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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
The Secret Child by David Thomas Kay is a historical paranormal novel and the third book in the Circles of Time series, preceded by book one, The Sword of Saint Isidores, and book two, The Ring of Mann. Kay's saga is centered around the legacy of a family, both directly descended and extended, through its generations and the three divine heirlooms that are passed down: a silver hammer, a ring, and an amulet. As attached to the family as these artifacts are, so too is the green-eyed chimera that follows wherever they are and whoever's possession they are in. The leaping point is through an American settler named Thomas Johnson who absconds with the treasures, only to make his way back to English soil, and sows the seed that spreads its roots through the next century-plus. From caravans to kitchens to estates to factories and beyond, follow the journey of the three heirlooms and the fate of those who hold them, be it Johnson, Atkinson, Crosthwaite, or a traveler.
You have to be a pretty spectacular history buff in order to appreciate the breadth and scope of David Thomas Kay's wildly ambitious Circles of Time series, and as I wrap up The Secret Child I am once more reminded of what makes historical fiction sing. I am a fan of the paranormal and supernatural and both of these elements are the crux of the entire arc. The characters are possessors of the sacred heirlooms but while they are limited by their own mortality in whichever century and, further on, the decade they live in, the tribulations of a family in continued peril is merely the vehicle that pushes Kay's complex plot. The main characters are the artefacts, and if a reader forgets this then the story will be wasted on them. Kay is not an author who caters to traditional storytelling. He caters to the deepest, darkest imagination, and The Secret Child is the best he's offered up in an already exceptional series.