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A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword #1)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  3,521 Ratings  ·  465 Reviews
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
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by Bethany House Publishers
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Apr 08, 2014 Rosanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I've finished this trilogy today and decided to post my full review of all 3 books here (spoiler free) since this is where it all started.

This is one of the best trilogies I've ever read. It's definitely in my top 3. I even decided to put a new category in my bookshelves for "favorite trilogies" just because of this book.

People! You need to trust me and read this.
Because it has everything a reader of fantasy/fiction loves. (Well, at least for me)

Mature writing. T
A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr started out interesting enough ... it even really captivated me at certain points; but it ended up just not being the greatest fantasy read for me, personally.

It starts out with a young man, named Errol, getting thrown out of a tavern. He shortly thereafter meets a church messenger, and agrees to go on an errand for the man. After all, it means he'll be paid. And pay means more ale. However, Errol gets much, much more than he bargained for; in fact, his world
A Cast of Stones is a Medieval-style fantasy with a Church, priests and monks as a major power in the kingdom. But other than the similarities to the religious background of Medieval Europe, the history and the magic of casting divine lots is unique enough that I felt like it took place in an unknown fantasy world. Although much was standard high fantasy fare (e.g. unknown peasant protagonist), this was still different enough to feel fresh to me.

The main character is a 'boy' of 18 who has been a
Nadine Brandes
High fantasy isn't my usual go-to. Mostly because I'm awful at keeping multiple characters straight, which is a major characteristic in high fantasy. It's known for its endless characters and city names. (Almost all of which have two or three names by which they're referred, of course. Hello? Gandalf/Mithrandir/Grahame/White Rider/Olorin/Stormcrow....anyone?)

BUT...A Cast of Stones didn't leave me bored for a second. And, when I forgot a name here and there, Carr did a great job reminding me who
Adam Collings
This story centers around a very unlikely hero. Eroll is a drunk. His life consists of earning enough coin to spend his nights in the ale barrel. When he is unexpectedly thrust into a dangerous game of crown and church politics he is forced to rise above his weaknesses and become a new man.

I loved the protagonist of this book. We spend the entire story deep in his point of view, which makes him immediately sympathetic, despite his many flaws. Seeing his growth and transformation is a lot of fun.
Mar 07, 2013 Carrie rated it really liked it
When I first picked up saw this book, I thought it sounded interesting. When I won a copy through goodreads first reads, I was super excited. Some time between winning and getting my book, a friend told me the publishing company published religious books and I should beware because blah blah blah. Immediately I was thrown off balance. I have no problem reading books by religious authors -no matter their chosen religion- or even books about religion if in the mood for them. But I get very annoyed ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Kim rated it liked it
Note: I received an ARC of this book from the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.

I enjoyed this book! Mr. Carr is a very talented writer. The story was imaginative and kept a nice pace, not too slow and not too fast and an easy read. The story line was easy to follow – maybe a little too easy (not really any surprises and was a little predictable). I was a little worried after receiving the book, reading that Mr. Carr was a member of a Christian writing group and that it was listed as a Christ
Kat Heckenbach
Nov 10, 2014 Kat Heckenbach rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I really wanted to like this book. I heard so many great things about it, how it's what Christian speculative fiction fans have been waiting for...

I made it a few chapters and decided to pass on the rest of the book. The characters didn't really jump off the page, and the story world was rather sparse. What drove me to completely give up was the redundancy. The main character is a drunk--I get it. No need to reference it every third line. Overall it just felt that there was too much focus in are
Apr 24, 2013 Jamie rated it it was amazing
A little over halfway through the book I realized I was going to be upset at the end. Why? Because this was only book one of the series. Meaning things weren’t going to be completely resolved. To which I say Boo!

Reason #895 why I like to wait until a series is complete before I start it. I can be impatient on occasion and waiting isn’t really one of my gifts. Just ask my parents how awesome road trips were with me in the back seat. And now I have to wait for-ev-er until the next one comes out. U
Paula Vince
Apr 09, 2014 Paula Vince rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a journey!

Everyone recognises Errol Stone as the village drunk, and he's not yet nineteen years old. His one ambition is to earn a bit of money for his next fix of ale, so he won't fall apart. When a strange messenger wants a secret parcel delivered to Pater Martin, the reclusive priest, Errol is quick to volunteer. He knows the pay will keep sobriety at bay for at least another week, but comes to wish he hadn't bothered.

