Title: A Cast of Stones
Series: The Staff & the Sword #1
Author: Patrick Carr
Published: 1st February 2013 by Bethany House Publishers
Source: Copy from the author for an honest review
In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.
I love fantasy. I always have and I don't see myself getting over it anytime soon. A Cast of Stones is one of the best fantasy books I've read in a while and I loved the journey it took me on.
The story followed Errol Stone, a young drunkard with no skills whatsoever but for an unforeseen talent that sends him on epic journey. I've never seen the appeal of drinking and so while I liked Errol, in the beginning I thought he was a bit lacking in character - I was so wrong. You didn't get to see his full character in the beginning, it was hidden away under his ale, but as he begins to sort himself out, all these amazing characteristics reveal themselves and I ended up loving Errol; flaws and all.
I was hooked from the first page. I fell in love with the writing, the style and the way the words flowed. The story also grabbed from the beginning, it was exciting and adventurous and deep, and I couldn't stop reading!
All fantasy novels had world building in them and the extent to which the author goes really shows in the book. Patrick Carr's world building was fantastic. I loved the different histories and peoples and factions and magical doo-dahs. I made a real connection with the world and was very happy with how everything fit together, I was quite sad to be returned to this reality.
The character growth was wonderful and I loved how real everyone was. People were selfish and greedy and ready to sacrifice others for their beliefs, good and bad. I don't think you could find much about this book I didn't like and if you're a reader of fantasy - I'd move this book high up your to-read list! Errol took me on an emotional, action-packed, magical journey and I can't wait to read more!
This is probably one of my favorite excerpts from the entire series. It was so much fun to write.
Holding the lot so that it caught the light, he turned it slowly searching, marveling again at how a person could craft something so uniformly perfect. His mind wandered, meandered paths of random memories until he forgot Luis’ instructions.
Then, for the briefest instant he thought he saw something different in the stone, a subtle alteration in the way it reflected the light. He stopped, rotated the stone the barest amount. There. Letters.
“There’s writing here.”
Cruk gave a low whistle. “By the three, I would never have believed it. What does it say, boy?”
Errol shrugged. “I don’t know. I never learned how to read.”
Luis pushed a piece of parchment and a charcoal stick across the table. “Take the glove off your right hand and copy the letters as best you can, one at a time.”
Errol gripped the stick in his fist with one hand even as he held the stone in the other and wrote each letter in thick, clumsy strokes. It proved harder than he thought it would be. Twice he got one of the letters backward and had to scratch it out and rewrite it. At last, he lay down the stick and surrendered the stone back to Luis.
Cruk thrust his face over Errol’s shoulder to read the heavy scrawl. “Goff,” Cruk said. “It says Goff.”
Errol knew him, the eccentric thatcher who roofed the houses here in Callowford and Berea. He talked to himself a lot.
Luis unfolded the parchment in front of him and turned it over. The same name lay written in a neat hand on it.
Cruk whistled again. “Him? The boy?”
Errol caught Luis’ gaze and there was something of sadness in it.
Luis straightened in his chair and raised his hands. “In front of these two witnesses I, Luis Montari, declare that Errol Stone of the village of Callowford possesses the gift of sight. More, I adjure you, Errol Stone, to present yourself to the primus at the conclave of readers in Erinon.” He lowered his hands. Errol felt a sudden chill, as if someone had uncovered him in his sleep.
Martin’s sharp intake of breath drew his attention and he turned to find the priest glaring at his friend, his face white. Luis held that gaze for a heartbeat, two, before he looked away. “It cannot be undone.”
Then Martin spoke, his voice low. “I’m sorry, Errol. You belong to the Church now.”
AUTHOR BIO - Patrick Carr
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.
Awards: ACFW Genesis Competition 2010 Finalist for “A Cast of Stones” in Speculative Fiction.
Grand Prize (USA & Canada): Print copy of entire series of three books (#2 & #3 as they are published) + A Cast of Stones Mug + Lend your name to a character in book #3!!
2nd Prize (USA & Canada): Print copy of A Cast of Stones
International Entries: eCopy of A Cast of Stones
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