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.
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.
You can follow Patrick on FB HERE.
Wow! What a great fantasy novel Patrick W. Carr’s A Cast of Stones is! This is an epic story centered on a most unlikely of characters — an eighteen year old orphan who has spent the last four years of his life in a drunken stupor trying to hide from the failures and hurts of his past. Errol Stone has no one to care for him, save the owner of the local tavern who keeps him supplied with ale and the herb women to whom he sells to keep him in coin for his ale. Life is one long yearning for the next drink. But his life soon takes a momentous turn, and he is thrust along a path to find his destiny. Finding himself hunted, Errol has no choice but to follow along with priest Martin, reader of lots Luis, soldier Cruk and Liam, a boy he has grown up with who is perfect in every way including his goodness and humility. The kingdom of Illustra needs them, and Errol is dragged along to do his part, although he cannot imagine what that part could be.
Carr has created a wonderful character in Errol. He is alone and broken, searching the features of everyone he meets looking for some common trait to link to his own. He believes what everyone has always told him — he is only good at being a drunk. I loved Errol’s growth from sluggard and drunk to, well, an heroic figure. And it is not an easy road Errol must travel. Pursued, attacked, left for dead, Errol survives only through the mercies of Deas (God).
And while Carr’s medieval world is pure fantasy, there are enough similarities to our own that make the reader feel comfortable in the world he has created. There is a familiarity in the names of people, places and the geography of Illustra and the lands outside its borders.
A Cast of Stones is the first book in The Staff and The Sword series, so there are secrets yet to be uncovered and fates yet to be settled. I am hoping some of the characters Errol met along the way will make a return in the next books. And I am indeed looking forward to reading more of this series.
(I received A Cast of Stones from Bethany House in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)