Review and Kindle sale: A Cast of Stones, by Patrick W. Carr

March 19, 2013

I recently had the chance to read A Cast of Stones, by Patrick W. Carr, a Christian fantasy novel set that is the first in a trilogy called The Staff and the Sword. This book was published on February 1 by Bethany House.

About this book (from the back cover):

An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love. 

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.”

Final Verdict:

First, let me say that I LOVED this book. I have never read anything that fell under the umbrella of Christian fantasy or sci-fi, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I got the book, I read the excerpt from the back (see above) and was honestly underwhelmed. I thought it sounded less than interesting. Then, I started the book and had to read the first few pages a couple of times, because I kept getting distracted. It really didn’t hold my attention, and in some passages I felt like the author was trying to use big words on purpose when smaller words would have sufficed. But then, like with so many books, once the action began I really got swept away by this book. By the time the two priest characters are introduced, I was hooked, and I finished this book in a matter of hours. So what is Christian fantasy? When I think “fantasy”, I think of things like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books. If you like that series, you’ll like this one. The “Christian” part comes in through a number of references to the Trinity (called by Medieval-sounding names) , the involvement of the Church as an entity that helps rule the kingdom where this book is set, and some hints of spiritual warfare. Nothing over-the-top, and nothing extreme that I would think readers would find offensive.

One of the things I liked about this book is the main character, Errol, who is billed as an unlikely hero who goes from an unknown boy to a very important character over the course of this book. The plot is not different from so many others (see the Wheel of Time books, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.) but this plot is repeated so often because it works. I found myself rooting for Errol, and excited to see what will happen to him in the rest of the books in this series.

The second book in this series is called The Hero’s Lot, and it will be released July 1 of this year; it’s available for pre-order now, and I am planning on reading it. I highly recommend this series!

If you’d like to check out A Cast of Stones it is currently on sale for $9.68 for the Kindle version right now. (Regularly $14.99) If you prefer a hard copy it’s currently on sale for $10.19. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

The featured product for this review was provided to me at no cost by Bethany House. All opinions expressed are my own.

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