Cast of Stones (The Staff and The Sword #1)
by Patrick W. Carr
5 out of 5
An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers
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.
Errol Stone, the village drunk, suddenly finds himself embroiled in an adventure he could never have imagined. A nobody, he is dragged into the danger and politics of church and country, all to protect the golden boy, Liam, who is (not so secretly) destined to be king.
First of all, thank you Patrick W. Carr for reminding me that there are some absolutely amazing books out there, it is such a relief after suffering so many disappointing, frustrating and... you know what, I can't believe I downloaded it for free, it has instantly gone into my top ten books.
*cough* Right, British sensibleness restored.
As you may have guessed, I loved this book, which I was not expecting if I'm perfectly honest. I'm always sceptical over a book when it says in the synopsis "An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love" - it is seriously worrying when authors feel they need to point out the genre (as if it's not obvious enough), or predict that you're going to love it (I tend to do the opposite of what I'm instructed).
Errol is only about 19 years, but has already established himself as the village drunk. After his father's death, all he cares about is finding a way of getting another drink. Which leads him to agree to deliver a message from the church to the local hermit. Needless to say, things don't go to plan, and soon Errol finds himself racing towards the capital with a small, mismatched band of people he thought he knew.
Errol is a brilliant central character. He drags his heels through the whole adventure, making it obvious that he would much rather go back to the pub. But despite the drink, he is very intelligent, and has a sense of humour, regardless of danger. It is impossible not to like him, and root for him as the story goes on.
There is a wide array of characters that are all fully-fleshed out with their own secrets and drive. There's not a single one that is wholly hated, or loved, they are all humanly flawed; making it so believable.
The different groups, the church, nobility, the watch, and even the traders are all realistic in Carr's world. No group is designed as evil, but do house a few bad individuals. The politics are gripping and multi-layered.
I don't want to say anything, I'm afraid to give anything away, because every little thing that happens is worth finding out first hand. What I can say is that this book was the cause of a few late nights, and neglect to my own writing as I hurried to finish it! I loved how it ended, and I can't wait for the next in the series!
Oh yes, and it is still free to download from Amazon, so get on it!