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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 (754 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

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

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
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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80 of 99 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.
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21 of 26 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 hour ago by Maria Rodriguez
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down. Bought Book #2 as soon ...
Couldn't put it down. Bought Book #2 as soon as i finished.
Published 1 day ago by Lana Blaisdell
5.0 out of 5 stars what a story!
I hope the next book has this fast paced, scene changing, interesting story. The loser and the perfect man who will be in book two? Which man will be the one? Read more
Published 1 day ago by Le
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good fiction-fantasy! I would recommend!
Very enjoyable! I have been reading fantasy novels for about 35 years now and this is up there with some of the best that I have read. Very interesting plot! Read more
Published 2 days ago by John Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent story line!! I couldn't stop reading it.
Published 2 days ago by C. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars A spellbinding series
It has been years since I have read a book with so much action and passion . I could not stop reading until I was finished with all three books in this series.AWESOME ..!
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good read. lots of adventure and action well withing the christian faith.
Published 4 days ago by docafter5
5.0 out of 5 stars t couldn't put it down
This is the best book I've read in some time. The story was not predictable, the characters were well drawn. It was a great read. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Cindy M. Hauser
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Fast paced, thoroughly enjoyable read. My first fantasy novel and I really look forward to reading the second book soon.
Published 4 days ago by Dog Lover
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 9 days ago by Frieda Stone
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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
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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