The Sword Of Saint Isidores

Book One, Circles of Time Series.

Fiction - Fantasy - General
508 Pages
Reviewed on 01/17/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

I was a genealogist researching medieval times. Half way through my writing course I discovered my mother's ancestors had Scandinavian DNA. This led to further research and a study of Norse mythology. My love of Fantasy stirred my imagination and I was inspired to write a Viking Family Saga Adventure, The Sword of Saint Isidores.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

The Sword Of Saint Isidores by David Thomas Kay is a sweeping historical fantasy fiction novel and the first book in the author's new Circles of Time series. This installment is a 10th-century gem and quite literally includes the same within the glorious scabbard of the titular sword as the Viking era comes to life. The sword falls into the bloodied hands of the Scandinavian warrior Ragnarr from the outstretched hands of a doomed monk. It is both cursed and coveted, the prized bounty that is no talisman, dancing between the superstitions of Norse mythology and Christian lore. War, slavery, pillage, murder, doctrine, and royalty tightly weave through the pages with the sword leading in directions that push a reader swiftly through historically significant realms and some of the most storied rulers—both real and imagined—of the ancient world. “He still found it hard to believe that both their fathers, living on opposite sides of the ocean, and without any knowledge of each other, could have a close association with this sword, once the property of two legendary kings, Harald and Athelstan.”

There is a lot going on in The Sword Of Saint Isidores and author David Thomas Kay forced me to do what some of the best writers have made me do before: take notes. My first experience of having to do homework was at the foot of Bernard Cornwell's Stonehenge...but stay with me here for a moment longer because, I can assure you, this is a very good thing. Both characters and history are rich and this flourishes in Kay's prose. The narrative is as dense as the forests thinned for longboats that make up the bulk of the book's writing format, and require some scribbles to refresh, but with lines that almost sing, it is worth it: “A crack like the sound of snapping bone signaled the end of the oak’s life, as it finally relinquished its hold on the earth.” Readers who adore Viking sagas will find the fantasy element takes us outside the traditional box of the genre. It is difficult to reinvent a wheel [or oar?] that has rolled for eleven centuries but Kay does a great job setting the foundation for what looks like a promising series. Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

The Sword Of Saint Isidores is a work of fiction in the historical, mythological, and adventure subgenres. It was penned for the general adult reading audience by author David Thomas Kay and is set during the age of the Vikings. Filled with epic conflicts, clashes of power, and a dash of romance, we meet several characters drawn together by the gifting of a supposedly-cursed sword from one king to another. As the sword becomes part of the emigration plans of a Viking Jarl named Ragnarr, his protector Wilhelm tries to maintain his Christian faith. But a mysterious woman with psychic gifts brings visions of the future that will surely set them all on the path of adventure.

Author David Thomas Kay has crafted a truly enthralling tale of curses, visions, and strange happenings that is also convincingly rooted into the existing history and mythology of the ancient people of both Great Britain and Norway. Something I especially liked about this work was the sense of place and culture, which is well penned to feel immersive and cinematic as we traverse battlefields, lakes, and fells alike. The balance between the authenticity of trying to create an ancient way of speaking, but also not making it too unintelligible for modern audiences, was well balanced and made the characters feel more fully realized whilst also moving the plot forward in a natural way. I also thought the ending was a really epic moment that I’ll not soon forget! Overall, I would certainly recommend The Sword Of Saint Isidores to any reader who wants a new fantasy/mythological tale to enjoy.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

The Vikings were a powerful, much-feared force in the Middle Ages. They fought without fear and traveled the seas to distant lands, pillaging and plundering as they went, and, as in the case of North America, establishing settlements before any other European set foot on the land. They had their beliefs, their mythology, their romances, and mysteries, and when an invading Norseman (Viking) plunders the Monastery of Saint Isidores, kills, and steals a precious jeweled sword forged at the monastery for a royal wedding gift, little does he know that the last words spoken by the dying Abbot Joseph were actually words of a curse that would follow the sword and haunts its owners through a series of events that will shape the future.

