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Customer Reviews for Bethany House A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1

Bethany House A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1

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.
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32 out of 3494%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
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Customer Reviews for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Review 1 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Solid writing, but I don't trust his theology.

Date:March 2, 2014
Customer Avatar
Ember
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Patrick Carr has created a magnificent storyworld in A Cast of Stones. His characters too are diverse and realistic. The hero experiences a great deal of growth throughout the novel and the plot rarely slows. I will read the sequels if my library does get the next two in.
But I did have a problem with the casting of the lots. Now, I do l know of the lot casting in the old testament to determine the will of God, but what is done in this world looks a lot more like divination to me, which is highly forbidden. The characters making the lots don't focus themselves on God or his will when crafting, frankly I can hardly see where he enters the casting at all. And if God were controlling the lots, shouldn't the cast always be right the first time as God is always right? But instead the casters have to cast dozens of times to make sure it's correct.
Doesn't sound like God does it? If it wasn't for this massive issue I would have rated the book much higher. But The Cast of Stones just feels too wrong to be right.
+3points
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Review 2 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Amazing Masterpiece!

Date:February 19, 2014
Customer Avatar
JohnDeereGirl
Location:Plainfield, Indiana
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Title: A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword book 1)
Author: Patrick W. Carr
My Rating: 5/5
I honestly had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book to read it. What I found was a delightful surprise. With an entirely unique spin to the typical story of kings, adventure, sword fights, and quests, this book grabbed my attention and had me hooked to the very end.
Errol Stone has no idea of the amazing talent and potential that he possesses. He sees himself as almost anyone else does. As a drunk. However, when someone offers to pay him for delivering a message, he quickly accepts, thinking that the money would help him to purchase more ale. What follows this seemingly simple task is an unforgettable, and unpredictable adventure that will change his heart, and his destiny.
I absolutely loved the setting of this book. Carr did an excellent job at painting a vivid picture of Errol’s surroundings that helped me to become much more engaged in the plot. The time and culture in which this story occurs drew me in quickly and easily. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the way in which Errol’s character matures, changes and learns throughout the book. This made him seem so much more real and believable. I soon became very attached to his character, and found myself rejoicing in his victories and grieving over his trials.
My only negative remark in regards to this otherwise wonderful masterpiece would be that at times I felt that particular characters entered and left the story far too quickly, leaving little time for them to truly become developed or contribute much to the plot. I found myself waiting for them to somehow be worked back into the story, thinking that they had left far too abruptly, but they never did. However, this is only the first book in the series, so perhaps Carr plans to reunite the characters in a later book.
Over all, I would say that this creative, engaging and wonderfully written book is one that I would most definitely recommend, and greatly enjoyed!
Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. However, my opinions are my own.
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Review 3 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 10, 2014
Customer Avatar
dcsewer
Location:Peabody,Ma
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book was fabulous, great for "Men" and women, I had to get the next book which is just as riveting.
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Review 4 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great for teen readers

Date:January 10, 2014
Customer Avatar
JoyfulGrandma
Location:Paris, ME
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I bought this for my 16 year old. He read it in a few days and really wants book 2!
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Review 5 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 21, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Errol Stone is good at one thing: drinking himself into oblivion. Having the reputation of the town drunk of Callowford, his one goal in life is making another coin to pay for another night of loose living in the local tavern. Doing any and every odd job for the advancement of his vice, his ears perk up immediately upon the arrival of a nuntius who wishes to deliver letters to a hermit priest who lives in the forest. Despite everyone's doubts, Errol is determined to deliver his messages, collect his other half crown, and spend a week in the tavern nursing his habit.
But along his journey, he meets an assassin that will stop at nothing to take Errol's life. Bewildered and confused, Errol runs as fast and as far as he possibly can. Barely escaping with his life, he stumbles into the home of the hermit priest, Martin and his servant, Luis. Once he recounts his story and tells them the messages were ruined along the way, Martin and Luis begin packing to leave. Stunned at the turn of events and having no other choice but to go along with them, Errol is sucked into the mysterious quest that leaves him with more questions than answers. Compelled into service for the church, Errol has no choice but to go along for the ride. Will he prove himself to be a reader of stones and worthy to cast lots to save the kingdom? Or is he really just the useless drunkard that everyone believes him to be?
I was quite impressed by this novel, simply because whether you like fantasy fiction or not, you're going to love this tale of redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. I've always avoided this genre simply because of the magic, sorcery, superstition, and nonsense that seems to accompany this kind of story. But Carr made this a humorous, believable tale that kept my interest up till the last page. I am anticipating the next installment in the series, and would recommend Carr's first novel to teenagers and adults alike.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 6 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A great book!

