A Cast of Stones is an astounding story of monumental and epic proportions. Patrick W Carr has birthed a delicately intimate tale of a fragile hope that is desperately and savagely sought after while being drowned in intrigue, mystery, and deadly surprises that will leave you twisting in circles trying to keep up with all that is going on. His writing is captivatingly original and fresh. It will draw you in and snare you into never leaving the beautifully deceptive and ever surprising wonderland of Carr’s imagination.
As the story unfolds before us, we meet and get to know Errol Stone, a peasant who has chosen to lose himself in the ale bottle rather than face his past which is full of his deepest hurts and darkest fears. We stand by and marvel at the slow and yet profound transformation that he goes through from a malnourished, uneducated, and fearful boy into a purposeful, strong, and courageous man. Not only does he get sober and stay clean, but he also becomes the man he was always meant to be and so much more. He is finally set free as he begins to learn about who he really is and picks up the mantel of his destiny. No longer is he ruled by his fears, but instead he is driven by his desire to know all that he has hidden from. His life now has meaning, and he can feel the rhythmic beating of his heart as it is pushes him passionately and fearlessly onward and forward into the unknown from the only home he has ever know.
This is a story about much more than hope and destiny. It is a story about every man and how we are chosen to complete a special task that only we can do. It is a saga that we all must painfully endure as we clumsily and ungracefully grow and develop into who we need to be in order to fulfill the plan for our life. Thankful that our lives can be covered with mercy and grace if we ask for that blessing, we can use that as our cornerstone to keep us grounded and stable as we pass from one phase of our life into another coming closer to the ultimate goal of living our life unafraid of the unknown, unashamed of who we are, and confident that our next steps will be guided and guarded even if we fall.
The people that Errol meet along the way are infinitely intriguing and serve as his teachers to a student who has long ignored his training. Some of his teachers become wise and cherished mentors while others prove to be dangerous and deadly mysteries that he learns to unravel and overcome. The depth and breadth of these characters are considerable and their impact will stay with you long after the journey has ended. Each one offers an important and thought-provoking lesson to learn, so that we can store them in our hearts for just the right time.
A wise piece of advice is that people and things in our life aren’t always what they appear to be, so we need to see with eyes of discernment, listen with ears of grace, and speak with the tongue of love. We need to be wary of those who would stand in our way and embrace those who would journey alongside us and help to keep us walking straight on our treacherous and narrow path. We need to eagerly accept the teaching of the wise and carefully measure the words of the questionable. While blind faith may be required at times, a sharp and penetrating mind is an invaluable asset.
Errol’s path from his hometown to the central city of the kingdom is one wrought with danger, mystery, and too many secrets to count. Even after reaching the central city where he believed his purpose would finally be fulfilled, he disappointingly finds that he has only just started on his path to fulfill his destiny. While blindly and unsuccessfully navigating through the politics of the king and the church, he finds his life in almost constant danger as unseen and unknown enemies try to stop him and his work at all costs. This he finds is due to the fact that their kingdom uneasily rests on an impossibly delicate balance due to the old king having no heir to take the throne while the church prepares to help “choose” his successor, and Errol’s role is inexplicably and unfortunately caught in the middle of this sticky situation. Anything can happen during this dangerous and tumultuous time, and that doesn’t bring visions of sunshine and butterflies to his mind.
We need to be willing to help those around us even if it means laying down our own desires in order to help those around us. The only things in life worth doing are the ones that involve humbly serving each other. That is who we were always meant to be. Our heart isn’t truly happy when we only serve ourselves, and our hands get us in trouble when we focus only on our own desires and needs. We need to stop fighting our calling of service and self-sacrifice and just give in to the soul-fulfilling destiny that is patiently and softly calling our name. Even if our purpose is filled with more pain and suffering that we hope for, we need to take comfort in the knowledge that we are doing what we are meant to do, and in that doing that, things will work out just as they should.
This story has left a unique and indelible fingerprint on my heart, and I eagerly anticipate the next book in this trilogy. I have fallen in love with the world and time of Errol Stone, and I can’t wait to delve into it again and continue to watch the drama of his story unfold into greater detail and become clearer until all is unveiled and each mystery has been revealed. Patrick W Carr is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and I would recommend him to everyone who enjoys being transported to a wondrous land filled with a myriad of both devious and kind-hearted characters that will transform you into a different person then when you arrived.
Rated PG-13: There is some violence and adult discussions that might not sit well with younger kids.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!