The Ring of Mann

Circles of Time

Young Adult - Mythology/Fairy Tale
530 Pages
Reviewed on 08/30/2020
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Author Biography

David Thomas Kay is a naturalised Australian, married with two children. He arrived in Darwin in 1964 after travelling overland in an ambulance through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and India to Bombay. He worked on Koolan Island in Yampi Sound, before backpacking around the rest of the continent. David then worked in New Zealand, South Africa and Sydney before settling in Queensland with his wife Patricia and twins Tracey and Martin.

Genealogical research became the inspiration for his first novel The Sword of Saint Isidores. This novel of mystery and suspense covers the history of the Norse Vikings, their daily life, their culture, and legendary battles and their eventual migration to the Lake District of England., via the Isle of Mann.

His second novel, The Ring of Mann, traces the path of descendants of Norse immigrants and the journey of a group of clandestine Cistercian monks who record the history of the early Norse settlers. A segue moves the story forward to the Restoration age and the reign of King Charles II with descendants of the Norse Vikings inheriting the mystical runic ring.

His third novel, The Inscription, continues with the lives of the Viking descendants and the inheritors of the runic ring. The setting is 19th Century Britain during the early reign of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert amid the splendor of London's Crystal Palace, the serenity of the English Lake District, and the winding down of The East India Shipping Company.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite

The Ring of Mann is the second book in the Circles of Time series by David Thomas Kay and is a well-written novel for fans of historical fiction and fantasy. Fans of psychological thrillers will enjoy this narrative. It is set in the English Lake District in 1663, a locality that is rife with folklore and tales of witches and where people live in fear of the devil. It is here that a runic ring and a black Arabian horse unleash the ghost of a female Viking warrior. A young innocent widow is possessed. The story follows very captivating and richly developed characters. A woodcutter’s disappearance is blamed on three young cousins and while Major Rathbone continues to persecute the Quakers, the young cousins must flee from the Major’s son, Rufus, who is after them with his Constables. It is pulsating and filled with action and romance.

The story is captivating and transporting, with a setting that is vividly described and where the day-to-day life of the characters is aptly captured with strong imagery. Readers are confronted with a culture enriched by superstitious beliefs and where people live in fear of those who hold power in the land and spiritual forces. Mary is one of my favorite characters, a widow of Viking descent, and one of the key characters in the story. Her brother is another interesting character and he, a gravedigger, epitomizes the superstitious nature of the people of the town. Thomas is one of the characters that I followed and his role in the narrative is indispensable. The writing is suspenseful and filled with situations that are strangely familiar and characters that, though living in another time and culture, are believable and memorable. The Ring of Mann has a setting that is well-written and I loved the way the author captures the details of the landscape, the politics of the town, and the general beliefs of the common people. It is highly descriptive and sprinkled with well-crafted dialogues. David Thomas Kay just became one of my favorite fantasy writers and the way he mixes fantasy and mystery won me over.

Ruffina Oserio

The Ring of Mann is the second book in the Circles of Time series by David Thomas Kay, a story that melds many genres into one and a great read for fans of historical fiction and romance. It is set in the English Lake District in 1663 and at a time when Major Rathbone persecutes the Quakers. There is unrest in the village after the disappearance of a woodcutter. Thomas hides in his friends' place but before they work out an escape plan, the major’s son and his cronies are on their heels. This is a story that explores social conflict in a setting prone to superstition, and it features very interesting and richly developed characters. The quest for freedom, love, and mythology are themes that are developed in the narrative.

David Thomas Kay is a gifted storyteller and while the narrative transports readers to a well-developed setting, the writing is just gorgeous. Characters are rich and rock-solid, starting with Thomas, a kleptomaniac who sees ghosts and who has a great gift for storytelling. Mary is Damian’s sister. She inherits the runic ring and has horrible visions of her Viking ancestors. A character like Damian, the gravedigger, grabs the attention of the reader and makes them stick with him. The Ring of Mann is suspenseful, filled with strong imagery, and following memorable characters in a world rife with tension and conflict. The story is filled with strong descriptions, the use of the epistolary style that enriches the plot, and dialogues that are interesting to follow and that capture the manner of speech of the characters. I enjoyed the way the conflict is developed and the author does an impeccable job in elaborating on the simple threads that bind characters together, writing about different relationships in the story in a way that is natural and enjoyable. It is a great story for fans of historical fiction.

Rabia Tanveer

The Ring of Mann is the second book in the Circles of Time series by David Thomas Kay. The Quakers are being persecuted and Thomas is caught in all this for some reason. His friends try to get him out of this mess, but they are caught and now it looks like his future is bleaker than he ever thought. We also have Mary. She is a young widow who inherited an Arabian colt and a ring. While her life is not easy, she is disturbed by some horrifying visions of her ancestors who were Vikings. She has no idea what these visions mean, but she knows they are trying to tell her something. But what are they trying to tell her? Join these characters as they unravel their destinies while they are stuck inside folklore and a terrifying reality that is worse than a nightmare.

