A Cast of Stones
Patrick W. Carr
A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr, introduces us to Errol who, though still a teenager, is on his way to being the town drunk. A church messenger reluctantly hires Errol to take a vital message to a hermit who lives on the other side of the gorge. Drunk or not, Errol knows those paths better than anyone else. That task becomes the first step in what becomes a avalanche of changes that catapults Errol out of his misery and isolation and onto a playing board where he doesn’t know the rules or the players.
At first I sighed and thought that we were being given yet another tale of a young man who is found in lowly circumstances and makes good. It is that, but it is also more than that. There is a mystery connected to Errol’s birth, but it isn’t a big deal. What is more important is Errol’s journey to heal himself of his addiction to drink. It isn’t an easy or comfortable journey, but he finds help in odd places along the way.
The story also diverges from the common path in the confusion of the people around Errol. There is no one in his companions who has all the answers, or any of them at all. Each of them is working with their own agenda and at times they clash. It helps that Errol’s character and that of his companions are created with such deft strokes. We experience his confusion and feel sympathetic to his cause, even when he has no idea what that cause is.
There is a strong spiritual element to the story, but it never gets preachy or one sided. Nothing is presented that will have regular readers turning away from the story. Like the best of spiritual fiction, it is about the story first, the faith second. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. By the end of the book I was thinking of rating it much higher than I had initially thought. I will be looking forward to the next book in the series.