A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1   -     By: Patrick W. Carr
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A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1

Bethany House / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

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.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0764210432
ISBN-13: 9780764210433
Availability: In Stock
Series: Staff and the Sword

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Publisher's Description

2014 Carol Award Winner for Speculative

The Fate of the Kingdom Awaits the Cast of Stones

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.


"With an engaging, imaginative world that bristles with danger, characters that keep you guessing, and a story that sticks with you, A Cast of Stones will keep you devouring pages until the very end. I highly recommend it!" --John W. Otte, author of Failstate

"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." -Publishers Weekly

This fast-paced fantasy debut set in a medieval world is a winner. Both main and secondary characters are fully drawn and endearing, and Errol's transformation from drunkard to hero is well plotted. Carr is a promising CF author to watch. Fans of epic Christian fantasies will enjoy discovering a new voice.

"Like the preceding series title, Inescapable, this tale of suspense offers a colorful cast of characters, small-town drama, and a hint of romance. A sure bet for fans of Hannah Alexander." --Library Journal

"[Good fantasy books] have to be excellent. Good storytelling and exceptional characters with circumstances that are easy enough to follow and wrap your brain around but keep you entertained and guessing... Cast of Stones has found itself firmly in that list of books. I absolutely, one hundred percent loved this book." --Radiant Lit

Author Bio

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 www.patrickwcarr.com.

Publishers Weekly

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. (Feb.) 2012 Reed Business Information

Product Reviews

4.5 Stars Out Of 5
4.5 out of 5
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(10)
(2)
(1)
(0)
Quality:
4.8 out Of 5
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Value:
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Meets Expectations:
4.7 out Of 5
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92%
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  1. Sweetwater, TN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Fantastic
    August 27, 2014
    achildofgod2008
    Sweetwater, TN
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A magnificent read that captures the imagination and draws you right into the life of Errol.
  2. Tallahassee, Florida
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good Message
    August 22, 2014
    smithgg
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    This book was different than what I expected but it was a good read. The message it delivered was good.
  3. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    Unpolished
    July 29, 2014
    Michelle R. Wood
    Too many fantasy books rely on the same tired tropes to get their story across. Author Patrick Carr avoids that trap admirably by creating a world of bold ideas and characters. Yet poor plotting and writing mar an otherwise worthy premise, leading to a rough story needing just that bit more polish to rate as high as it aims.

    There were plenty of twists built into a fairly linear story, but these came across as jarring rather than inventive. Character reveals and plot devices sometimes came out of nowhere and serve more to drag the story than help it progress. Also, the action zagged in ways that continually restructured the plot. At first it started as a fairly standard quest to save kingdom, yet this band is quickly broken and we don't reunite with some of the characters until the very end of the book. The ensuing subplot was far more engaging, but came to an abrupt end without resolution once the A plot resumed. The big reveal for one of the first mysteries introduced left me underwhelmed, wondering why it was such a secret to begin with.

    The uneven plot might have been forgiven had the writing presented more flourish. It's passable prose on the whole, simply written, but prone to an overabundance of adjectives and adverbs. Little of the description is of interest or exists for a true narrative purpose. Knowing the color of every secondary character's hair, eyes, and/or clothes serves little purpose but to fill pages.

    Errol himself is a surprising protagonist, and the author doesn't flinch in portraying the struggles an admitted drunkard must endure merely to survive. His personal journey is the far more interesting story and provides its main source of charm as he grows into a plucky, resourceful character with quite the unique set of skills. The other characters, while not given nearly as much time for development, were nevertheless well conceived and executed. However, the lead villain was introduced far too late for me to have any dread of him, weakening the final climax and diluting the stakes established by previous battles.

    I rather liked the concept of a triplet theopolitical structure, with the monarchy, the church, and a third institution imitating the three persons of the divine Trinity, with all the ensuing politics such a world might develop. Unfortunately this motif only became clear in the latter third of the book, robbing the story of much of its meaning. It nonetheless gives me high hopes for the sequel.

    Its heart is certainly in the right place, and by the end I felt the book had finally settled into the story it wanted to be. Would that it had known the same from the start to make a truly great read. As it is, the book's mildly entertaining journey lacks the emotional payoff needed to make it truly worth the trip.
  4. Peabody,Ma
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    March 10, 2014
    dcsewer
    Peabody,Ma
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book was fabulous, great for "Men" and women, I had to get the next book which is just as riveting.
  5. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    Solid writing, but I don't trust his theology.
    March 2, 2014
    Ember
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 2
    Patrick Carr has created a magnificent storyworld in A Cast of Stones. His characters too are diverse and realistic. The hero experiences a great deal of growth throughout the novel and the plot rarely slows. I will read the sequels if my library does get the next two in.

    But I did have a problem with the casting of the lots. Now, I do l know of the lot casting in the old testament to determine the will of God, but what is done in this world looks a lot more like divination to me, which is highly forbidden. The characters making the lots don't focus themselves on God or his will when crafting, frankly I can hardly see where he enters the casting at all. And if God were controlling the lots, shouldn't the cast always be right the first time as God is always right? But instead the casters have to cast dozens of times to make sure it's correct.

    Doesn't sound like God does it? If it wasn't for this massive issue I would have rated the book much higher. But The Cast of Stones just feels too wrong to be right.
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