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A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword Book #1) by [Carr, Patrick W.]
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A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword Book #1) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,058 customer reviews

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Length: 433 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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."--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... A 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

  • File Size: 2009 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,986 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wolfe Moffat on March 26, 2013
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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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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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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