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Other titles in the Staff & the Sword series:

Staff & the Sword #01: A Cast of Stones

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ISBN13: 9780764210433
ISBN10: 0764210432
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Review:

"Errol's life is an alcoholic scrabble through village tedium until the day a church messenger asks him to convey important letters to Martin, the local hermit, as only Errol has the wilderness skills to reach the priest quickly. When Martin realizes Errol has the gift of sight, the priest and his enigmatic servant, Luis, force Errol to join them on an urgent trip to the church's seat in Erinon, where the king's successor will be chosen. Life is no longer a drunken stupor, but unless Errol embraces his gifts and his calling, it's likely to be brutally short. Carr's debut, the first in a series, is assured and up-tempo, with much to enjoy in characterization and description — not least the homely, life-as-lived details — but the plot is convention-bound, set in a standard white male fantasy world with standard virtues and flaws. Understated Christian elements are somewhat undercut by the church's reliance on assassins and fortune-tellers, but non-Christian fantasy fans will take it all in stride." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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lanehillhouse, April 5, 2013 (view all comments by lanehillhouse)
Friday, April 5, 2013
A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr, ©2013

Travel along as their journey begins ~ or ends somewhere in between. It calls for an extra special gift bestowed upon him, invaluable to the outcome of the quest.

Danger mounts as a dynasty nears its end...
And an unlikely hero embarks on a perilous quest to save his kingdom.
You are in for an adventure!
A New Medieval Fantasy from Patrick Carr ~A Cast of Stones~ The Staff & The Sword series, available in both E-Book and Paperback, 432 pages.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the author's imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

The Fate of the Kingdom Awaits the Cast of Stones
The Staff and The Sword; Book One
In the backwater village of Callowford, roustabout Errol Stone is enlisted by a church messenger arriving with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Eager for coin, Errol agrees to what he thinks will be an easy task, 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 nears its end and the selection of the new king begins--but in secret and shadow. As danger mounts, Errol must leave behind the stains and griefs of the past, learn to fight, and discover who is hunting him and his companions and how far they will go to stop the reading of the stones.

Patrick W. Carr teaches high school math and makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee, with his incredible wife, Mary, and their four awesome sons, Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Learn more at patrickwcarr.com.

An Epic Medieval Fantasy Saga
Errol Stone, the main character in The Staff and the Sword, may seem an unlikely hero at first glance. But, says Carr,

“I believe we all hold within ourselves the capacity, not only for evil, but for great nobility. This theme stretches across all three volumes of the trilogy.”

In A Cast of Stones, Errol is forced to develop new depths when he is thrust into a world of dangerous political intrigue, church machinations, and the unrest surrounding the selection of a new king.
With a successful blending of high action and a spiritual quest, A Cast of Stones is the thrilling tale of an unconventional band of men trying desperately to save their kingdom.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~
As I am almost exclusively a Historical Fiction Reviewer, here we go with a Fantasy ~ new to me!

I am diving in because I have enjoyed reading the promos for this novel. Especially, since I am half-Irish Kathleen and there is a castle on the cover!

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.
--Proverbs 16:33

I am amazed at Errol's prowess in dodging impending doom on all sides. He delivers a letter packet with the messages obliterated before arrival. Being consumed by poison while on the return trail, advancement is stopped only by quick thinking and seeking help where he knows he will find it. He begins to reach out because of physical need and ends being the guide himself to avoid peril on the journey he would never have imagined in his safe narrow world.

Anya ~*~ She smiled, her blue eyes gleaming beneath flaxen hair. She resembled her father the way a beautiful sculpture resembled the slab of marble from which it would be carved.
--A Cast of Stones, 58

Is that beautiful prose or what! Description of an indeed charming Irish lass for sure. Errol has gone ahead of his two traveling companions to secure lodging from the innkeeper, Anya's father. Errol is well-known; his reputation has gone before him. Ale being more important to him than the means to pay. His travelers whisk him away to another sleeping place to remove his imbibing.

Did you notice the mention of assassins following to attack? Errol slimly escaped being killed on his first trip and now on the return road, he doesn't fare much better! Fortunately, for him, he is rescued. He is not certain what his role is; is it the company he is with that is bringing his slow demise?

"Why do I have to go? Why would you even want me to go? I can't ride. I don't know anything about fighting." He waved toward Cruk, who sat in his chair like a giant sack of grain. "Ask him. The only things I know how to do are gather herbs and drink."
--Ibid., 84

Prerequisites, you ask? Or qualifying the qualified?

