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A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword Book #1) [Kindle Edition]

Patrick W. Carr
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (818 customer reviews)

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Book 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

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series


  • Editorial Reviews

    From the Back Cover

    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

    About the Author

    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.

    Product Details

    • File Size: 1397 KB
    • Print Length: 433 pages
    • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B00AHY0RLQ
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,015 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    4.6 out of 5 stars
    (818)
    4.6 out of 5 stars
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    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Paperback
    When it comes to fiction, especially in the realm of Fantasy, I think that it isn't always the easiest to come by. Marcher Lord Press produces some of the best, while seasoned writers such as George R.R. Martin continue to make impressive marks, always impressing readers. I was quite intrigued to see that there was a new man in town by the name of Patrick W. Carr. But I wondered if he would be impressive. Well, he's impressed the likes of Jill Williamson and John Otte, 2 Marcher Lord Press masterminds praise this man's work, and I was extremely eager to see what Carr had to offer. I wasn't disappointed in the least!

    Stumbling drunk, barely able to function, is how we meet the boy, Errol Stone, as he is kicked out of a tavern. Not the most of impressive introductions, is it? Well, Errol probably doesn't think himself so impressive either. But he is sent on a mission, with the promise of payment, as long as he delivers a message to a priest, because he knows how to reach this priest, and he's proved that he's rather quick through the woods and paths. It isn't too long before Errol finds himself being followed, hunted, and wanted. Why? The answer is soon discovered!

    This boy, who doubts his own self-worth, discovers talents that he never knew existed, and from those talents, royalty will be addressed. Errol quickly learns how to fight, and while easily challenged, never forgotten by those who oppose him. And with the ability to exceed all expectations, it seems that this boy, who only in the beginning, wanted a drink, is learning a thing or two about himself.

    This past Summer, I happened to read "The Word and the Void" trilogy by Terry Brooks, and as experienced as Brooks may be, he isn't nearly as impressive as Patrick W. Carr.
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    89 of 110 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I was intrigued to read a medieval fantasy story written for the Christian market. It was the author's first novel so I cut him some slack when some elements of the story didn't line up.

    I've read a lot of fantasy fiction, some of the best. The story line was good. I appreciate that the author stayed with a single point of view throughout. That provided continuity to the story since it had so many sub-plots in the developmental stage. It kept it less confusing that way. You also got a glimpse into the "coming of age" part of growth in the main character. I actually enjoyed reading most of the book.

    However, I WILL NOT read anymore from this series or probably even this author: When you write a trilogy, you do not stop the book in the MIDDLE of the climatic scene and then pretend it didn't happen! I have never felt such a shock of being dropped in a bucket of ice water as I did when I finished chapter 31 and started chapter 32. It was AWFUL!!! This is not the way a trilogy of books is written. You finish the primary story line well so that your readers are satisfied ... and then you leave enough open doors of possibility that make your reader what to know what happens next. You had plenty of open doors to use - and you touched on them in chapter 32 and the epilogue. BUT PLEASE - DO NOT EVER STOP THE STORY IN SUCH A SHOCKING WAY. It is painful and disappointing. It is not building the tension - it is the opposite of that. I actually double checked the Table of Contents in my Kindle app TWICE to make sure I hadn't missed a chapter - it was that bad.

    Bethany House - I hold you responsible for this. Your editors should know better - that's their job. Perhaps the deadlines were so tight that mistakes were made ... I don't know. But this leaves a really BAD aftertaste and a black mark on the emerging fantasy fiction arising from the Christian market. It had such potential. I hope you do better and learn from this mistakes. I wish you well.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars A fun ride, but ultimately forgettable March 9, 2014
    Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
    I will say that I enjoyed this novel and the series as a whole while I read them, but they are altogether too cookie-cutter to stay with me. The characters develop as one would expect fantasy characters to develop, the plot proceeds as one would expect the plot to proceed, the twists are the twists that I expected, etc, etc. The book is simply too predictable. I finished the series a week ago, and already I can barely remember what it was about.