Date:December 19, 2013
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Jessica
I am shocked this is Patrick Carr's first book. It was excellent! The story grabbed me right away and never let go.
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Review 7 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

really good book

Date:November 1, 2013
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booklover
Location:Harrisville, NY
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I didn't know what I was really getting when I purchased this book but I'm glad I did. I really liked it. I didn't know that there was another one to go with this one but was looking up the author and found the second one and that there is a third one coming out soon. I've since purchased the second one - Hero's Lot - and can't wait for the third one to come out. The author is really creative in these stories and I found it hard to put them down. Really good story. Love it.
+1point
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Review 8 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

CLASSIC Fantasy!

Date:September 15, 2013
Customer Avatar
Jen Quiverfullfamilycom
Location:Alberta, Canada
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Errol Stone is something of a misfit in the village of Callowford. His fondness for drink the driving force of his life, the only kindness he's shown comes from a reclusive (and somwhat irregular) priest. When a church messenger offers him a rich sum to deliver a message to the afore-mentioned priest, he gladly accepts, only to find himself fleeing for his life and swept into a web of political intrigues as the tme to choose a new King draws near.
I'll admit that I wasn't certain about A Cast of Stones (I often reserve judgement on new series) - I had my discernment antennae up about the reader's art where stones are carved and drawn to determine the truth. However, never fear fellow readers who avoid occultic practices by the good guys! These stones are akin to lots in the Bible, because the king has no successor, the next king must be chosen by casting stones that can only be created and read by those with the ability to do so. The importance of the lack of an heir becomes more pronounced as the book progresses. Not only is this king a political figure, he's also the descendant in a sacrificial line, and vitally important to spiritual shields that stand around the kingdom, providing it with protection from evil forces.
Carr draws a fine line with Errol, he truly is almost completely unlikeable for a good third of this first title in the series. His character development is then truly authentic, slow-paced, and believable. His fellow companions in his hero's journey are portrayed vibrantly as well, making for interesting travelling partners. When their paths diverge and the point of view passes back and forth, both of the plot streams are equally enjoyable.
Now, I have to admit (and this is to your advantage) - I've already read the second in the series, The Hero's Lot, and I can confidently say that Carr is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine! This excellent epic fantasy series from Bethany House (God bless them for continuing to publish Christian fantasy novels) includes a classic hero's plot arc, political intrigues, exotic locales, and of course, a certain amount of romantic tension as well. We are also treated to hints of a burgeoning reformation in a spiritual system that closely mirrors the bureaucracy and power-mongering of the Middle Ages Catholic church and force of darkness at work to manipulate politics for their own ends.
Essentially - I cannot wait for the third book to come out! Draw of Kings, I long for you! (Slated for release in January 2014!)
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Review 9 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 16, 2013
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RevH
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Enjoyed this book! Looking forward to the next one.
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Review 10 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

EXCELLENT book! Loved it!

Date:August 24, 2013
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MoriahN
Location:Maine
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Wow, what a good book! A Cast of Stones is the best fiction book I've read in awhile, and is one that I can see myself reading over and over. I spent the greater part of yesterday afternoon and evening (and past bedtime) glued to its pages. This book was written with depth and intrigue. Patrick W. Carr, the author, definitely has a talent for writing really good books! This is the type of book where you feel as if you are living the story right alongside the characters, and the story sticks with you long after you have finished reading. I would highly recommend this book. Kudos to the author on a job well done! I can't wait to read the sequel.
Thank you so much to Bethany House Publishers for sending me a free copy of A Cast of Stones in exchange for my honest review. It was one of those books that I am really glad that I decided to order for review. I enjoyed reading it so much and I hope others enjoy it as much as I did!
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Review 11 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 4, 2013
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Steve
Location:South Africa
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Really good reading, enjoyed the twist in the book
0points
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Review 12 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good vs. Evil

