A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword, 1) / by Patrick W. Carr
Bethany House Publishers (February 1, 2013), ISBN 978-0764210433
HS (MS) Grades 7-12 Rating: 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. Thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of this book.
Carol R. Gehringer
Read an excerpt of the book here.