Daybreak. What had he gotten himself into? Why did people insist on starting journeys before the sun got warm? It couldn't be healthy.
--Ibid., 86

~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Thank you to author Patrick W. Carr for sending a copy of A Cast of Stones ~ The Staff & The Sword series, to review in my own words. The development of character is assuredly gripping as the story continues unexpectedly from one realm to another of the kingdom ~ facing truth ~ facing victory. Your attention and interest will be held and ready for The Hero's Lot.

The Staff and The Sword; Book Two
The Hero's Lot
Available July 2013
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Emma Engel, February 3, 2013 (view all comments by Emma Engel)
One of the best things about running a book review site is when you get to read a book early and help promote its release. One of the books I’ve been looking forward to sharing about is A Cast of Stones. Releasing today, this book is one that rocketed higher and higher up my rating scale as I read, quickly becoming a book I would consider vital to a list of fantasy must reads.

Errol Stone’s journey is one of the best coming of age stories fantasy has to offer. Even though he is barely old enough to become a man, Errol’s fame is his ability to stay permanently drunk. Yet when he reveals a latent talent for reading lots to a local priest, a new path is chosen for Errol when a compulsion is laid on him. His only options are to present himself to the head of the Church or die…and there suddenly seem to be plenty of people happy to help him with the later. Separated from the tavern, the physical challenge of becoming sober Errol faces is nothing compared to facing the memories that drove him to drink in the first place. And the world he wakes up to is far more complex and deadly than the one he left behind.

What made Errol’s journey exceptional was Mr. Carr’s willingness to take the time necessary to make the transitions believable. All too often in fantasy stories, the protagonist rapidly rises from anonymity to hero, gaining powers and positions too quickly to be realistic. While it is clear at the end of the book that Errol’s life has been radically changed, it came through hard work and a great deal of experience that has been shown to the reader. And it is also clear that A Cast of Stones is the story of Errol being formed as a character, and that the bigger story has barely begun.

The book also managed to not fall into one of my pet peeves: deliberately trying to be too Christian or too secular in an attempt to please one audience or the other. Rather, Mr. Carr wrote this particular story the best he could and allowed whatever elements were necessary. Errol’s drunkenness certainly isn’t something Christians are comfortable with, but the portrayal of a very powerful but righteous Church isn’t something many secular authors would include. And all elements are there to serve the story rather than a check list. To be fair, I understand why so many books go this route, and I still love them, but it is something I tend to notice and be distracted by while reading. I prefer stories that can stand on their own without an agenda, and A Cast of Stones was certainly one of the best.

A Cast of Stones beautifully weaves so many well loved themes and tropes together in a completely new pattern that there is a profound sense of “at home” even as the reader races through the pages, anxious to see what is coming next. However, be warned! The action comes to an abrupt (though admittedly pleasing) halt and the suspense for the next book begins. I know I’ll have Book 2’s release date marked on my calendar.


Reblogged from my site: www.myrdan.com
My thanks to Bethany House for providing me a review copy of A Cast of Stones via NetGalley, in return for my honest opinion of this book.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780764210433
Author:
Carr, Patrick W
Publisher:
Bethany House Publishers
Author:
Carr, Patrick W.
Subject:
Religion Western-Religious Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Fantasy
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Religion » Christianity » Christian Fiction
Religion » Western Religions » Religious Fiction

Staff & the Sword #01: A Cast of Stones Sale Trade Paper
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Product details pages Bethany House Publishers - English 9780764210433 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Errol's life is an alcoholic scrabble through village tedium until the day a church messenger asks him to convey important letters to Martin, the local hermit, as only Errol has the wilderness skills to reach the priest quickly. When Martin realizes Errol has the gift of sight, the priest and his enigmatic servant, Luis, force Errol to join them on an urgent trip to the church's seat in Erinon, where the king's successor will be chosen. Life is no longer a drunken stupor, but unless Errol embraces his gifts and his calling, it's likely to be brutally short. Carr's debut, the first in a series, is assured and up-tempo, with much to enjoy in characterization and description — not least the homely, life-as-lived details — but the plot is convention-bound, set in a standard white male fantasy world with standard virtues and flaws. Understated Christian elements are somewhat undercut by the church's reliance on assassins and fortune-tellers, but non-Christian fantasy fans will take it all in stride." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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