David Thomas Kay’s historical fiction novel, The Sword of Saint Isidores, is a powerful tale that includes legendary battles, Nordic myths, romance, mystery and the fantastical power of a cursed but beautiful sword. Told as a Nordic myth should be told, with the infinite power of storytelling, the author has woven a plot full of plausible adventures within the historical realm of the Viking legends. The descriptive narrative sets the scene well within the historical expectations of the era being presented. The reader instantly feels a part of this enticing tale, which is made even more realistic with the author’s gift of creating realistic dialogue, character development, and even a dash of humor here and there. The plot is forward moving and the reader won’t be able to put this book down. Like Sharon Kay Penman and other classic historical fiction authors, this is a compelling story of history, romance, myths and legends and so much more. Complete with lists of fictional and historical figures, myths and Nordic gods, maps, Runic symbols and family trees, the author has provided in-depth detail to help the reader follow this engaging and fascinating saga. A great read.

Asher Syed

A cursed sword is taken by a tenth-century Viking named Thorgil and the act sets the plot of the speculative historical fiction novel The Sword Of Saint Isidores, book one in the Circles of Time series by David Thomas Kay, into motion. It is among the last plunders in a string of raids by the Vikings and it changes hands as the stories of the men who have kept it, and those who have been kept by them, are told in rolling vignettes. From the points of view of Vikings, kings of both Scandinavia and England, men of the cloth and slaves, the spinning of tales and the impact of the cursed, jeweled sword is narrated with profound detail through voices and legends of the past. "The sword was a gift to my father King Harald by my late foster father King Athelstan. It was then gifted to the great warrior Hauk the Red as a reward for his bravery.”

The Sword Of Saint Isidores by David Thomas Kay is reminiscent in some ways of the much-praised screenplay The Red Violin, written by playwright Don McKellar. There are many characters that own the sword but the reality is that the sword owns them. Even with the likes of significant historical giants such as Ragnarr, King Harald, and Althestan moving the plot forward, it is the sword itself that is the main character. The monk Alphonso, who is as conflicted a man as any in literary fiction, edges the rest out ever so slightly with page time and is beautifully developed. Ragnarr was easy to distinguish and thanks to the rise in popularity of Viking history, a lot of the chieftains, jarls, kings, and aristocracy are familiar. This is a good book with the potential for many spin-offs, and a strong foundation for the Circles of Time series to come.

Grant Leishman

The Sword of Saint Isidores by David Thomas Kay takes readers back in time on a journey that resonates with Norse lore, vicious battles, rape, pillage, dark magic, and the mythology of the era of the great Viking raids on Britain and Europe. A special sword fashioned by the monks of Saint Isidores, which would be presented to Prince Ramiro on his wedding day, was captured as part of a Viking raid on the monastery. In his dying words the Abbot, who had delved into black magic, curses the sword and all who hold onto it. Ultimately the sword ends up in the hands of the English King Athelstan who, realizing it is probably cursed, decides to give it to the Norwegian King Harald Fairhair. Athelstan is a Christian and desirous of convincing King Fairhair and the Norwegians that they should convert to Christianity and leave their pagan gods behind. When the sword ends up in the possession of Ragnarr the Long, the Viking Jarl of Hordaland, he is determined to take the sword with him to the Lake District in England, where he plans to emigrate. Throw a psychic woman and a wayward monk into this already potent mix and you have all the ingredients for an absolutely thrilling and exciting adventure that will capture readers’ hearts.

The Sword of Saint Isidores is built around the mysterious cursed sword but what author David Thomas Kay has done so expertly with this story is to create a world of incredibly diverse characters that give the reader an insight into the brutality and mysticism of tenth-century Europe and specifically Britain and Scandinavia. What I particularly enjoyed was the clash of cultures and religions that forms the basis of this entire story. The competition between the twin threads of Christianity and Norse lore to capture the hearts and minds of the Scandinavians was fascinating and beautifully crafted. The action is fast, furious, and naturally extremely brutal, as were the times being recounted. The author’s intensely descriptive prose flows seamlessly from one location to another and carries the reader along with clarity and ease. The characters are all well-developed and one can feel the immense pull of the Norse mythology and lore underlying the actions and motivations of the principal actors in this drama. If one thing marks this tale apart from others in its genre, that factor is tension. The author has achieved the feat of keeping his readers constantly on the edge of their seats and turning pages relentlessly to see what happens next. This is a triumph of a Viking drama that perfectly sets the scene for the next iteration of this adventure. I can highly recommend this read.