    The author creates an interesting world and it seems as if he attempted to make interesting characters, but while the characters are mostly flawed and not entirely stereotypical, they are non-stereotypical in stereotypical ways. For instance, the "princess" character takes an interest to swordfighting, and the "priest" character is pretty fond of his food. Somehow, the author's characters manage to be both stereotypical and non-stereotypical at once, fulfilling modern fantasy tropes, if not traditional ones.

    I should say that I'm an atheist, and never once was I offended by the supposed "Christian" nature of the novel. The book does deal heavily with faith, but it never seemed preachy. However, the author does seem overly invested in minutiae of theological debate, as with the nature of the deity Aurae, which is evidently a major plot point, but one whose purpose I pretty much missed.

    Lastly, while the author's writings style is generally strong, it really started annoying me halfway through the third book. Let's just say that the author's characters are really really emotional. Tears are shed, jaws are dropped, hearts are fluttered, by many, very often, repeatedly.

    All in all, I did enjoy the books. They were fun while they lasted. But these are not great works of literature. They will not surprise you, they will not move you, and they will not stay with you. This is a 10 dollar bottle of wine type of book, neither cheap/bad nor worth savoring.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    3.0 out of 5 stars Great job!!
    Kept my attention through to the end. Underdog becomes hero - love that! Would prefer the ending to be more conclusive rather than a cliff hanger, even if there is a Book 2, 3,... Read more
    Published 1 day ago by B M
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
    The journey of the main character's fight with alcoholism gives a depth that few can ever accomplish. It is an inspiring tale
    Published 5 days ago by jarrod cotton
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Cast of Stones
    I loved this book so well I reread it. The action was intense and the character of Errol deeply touching. Read more
    Published 5 days ago by barbara bretana
    5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
    Kept me in suspense. I look forward to the next one. I loved how he introduces details slowly... Very creative.
    Published 9 days ago by Ataa A. Addo
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Best read in quite a while. Can't wait to start the next book.
    Published 12 days ago by flowerlady
    4.0 out of 5 stars Good first novel
    I read a lot of fantasy novels and this one is worth reading. The author came up with a new concept for divining something. I couldn't put the story down.
    Published 29 days ago by Mary-Denise Giesing
    5.0 out of 5 stars Building with Living Stones- Excellent Story of Personal Growth
    Immediately after finishing this book, I turned back to the beginning and started it again. And I must say, I enjoyed it as much the second time around as I did the first. Read more
    Published 29 days ago by Nikki
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for ALL readers ... You'll definitely enjoy it as much as I.
    Excellent book, I recommend it to anyone who like an adventure with a character who pulls you into the story. Great plot with well rounded characters.
    Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
    5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it so much I got the next 2 before ...
    Loved it so much I got the next 2 before I was done! Very well written, wonderful characters that weave their way into your mind and heart.
    Published 1 month ago by KFitz
    5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, epic fantasy
    This is an amazing read. It's exactly the sort of fantasy I like -- epic in scope, complex plots, interesting characters, and a fully developed milieu. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by John R Phythyon Jr
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    More About the Author

    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.

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    Is this book appropriate for tweens & younger kids?
    It depends upon how mature your children are and the type of books they like to read. I think it is still free. You may want to get it and see what you think of it. I keep looking for books for my 11 and 14 year old grandkids. They liked The Wormling Series and Estrel: The Rise of Mount... Read More
    Aug 5, 2013 by sidebruoxie |  See all 5 posts
    Very religious based?
    I'm an atheist and thoroughly enjoyed the book. "Religion" in one form or another appears in many fictional books whether fantasy or other, and most fantasy is about ancient peoples and let's face it, religion tended to rule their lives to a large extent. Read them and enjoy, they're... Read More
    Jan 14, 2015 by John Moir |  See all 2 posts
    I wish the price was lower.
    It's free now (11/5/13).
    Nov 5, 2013 by Jennifer Lanam |  See all 3 posts
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