The Kingdom of the Rings


By Duane R. Lindberg

Throughout the centuries, three mysterious golden rings make their way from the Coptic Church in Egypt to Norway in the 13th century and finally to modern-day America. What powerful secrets do they hold? Who carries those rings and why? What is to become of them? 

The Saga follows each of the rings through historic events in Europe and the Near East until they are carried by families from Norway and from Egypt by way of Germany in the great wave of immigration to the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The story is steeped in history with actual historical settings and events spanning several centuries. This is a story of the passing and receiving of the Christian faith from immigrant ancestors and how the second coming of Christ was for them, and continues to be for us, an ever present hope throughout the centuries.

Share in the adventure with Scandinavian, German, and Near Eastern immigrant pioneers who settled the American frontier and built her cities. Their stories are a profound segment of the American saga.

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Product Description

Combining the best of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth, and Moberg’s The Emigrants, Lindberg’s saga spans nearly a millennium beginning with the last of the Crusades, on through the nineteenth-century Norse immigrants to America, their cultural acclimatization to America, and their struggle to maintain their faith in an increasingly hostile climate of the twentieth century. A connecting thread throughout the saga is the set of three interlocking golden rings, part of the treasure given to the Christ child by the Magi. (From the Foreword)

John A. Eidsmoe, Colonel (MS), Mississippi State Guard; Senior Counsel, Foundation for Moral Law; Pastor, Association of Free Lutheran Congregations; Author, Christianity and the Constitution, and The Historical and Theological Foundations of Law (3 Vols.)

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Praise for The Kingdom of the Rings

Duane Lindberg’s The Kingdom of the Rings is a powerful saga that takes the reader through many centuries and across the Atlantic. It reminds us that there are not two separate worlds, Europe and America. The author employs the symbolism of the three rings to capture our imagination as they are passed from generation to generation. We recognize individuals who are similar to our relatives and friends. One feels their joys and sorrows as their lives become links in a chain of spiritual continuity.

Dr. David Noble, Professor Emeritus, History and American Studies, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

The Kingdom of the Rings is a brilliant story, tracing back to the Middle East and linked to Norway before ending in America. The Norway part of this fascinating story is from the time of the late Middle Ages, and very much related to Ringsaker area in Hedmark County, east of Lake Mjøsa and Ringerike County, west of Lake Mjøsa. The author, Duane R. Lindberg, PhD, reveals a very good knowledge and insight regarding society and church of the time, and how faith and life traditions in Norway came to expression in everyday life and dreams.

As the current Pastor of Ringsaker Church, erected ca. AD 1150, I am impressed with the story presented in this book, inspired by the entire concept, and moved by how emigrants from Norway with faith and courage might have left their homeland and finally found a new home “over there.” I also read this book as a creative portrayal which illustrates how Christian faith and hope might influence. This book has my best recommendations.

Ole Amund Gillebo, Pastor, Ringsaker, Norway

In The Kingdom of the Rings, the author combines the necessary ingredients in any good book: innovation, mystery, challenged characters, sweeping history, drama, insightful observations, plus twists and turns, all these as he spins with control the saga of the rings and then craftily reveals the outcome as the rings are nearly rejoined. As he moves through generations of Scandinavian immigrants, he challenges the standard concept of the American Melting Pot and convincingly replaces it with the “Field of Rings.” One does not have to be Norwegian to appreciate this book.

Dr. Art Lee, Professor Emeritus, History Department, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN

Author Lindberg has blended a fascinating tale of religious lore with snapshots of the Norwegian immigrant experience in America. It is a good story in and of itself, but should have special interest to persons interested in their Scandinavian affiliation.

Dennis Sorheim, Past International President, Sons of Norway

Duane Lindberg’s saga The Kingdom of the Rings is a story of expectation and hope. First, he sets the foundation of the story: the three rings. Then we see the three rings separated and how they are passed from generation to generation and how they affect those who possess them. Next, we move forward to the great migration to America, especially the Norwegians. Lastly, all three rings are in America, two in the possession of Norwegian families, and one with a family descended from the Egyptian Mamelukes. Do the rings come together? Almost. Along the way, the narrative reveals a depth of the author’s scholarship, compassion, and theological background. His characters are real and exhibit their expectation and hope. The Kingdom of The Rings will cause us to reflect upon the expectation and hope that we have for our lives, just as the characters in the saga.

Jon Tehven, Secretary, Sons of Norway, International

From back in Viking times, freedom has been a central issue in Norwegian history (I write of this in my novel West Oversea, published by Nordskog). The three elements in keeping liberty in balance are freedom, order, and the Word of God forming the central point of equilibrium. Dr. Duane Lindberg echoes this in his book. The Kingdom of The Rings reminds us that the Kingdom of God is among us, and is a mystery, and is revealed as determined by the Ruler of all things.

