Review: A Cast of Stones

A Cast of Stones
A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are some authors who can write gripping action/adventure, but cannot capture a real empathy for the main characters. And there there is Patrick Carr who goes far beyond great storytelling of action/adventure and fantasy into the realm of roller coaster emotional experience rarely offered to readers today.

Hooray! Finally, a single main character and the story is told in third person completely from the main character's point of view! No head hopping, no head jumping, no wondering how did he/she know that. Excellent storytelling and superb character development. The story actually goes somewhere with a satisfying ending even though there are more in this series to come. You do want more, but still the ending is satisfying.

Carr has mastered character development. He has done everything right in telling this story. He thanks Dave Long (editor) for helping him become a better writer. I've read several books edited by Dave, and I recognize the excellence of Dave's skill. However, an editor cannot make a bad story premise great, and cannot make a good writer better if the writer is unwilling to master the skills of writing. This is an excellent example of both author and editor in top form.

We first meet Errol Stone as a small, drunken lad who had the misfortune of being an orphan. He was taken in by a stone mason but that man was killed, and Errol couldn't face that horror so he drowned the memories. Ever mindful of a way to line up tankards of ale in front of him, he did odd jobs for the people of his tiny village. The people knew the cause of his problem so didn't think too ill of him. So when Errol offers to take a message to a hermit priest through the gorge, Cruk assures the messenger that the message will get to the priest. But, an assassin follows Errol shooting whining arrows at him. Thus begins Errol's epic journey to the Green Isle, the conclave, and King Rodran.

What I love so much about this novel, is that you can see Errol grow into a strapping young man, but his basic character is enhanced not transformed. The character development is along the same lines as Alexander Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo. If this book series does not become a classic, it should. It could proudly sit beside Lord of the Rings or The Three Musketeers.

Cruk calls Errol "a good lad", and this is echoed by the healing woman, and others. Anyone who has lost a loved one, or who has experienced some life changing catastrophe, or who has lived through some kind of bullying will identify with Errol's lot and empathize with him rooting him on cheering his successes. There are acute disappointments as well, which makes the story's roller coaster so effective. I especially appreciate how Errol's wisdom grows.

Well worth the money, and a keeper. This is a worthy book for anyone's library. It is excellent for adults and young adults.

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