Date:September 29, 2013
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Barb
Location:Virginia
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I enjoyed reading this view of good and evil as presented in life during the days of kings and knights and the Church. The protagonist Errol is an unlikely hero who has no desire to do anything but get enough money for his next trip to the local pub. But through an unexpected encounter, he is drawn into an amazing adventure with two priests who have been hidden away while trying to decipher what must occur to drive out the forces of evil overtaking the land while the old "good" king lays at death's door.
The ending is a "cliff hanger" and did not leave me with the ending that I had assumed would occur. In order to know the outcome, I will have to read the next story! I would liked to have seen some closure to this story first! Overall, however, it is a lightly humorous story which emphasizes loyalty to friends and one's faith.
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Review 13 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:August 14, 2013
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Jess
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. You really start to get attached to Errol and I found it hard to put the book down once I had started it.
0points
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Review 14 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A RIVETING TALE

Date:May 30, 2013
Customer Avatar
My Book Addiction
Location:North Carolina
Age:55-65
Gender:female
A CAST OF STONES by Patrick W. Carr is an interesting inspirational Fantasy/Science Fiction (Medieval) set in a world known as Callowford. #1 in "The Staff & the Sword. What a wonderful debut for this author. "A Cast of Stones" starts off with a bang and continues to the riveting end. Errol Stone is the town drunk,who volunteers to deliver a message and finds all kinds of trouble,from an assassin to regaining his faith to a struggle for survival to finding his destiny. With a cast of characters who are rich,and engaging to his plot of danger,and an imaginative world you will not go wrong with "A Cast of Stones". They are on a quest that may change the fate of a Kingdom. I would recommend this title,for readers of Fantasy,the Science Fiction genre and those who enjoy an adventure of epic proportions. An enjoyable read! I hope to read the next installment. Received for an honest review from the publisher.
RATING: 4
HEAT RATING: SWEET
REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
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Review 15 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Amazing!

Date:May 9, 2013
Customer Avatar
AddLibrarian
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I had very high hopes for A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr. I wasn’t disappointed. Sometimes a book comes along that you didn’t know you were waiting for until you read it, and somehow your world is more complete. A Cast of Stones is one of those books. A fresh fantasy concept, an intriguing cast of characters, and one of the best-written anti-heroes I’ve ever run across make A Cast of Stones a true delight to read. 6 stars!!!
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Review 16 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Medieval Adventure and Intrigue

Date:April 29, 2013
Customer Avatar
Wanda Costinak
Location:Ontario
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I’m not sure this book is one I would have picked up in a bookstore. On a whim I requested it for review and am thankful I did.
The Staff and the Sword: A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr is a medieval fantasy that had me hooked from the first pages. The main character is so very human, his struggles are so much like our own – of his (and our) own making, and his depth of character is surprising. There are many twists and turns in the story and I struggled along with the main character about who to trust.
While not a big fantasy fan, this one was perfect! There was not too much “fantasy” and a whole lot of medieval – a great balance. The church has too much power, the kingdom hangs in the balance and the battle for power takes a toll on the people. The stones and a stone reader’s abilities were a fascinating portion of the story and I can’t wait for book two to find out how the story continues. Thankfully, the wait won’t be long. The Hero’s Lot will be released July 2013.
I give this book 5 stars out of 5.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
+1point
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Review 17 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fantasy with a Side of Self-Examination