He never expects to be plunged, unwittingly, into the dangerous t
Ariana Pedigo
Feb 25, 2013 Ariana Pedigo rated it it was amazing
Praises to Deas for Patrick W. Carr, for this excellent and audacious novel!

Errol, a boy who has wandered far from the path and is a habitué for ale drowning within the barrel, agrees to carry a letter to the hermit priest (Martin) in the hills, for a coin which he already plans to use on ale to keep himself glazed for a week. Little does he realize that this action would change his entire life.

So begins an adventure which covers 432 pages of excitement and invaluable lessons. Errol meets clever
Dec 04, 2013 Ron rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ron by: Jon Moss
Shelves: fantasy, ebook
Excellent epic fantasy. Carr's "hero", Errol, is as unheroic as the village drunk--because that's what he is. Therefore he at least has an excuse for his early stupidity and unwillingness to get involved in the issues of the greater world. But, true to type, almost nothing is what it seems.

The entire narrative is written tightly from Errol's point of view. The reader may suspect more, but is told only what Errol sees, hears, smells and experiences. Unlike so much contemporary fantasy Carr provi
Lydia Redwine
Aug 04, 2015 Lydia Redwine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
This trilogy is my favorite trilogy of all time (at least, when it comes to books.) It is also my third favorite series of all time, so obviously on this reread I would give this book 5 stars and tell you why.

When I first heard of A Cast of Stones I pictured it as a typical Medieval fantasy book (which is in some ways) and thus wasn't super into reading it. BUT it was free on iBooks so I picked it up and well...the rest is history.

First are some minor issues I have with the story despite my
Burgandy Ice
Nov 06, 2012 Burgandy Ice rated it it was amazing
On occasion I have the urge to gush over-much. On this particular occasion, I'm nervous of throwing so much confetti about this book that it looks promotional instead of critical. I shall attempt to sound dignified, but really... when I happen upon a book like this, it's like discovering a stash of chocolate. There's some sqee-ing.


I like the writing style. There's no extra words. There's just the exact amount of words necessary to portray the landscape as touchable and the characters... as
Sep 27, 2014 Andi rated it really liked it
I finished this at 1:30 in the morning. Which actually doesn't necessarily mean anything for the book, because that's usually a pretty typical bed time for me. But in this case, I seriously couldn't put it down.

However, it wasn't always like that.

Okay, so for the first half of the story this book and I had a very delicate relationship. I would be interested, and then I would cease to care altogether and not pick it up for another week or so. I don't know why. Nothing was wrong with it. It appea
Christian Fiction Addiction
Feb 13, 2013 Christian Fiction Addiction rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a well-written fantasy novel, then "A Cast of Stones" may just be for you. It's a fantasy that even your grandma will approve of (there's not fifty shades of anything in THIS book).

Featuring a world conceived with great imagination, Patrick W. Carr's "A Cast of Stones" is an epic fantasy tale sure to delight savvy readers. Once I'd read enough of the story to wrap myself around the world the author has invented, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the pacing of the st
Aug 02, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this single-point-of-view tale. It begins with the introduction of a staggering drunk as the main character—a not entirely likable character, but the reader can sympathize with him—and journeys with him to his surprising new position in the world. This advancement doesn’t come to Errol Stone easily; he has physical and emotional demons to overcome while he’s being chased by poison- and blade-toting villains. He makes some incredible faux pas, and he also does exactly the opp ...more
Apr 25, 2013 English rated it it was ok
I came to this novel rather late, and noticed that it has a lot of glowing reviews. People acquainted with me will know I can have rather high standards, but really I just did not like this book very much almost from the outset.
There were some original elements in the story- the notion of the stone `lots' for instance though this could be problematic. Not all of the characters seemed to be particularly well developed, though a few of them were likable.

There were other issues too- the most notab
A Cast of Stones is an awesome medieval fantasy story. Thankfully when I turned the last page, I realised A Cast of Stones is the first in a series –there is more to come!

Errol Stone, the village drunk, takes a message to a hermit priest in the hills. His motivation was the coin he would receive for his effort. Instead of returning before nightfall with enough money to stay drunk for a week, he is hunted by an assassin on route and almost killed before he could deliver the message.