Lars Walker, Librarian, Association of Free Lutheran Congregations’ Schools, Plymouth, Minnesota; Author of West Oversea and other novels; Graduate student, Norwegian translator, and Viking re-enactor

In The Kingdom of the Rings Duane Lindberg combines his lifelong interests and studies in an intriguing combination of mystery, history, and theology. From his work as a leader of the Lutheran Student Association at the University of North Dakota, to organizing and leading a fledgling church body, he has always pushed the boundaries of imagination. From Minnesota across North Dakota, as a pastor he observed the results of the Norwegian immigrants’ community building as well as their theological struggles. So much in this book is familiar to me -from the “Melting Pot” in America to Hadeland, west of Lake Mjøsa in Norway, where ancient pilgrims, and I, have traveled. In all aspects, Duane is Right On.

Dean Sorum, Moorhead, Minnesota; Former Treasurer, Hadeland Lag of America

In his book, The Kingdom of the Rings, Dr. Lindberg has skillfully entwined together three areas dear to his heart: his love of the promise of Christ’s return, his love for the Church, and his love for his Norwegian heritage.

As a former colleague in church leadership with Dr. Lindberg and friend for twenty-five plus years, I highly recommend this book for enjoyment and encouragement to believe in the Promise of Christ’s coming again.

Rev. Robert M. Dennis, (Retired); Chairman, Clergy Commission, The American Association of Lutheran Churches; Assistant Presiding Pastor, The AALC 1991–1995

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Additional Information

Weight18.8 oz
Dimensions6 × 9 × .7 in
Format Choice

Hardcover (248 pages), Paperback (248 pages), eBook (epub), eBook (pdf)

In addition to his fifty years of pastoral ministry, Rev. Lindberg has served as the Presiding Pastor (Bishop) of the American Association of Lutheran Churches from 1987 until his retirement in 1999. As Presiding Pastor, he was instrumental in founding the American Lutheran Theological Seminary and served as adjunct professor in areas of church history and systematics. He also taught medieval history at Upper Iowa University.

Duane and his wife Mardell reside in Waterloo, Iowa. They are blessed with five children and eleven grandchildren. In their retirement, the Lindbergs are active in their church and the American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC). They volunteer in their community through the Sons of Norway, Rotary, and Valley Lutheran School. They are encouraging their grandchildren in their commitment to their faith and in many activities, including academics, sports, music, and the study of the Norwegian language and culture.

A word of thanks for The Kingdom of the Rings from His Majesty King Harold of Norway—

Rev. Dr. Duane Lindberg
The American Association of Lutheran Churches
2308 South Hill Dr
Waterloo, IA 50701-5047

Dear Dr. Lindberg,

H.M. The King has asked me to thank you for the book The Kingdom of the Rings which His Majesty was very pleased to receive on the occasion of his 25th anniversary of accession to the throne.

Yours sincerely,

Knut Brakstad
Private Secretary to His Majesty The King

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1 review for The Kingdom of the Rings

  1. Sada Reed

    What begins in Middle-Age Egypt develops into a timeless saga, with memorable heroes whose dependence on faith and fortitude make them not just admirable, but relatable.

    The Kingdom of the Rings (2014), by Duane R. Lindberg. Ph.D., follows the journey of three rings and the people who come to bear them. The story is written in the format of a saga, or the ancient Icelandic form of storytelling that combines myth and history, or fictionalized storytelling, to accommodate actual events. The reader follows each ring bearer from the 13th century through World War I, and the historical events and spiritual dilemmas they overcome.

    The story begins in the 13th century with Marcarjius of Alexandria, “the scion of a wealthy and prominent Coptic Christian family.” Marcarius‘s mission is to deliver a treasure to the Syrian Orthodox Church in Antioch. But this isn’t just any treasure. It is a treasure that “tradition claimed contained the gold that the Magi brought-to the Christ child.” The three rings in this story were forged from this sacred gold.

    Each ring, like their bearers, has its own story and identity. The first ring has an inscription, “AHURO,” which means God, or, Lord of All. In the second ring the word “ASHEM,” or “The Incarnation of Truth,” is inscribed. The third ring bears the inscription, “MAZDAO,” which means Wisdom, or Spirit of Wisdom. Besides their consecrated origins, these rings also represent the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and their symbolic representation of this larger doctrine of faith is apparent throughout the text. Each new ring keeper solemnly holds their respective ring’s meaning a secret until “the time is right” for the rings to be reunited. But each ring bearer wrestles with this concept, wondering when and how they will know when this destined time is to come. The author makes a connection between the ring bearers’ anticipation and Christians’ anticipation of Jesus Christ’s return.

    The book is clearly well researched. As stated earlier, the obstacles through which characters carry themselves and the rings were based on actual historic events. The 217-page text includes maps, timelines, and a discussion guide, which encourages the reader to take a deeper dive into the material. The author’s faith and expertise is also evident. Lindberg is a retired Bishop of the American Association of Lutheran Churches and has a Doctorate of Divinity and a doctorate in American Studies.

    Lindberg has put together an approachable, enjoyable read that flows easily. It is similar to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (1954) in that the characters are on a quest. Unlike Frodo and his companions, however, this quest is not to be completed in one lifetime – and the rings are not evil. The story does, however, appeal to a wide audience: immigrants, descendants of immigrants, history lovers, and anyone seeking a faith-based quest will enjoy this read.

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