements in the mix.