Errol’s life
Savannah Jezowski
Jun 09, 2015 Savannah Jezowski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unique Story

This is a good story for young men. There is no sex or language but a great deal of fighting and action. The way the author describes Errol's craft with the staff was so superb it made me want to go out and learn how to brandish a staff of my own. There are many different kinds of villains, from oafs to assassins to corrupt abbots to violent "ferrals" and demonic "malus." The cast is huge. The author introduces dozens of characters that only serve a small role in the whole of the sto
Dec 22, 2012 J.P. rated it really liked it
A medieval fantasy that has a lot to appreciate. I hope this novel garners recognition because it certainly deserves it. Within the first couple of chapters it’s readily apparent that the writing is definitely above average.
Errol Stone is a most unlikely hero. At the beginning if he’s not crocked he’s probably heading to his favorite watering hole for a beer but by the time the book ends he has been transformed thanks in part to a certain remarkable talent. I enjoyed the development of the main
♥ Unaeve ♥
Feb 01, 2013 ♥ Unaeve ♥ rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-2013
A Cast of stones is a beautiful written story about all the great things we love in a good fantasy book.
We have a Hero who starts as a poor and week orphan boy,and grows into something much more with a little bit help from friends he meets on his travels.
We have a developing mystery ,we have the evil guys,we have the good guys,we have a little bit of magic ,a little bit of combat,a little bit of romance (could be more of this if you ask me)and a happy ending with a good promise for a next book.

Jul 26, 2014 Dee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
When I got this novel, I was expecting to enjoy it at least a little. The setting and premise interested me, and once I began to read it, the story intrigued me.
However, I was not expecting the outstanding literary work I ended up reading. Carr has a fantastic writing style and a natural knack for storytelling.
There was not a dull moment in the entire novel. I found myself immersed in the world of the book and enjoying every bit of the aptly placed action and drama.

There's a reason I'm r
Jul 29, 2013 Jo rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
There was certainly lots of action, but there were a few things that kept it from being a true 4 star rating. First, the females in the story are just there for romantic interests. Otherwise, they are conveniently absent. Second, the world building was intricate, but it wasn't explained very well. I would have liked more information a little sooner in the story. All in all, it was a good read,and I would recommend to someone who enjoys a clean, action packed fantasy.
Lisa Carter
Dec 30, 2013 Lisa Carter rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspirational
Really, really liked this. In fact, can't stop thinking of the fictive world Carr creates and describes—which I think is the goal of every novelist.

Ya'll I don't even usually read this genre, but wow!!!! Kind of reminds me of the rich allegorical imagery of The Chronicles of Narnia.

So if you read in this vein—and even if you haven't until now—don't miss this epic medieval fantasy saga.

And this is Patrick Carr's debut, people!!!
Can't wait to finish the trilogy.
Akan Michael
Mar 09, 2014 Akan Michael rated it it was amazing
Brilliant...Simply amazing.
The character development is a true work of a master
I cant believe i almost didn't read it..
You cant help but love Errol. He has become one of my Favorite protagonist
To Patrick W. Carr. I say thank you... THANK YOU!!!

To everyone else... Get a copy immediately. One of the best read this year by far.
Sep 30, 2014 Schuyler rated it really liked it
At least the 4th time through. The thing that struck me this time is the clear learning arc Errol goes through throughout the book. There are no handouts. He has to work hard, keep practicing, keep looking after his weapons, and learn new things. Yet again, a wonderful journey.

See my blog archive for full review at
R.M. Lutz
Aug 03, 2015 R.M. Lutz rated it it was amazing
With excellent prose, vibrant characters, and some great action, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian/clean fantasy. (Read more at my blog,
Katie Grace
Apr 01, 2015 Katie Grace rated it really liked it
After the first 120 pages or so, it got a LOT better. I look forward to the later books. :D
Mary Findley
Jun 26, 2014 Mary Findley rated it it was ok
Sometimes I write a book review because I promised I would. Sometimes I need to because I want to tell the world about a great story. Sometimes I just have to write a review, even though I feel like I am spiritually and mentally under attack every step of the way. That probably sounds arrogant and judgmental, since I am nobody, have no influence, and over five hundred voices already disagree with me about the book. I also don't think I've ever published a two-star review.
This book gets two star
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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 w ...more
More about Patrick W. Carr...

Other Books in the Series

The Staff and the Sword (3 books)
  • The Hero's Lot (The Staff and the Sword #2)
  • A Draw of Kings (The Staff and the Sword #3)

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