I appreciate it when authors give a character list at the beginning of a novel. It helps me to remember the important characters and that is enough for me to form a connection from the get-go. I adore mythology and I actively look up mythologies in different cultures, areas, and regions. The Ring of Mann is a fantasy novel that young adults will love, but I know people who enjoy reading in general will love it as well. It is the kind of long novel that becomes too short because it is so interesting. There are so many underlying meanings to each sub-plot and David Thomas Kay makes sure readers understand the significance of each. I loved the folklore mentioned in the book, absolutely loved the mythological elements, and how the author flawlessly executes them. The imagery is captivating, the dialogues are revealing and descriptions pull the reader into the setting. It is perfect!

Jamie Michele

The Ring of Mann by David Thomas Kay is the second book in the historical mythology trilogy Circle of Time, preceded by book one, The Sword of Saint Isidore. This installment continues the saga that stretches over centuries. It is broken down into five interconnecting parts that begin in 1240 medieval Cumbria, now known as the Lake District, with an investigation into one of the richest Cistercian monasteries in England. Meanwhile, the descendants of a Spanish slave who married the notorious Viking Chieftain are the heirs to the runic ring, the possession of which is desired for more than just nostalgia. Fast forward to 1663, Mary is a clairvoyant of the past with a deep bond to her Viking lineage and an intense fascination with woodcutting that links her to modern-day trouble.

Well written and absolutely full of historical detail, David Thomas Kay puts a diverse cast of characters with varied but all ostensible motives into some of England's most volatile moments. The Ring of Mann reads perfectly well as a stand-alone although to do so would rob readers of an incredible amount of backstory. Mary is a character with almost infinite depth, a beautiful, cunning woman with the mark of the plague on her face and a penchant for mysticism, both welcome and not, that makes her subject to a range of suspicions even among her own brother and cousin. Throughout the novel's meticulous weaving of connecting storylines, Kay is able to balance multiple subplots, particularly with regard to romance and a bit of mystery, with a restrained but evenhanded pace that a less skilled writer might rush through. The runic ring is central as it moves through time and captivates all. I believe this book will be well received by readers who enjoy sweeping sagas along the lines of Bernard Cornwell, relic hunting, and rich historical structure. Fortunately, Kay's third novel in the series, The Inscription, has already been released which will please those who are sure to find themselves engrossed in the series.

Christian Sia

The Ring of Mann is Book Two in the Circles of Time series by David Thomas Kay and a transporting story that takes the reader to the English Lake District in 1663 AD. The story captures the day-to-day life of the inhabitants and the frictions that punctuate life in this village. The conflict involves a Major Rathbone who persecutes the Quakers and his son who is out to track and capture those involved in the disappearance of a woodcutter. In a world that believes in superstition and is always on the alert, driven by the fear of the devil, a young widow of Viking descent, Mary, inherits relics that are very powerful: a runic ring and a black Arabian colt. These relics are to change the life of this village as they unleash the restless spirit of a Viking female warrior. From three cousins running for their lives and superstitious beliefs to which the villagers are attached, to the supernatural happenings, the story offers a rich plot and strong characters.

The plot in The Ring of Mann is ingenious and the world-building is impeccable. I was pulled in by the careful handling of the setting, with unique cultural elements, linguistic details, and historical hints. The character web stands out and it is easy to visualize the relationships between the characters, like Mary and Damian, the gravedigger. The writing is good and the dialogues reflect the world in which the story takes place and pay attention to time. It is filled with humor and a lot of elements that readers want in a good book. David Thomas Kay has the unique gift of capturing the interest of readers and keeping them engaged from page to page. It is a fascinating story.


Sep 05, 2020 Jo rated it it was amazing
A must-read for fans of historical fiction.

The author has crafted a world that allows a reader to immerse themselves in a far-begotten place and time with his characters and their surrounds.

The novel spans from 13th to the 17th centuries, tracking the many characters over their lifetimes via the main protagonist; the ring.

Thankfully the Ring of Mann is part of a trilogy, so the story doesn’t end on the last page.


Swati rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fantasy, fiction, kindle
The Ring of Mann is set in 17th century England and combines mystery, a dash of the supernatural, and family drama to deliver a pageturner. Although this was over 500 pages I did not feel the weight of it and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.
flag6 likes · Like · 2 comments · see review


message 2: by Swati - rated it 4 stars Aug 23, 2020 10:38PM
Swati Chif. I wish I could write more but I can't because it's Indie Reader exclusive. It really was a good read.

