A Cast of Stones (The Staff and the Sword #1)
Patrick W. Carr
Published February 1, 2013
Desperate for coins enough to drown his painful past in drink, Errol agrees to deliver an urgent message to a nearby priest. Then an assassin destroys the message and nearly kills Errol, forcing him to flee with the priest and his companions.
The priest and other members of clergy gather to select a new king, but a deadly enemy opposes them at every step. Still battling lust for ale and past demons, Errol finds himself caught deeper within the church’s web of danger and intrigue. If the enemy wins, the king’s line will end and the border that protects the kingdom will fail. To survive and protect his friends, Errol must conquer his past and uncover the identity of the ruthless ones who pursue him before it’s too late.
Like many Christian fantasy novels, this story contains a monotheistic religion that closely resembles Christianity. What keeps this from being entirely predictable or mundane is Carr’s clever addition of a second spiritual leadership group who balance the power of the priests and reveal the will of Deas (God) through casting lots.
Carr’s deft and thoughtful storytelling can’t help but leave readers eager for the next chapter in the fascinating world he’s created. Errol’s unexpected and expertly crafted transformation from cowardice to heroism makes this novel both moving and memorable.
A woman obliquely propositions a young man. Nothing explicit or overt.
Characters follow a monotheistic religion that includes worship of a god called Deas. In addition to priests, Deas also gifts certain followers to become readers, men who cast lots and determine the will of Deas through the results. A woman possessed by an evil spirit tries to attack Errol and Liam.
Assassins pursue Errol and his companions, at times succeeding in wounding him and his friends.
Errol begins the story as an alcoholic, but devoted friends and companions help him see the self-destruction in that lifestyle.