Date:April 28, 2013
Customer Avatar
Paul Emery
Location:Magnolia, TX
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
A great frustration of many in the realm of Christian fiction is the lack of imagination or uniqueness. This may sound like a slightly exaggerated claim, but there is often a limit of Christian fiction that is not geared towards Amish romance, Old west romance, or murder and drama. None of these are a bad genre, or ones that should be dismissed or ignored, but these limit the appeal of Christian fiction. It is for this reason I was very excited when Bethany House announced the release of a new book by Patrick W. Carr A Cast of Stones: The Staff & The Sword.
Set in an almost middle age’s world, A Cast of Stones is a book that gets off to a quick start with action, adventure, and examination of life. This is the first book in a series that Patrick Carr is offering, and it seems to be a story that will excite and enthrall. The story begins with a young man by the name of Errol who sets out on what seems to be a simple task, and one that he has done many times, but that quickly takes twists and turns that young Errol could not expect.
As the story progresses many changes begin to happen to Errol as his identity and character are challenged, and he must either stay who he is, or become who he was destined to be while being confronted with insurmountable odds. Throughout this story Errol is challenged with a pain that he had spent year suppressing through drink. Errol is not only haunted by these great pains, but also sought after by enemies whom he does not know, and thrown apparently off track by events outside of his control.
Patrick Carr did more than just write intriguing fiction with Cast of Stones, instead he also offers character lessons and moral challenges. In its pages Carr creates a mirror for self-examination. It is for this reason that I give this book five stars for interest, intent, and intrigue. If you love fantasy and adventure, then Cast of Stones: The Staff & The Sword is a book worth reading.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 18 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 14, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Location:Summerfield, FL
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Errol Stone is good at one thing: drinking himself into oblivion. Having the reputation of the town drunk of Callowford, his one goal in life is making another coin to pay for another night of loose living in the local tavern. Doing any and every odd job for the advancement of his vice, his ears perk up immediately upon the arrival of a nuntius who wishes to deliver letters to a hermit priest who lives in the forest. Despite everyone's doubts, Errol is determined to deliver his messages, collect his other half crown, and spend a week in the tavern nursing his habit.
But along his journey, he meets an assassin that will stop at nothing to take Errol's life. Bewildered and confused, Errol runs as fast and as far as he possibly can. Barely escaping with his life, he stumbles into the home of the hermit priest, Martin and his servant, Luis. Once he recounts his story and tells them the messages were ruined along the way, Martin and Luis begin packing to leave. Stunned at the turn of events and having no other choice but to go along with them, Errol is sucked into the mysterious quest that leaves him with more questions than answers. Compelled into service for the church, Errol has no choice but to go along for the ride. Will he prove himself to be a reader of stones and worthy to cast lots to save the kingdom? Or is he really just the useless drunkard that everyone believes him to be?
I was quite impressed by this novel, simply because whether you like fantasy fiction or not, you're going to love this tale of redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. I've always avoided this genre simply because of the magic, sorcery, superstition, and nonsense that seems to accompany this kind of story. But Carr made this a humorous, believable tale that kept my interest up till the last page. I am anticipating the next installment in the series, and would recommend Carr's first novel to teenagers and adults alike.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
+1point
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Review 19 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Welcome to a new voice in YA fantasy!

Date:April 10, 2013
Customer Avatar
Carol Gehringer
Location:Raleigh, NC
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Patrick Carr makes his debut with an epic fantasy that will engage readers as they venture into the world Carr creates, one on the brink of destruction where adventure awaits a reluctant hero.
In A Cast of Stones, Errol is the village drunk, not the sort of person you expect to do heroic deeds. Errol drowns his sorrows in ale, doing occasional errands to earn enough coin to buy more ale. He is hired by a church messenger to take an official communication to a recluse priest living in a rustic area. A simple delivery becomes deadly as an assassin hunts him down. He scarcely makes it alive to Pater’s home but the letters are too damaged to read. Errol, Pater Martin and Luis hurry to reach the church messenger in the village. They are poisoned from the bread Errol brought from the village. Errol barely manages to get help in time. That’s when their troubles really begin.
Once in the village, the church messenger gives Pater the message verbally. It requests that Pater travel to Erinon to meet with the others to cast the stones for the king’s successor. But they face danger along the way. Errol discovers he can read the stones Luis casts. His new talent requires him to serve the church as a reader. Errol gives up his taste for ale, learns to read and fight, as he journeys to his new life. But someone is killing the readers in the church.
Carr’s debut novel is filled with strong characters and a tightly-woven plot. Errol’s story continues in The Hero’s Lot (summer 2013).
Highly recommended for teen collections in public libraries and school libraries.
Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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Review 20 for A Cast of Stones, The Staff and the Sword Series #1
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

ALL the potential of J.R.R TOlkien!!!

Date:April 7, 2013
Customer Avatar
Beth
Location:N.C
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Disclaimer-*This book is so extraordinary I'm afraid my review will fall embarrassingly short in it's description.*
Young Errol Stone is little more than a drunk doing anything to earn an extra crown for ale until one day a mysterious messenger sends him with a letter that nearly ends in his assassination.
King Rodran is dying and their is no heir to the throne. It will be up to the Readers to reveal the next king but they are disappearing at an alarming rate! Errol sets out for the capital, Erinon, with his friends Martin and Luis, a priest and a Reader, and Liam, the perceived future king.
However it is Errol that is being hunted by unknown assassins and otherworldly beasts. But why?
Their enemies obviously know something they don't!
I absolutely cannot believe this is Patrick W. Carr's first book!! If you like fantasy, medieval, or even historical fiction, you will LOVE this book! I can't recommend A Cast of Stones enough!!!!
In my opinion Patrick Carr has all the potential of J.R.R Tolkien!!
I received this book free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
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