Graham Pritchard

“Mann oh Mann! What a great story”
The novel is a meld of historical fiction and Norse mythology and transverses the years 1240AD to1663AD through the occurrence of the mystical runic ring. The suspense is maintained through the evolution of the characters and their interaction of the ring. Death, love, curiosity, horsemanship and family relations are all well managed in the development of the story. Whilst the characters are numerous, they do not seem superfluous for the convincing events of this novel. The maintenance of the historical accuracy and the culture of the Norse people are interestingly intertwined in this writing. On completing the climax of The Ring of Mann, it entices one to read the next volume, The Inscription.
Graham Pritchard - Master of Educational Studies (UQ),
Administrator and University Lecturer

Terence Fulton

“An atmosphere of mystery and page-turning excitement”
The Ring of Mann is a fascinating and worthy successor to The Sword of Saint Isidores. Well-researched, it shows a deep knowledge of the history and geography of the Furness district of Lancashire and so, it has an authority often absent from the historical novel. The well-drawn characters and detailed scene-setting help to create an atmosphere of mystery and page-turning excitement which draws the reader into the complexities of an imaginatively constructed chronicle.
Terence Fulton - B.A.(Leicester) M.A.(Leeds)

Diana Todd-Banks

“A skilled storyteller”
The author, David Thomas Kay, is a skilled storyteller and as such, I highly recommend his latest literary work.
Diana Todd-Banks - 3 x International Best-Selling Author Awards

Pete Davies

Weaving fact and fiction into a thrilling story”
I have read all of David’s books and eagerly anticipate every new novel.
The Ring of Mann is a wonderful glimpse into the past, weaving fact and fiction into a thrilling story combining mystery, suspense and humour.
Pete Davies - Principal EHO, UK

Jane Williams

I totally enjoyed The Sword of Saint Isidores and David has continued with his gift for characterisation, and to effectively write humour, is a rare gift in itself.
Jane Williams - NZ Forest Ranger, Dept of Conservation

Catherine Joyce Kendal

“A psychological thriller”
The Ring of Mann is a psychological thriller; disturbing the serenity of the English Lake District where folklore, witches, and fear of the devil are part of the villager’s daily life. The presence of a runic ring and a raven black Arabian horse unleash the restless spirit of a female Viking warrior; and, a young innocent widow is possessed. There are underlying messages of forest preservation and religious persecution. A good mix of fact and captivating fiction. The author’s writing is very descriptive, and the story pulls the reader along at such a pace that it is hard to put the novel down.
Catherine Joyce Kendal - Editor, author

James W

James W’s review. 5 Stars
Highly engrossing historical fiction
David Thomas Kay’s second entry to his ‘Circles of Time’ series, ‘The Ring of Mann’ is yet another well-written slice of historical fiction that once again offers readers a compelling family saga set in seventeenth-century England.
The Ring of Mann follows three cousins whose lives are intertwined with a mysterious ring. What follows is a long, winding epic rife with all of life’s complexities - birth, death, love, loss, betrayal, and a dash of murder. Add to that, character lists, and maps, and you have all the tools you need to immerse yourself into Kay’s carefully constructed world.
Written with prose that marries the vivid efficiency of Southern-Gothic writers with Dickensian touches, Kay offers readers a vivid, ‘insider’ look at hallmark historical events such as the great London fire and the black death, ultimately weaving a highly intimate narrative into one of the most tumultuous periods of history.
Part suspenseful thriller, part historical melodrama, at over 500-pages, ‘The Ring of Mann’ is every bit as engrossing as, say, Martin’s GOT series, albeit, with the added weight of actual historical context. If historical fiction is your thing, then David Thomas Kay’s ‘Ring of Mann’ is highly recommended.


5.0 out of 5 stars The Ring of Mann
Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2020
Verified Purchase
The Ring of Mann is the second part of the Circles of Time series. The story begins with three young cousins, Mary, Damian and Thomas, who are involved in the disappearance of a woodcutter amidst rumors in the village. It follows their lives through twists and turns, major life events while hitting on major historical events. Even though it is a very long read it is engrossing at every part and difficult to put down. This is an excellent piece of suspenseful, historical fiction.

Peter Hellinga

David Kay is a very skilled writer who has written a fictional book “The Ring of Mann” based on an enormous level of middle age European historical research, giving this book high level of realism and authenticity.
The story line is developed around well-crafted characters with free flowing events.
An enjoyable book read.

Mark Smith

Oct 12, 2020Mark Smith rated it 5 Star
Inspirational, enticing, and exciting.
David Thomas Kay delivers a picture-perfect historical fantasy novel. The Ring of Mann is the second installment of Kay’s Circles of Time series, an original series based on historical Viking mythology. While the novel doesn’t focus on the traditional genre, as it has a mashup of themes, Kay does a fantastic job drawing plot lines and building character archetypes. Readers will find the novel both inspirational, enticing, and exciting.

Ocean Reeve

With top reviews and now a notable award, David Kay's 'The Ring of Man' is a quality, fresh novel with a mix of fantasy and historical fiction that captures the imagination.