A Cast of Stones
the first in his epic Medieval fantasy saga, The Staff & The Sword, with The Hero’s Lot and A Breath of Wind to follow.
Here’s Patrick on Patrick:
Patrick Carr was born on an Air Force base in West Germany at the height of the cold war. He has been told this was not his fault. As an Air Force brat, he experienced a change in locale every three years until his father retired to Tennessee. Patrick saw more of the world on his own through a varied and somewhat eclectic education and work history. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1984 and has worked as a draftsman at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and consulted as an engineer. Patrick’s day gig for the last five years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He currently makes his home in Nashville with his wonderfully patient wife, Mary, and four sons he thinks are amazing: Patrick, Connor, Daniel, and Ethan. Sometime in the future he would like to be a jazz pianist. Patrick thinks writing about himself in the third person is kind of weird.
ACFW Genesis Competition 2010 Finalist in Speculative Fiction
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.
And for your reading pleasure, here’s an exerpt Patrick has selected from A Cast of Stones:
“Who was Warrel?” Rale asked
“Warrel Dymon, the man who raised me.” He sucked in air, squinted against that last bloody memory. In a voice like a child’s he made one last plea. “Do I have to tell it?”
He sensed rather than saw Rale’s nod. “If you ever want to be free of the ale, yes. I’ve known a few who could manage the drink and something of a normal life, but there was no mistaking how broken they were.”
“I think I was fourteen,” Errol said. “Warrel worked in the quarry at Callowford, my village. It’s just a village, nothing like Windridge.” He stared into the deepening gloom, saw the village street in front of him. “I was playing. There weren’t many chores for me, since it was just the two of us. I spent a lot of time in the smithy watching Knorl make horseshoes. I liked the way the water boiled and steamed when he put the hot metal into it.
“Cantor came riding up the quarry road like he had demons chasing him, screaming my name the whole way. When he found me, he didn’t say anything, just lifted me with one arm and put me on the saddle behind him. We pounded back up the road. He wouldn’t answer any of my questions.” Errol shrugged at the memory. “Maybe he didn’t hear.”
“When we got to the quarry, a couple of men grabbed me and ran me down into the pit at the bottom. Warrel was there, lying under a block of stone.”
Rale’s hand found his shoulder. “I’m sorry boy. It would have been better if he could have said goodbye.”
Errol barked a laugh that tore at his throat. “Better? No, I don’t think it was.” He shook his head. “Warrel wasn’t dead, not yet. The fool. He knew better than to walk under a piece of hanging stone, no matter how strong the ropes were. But he hurried, or maybe he just forgot. He never said. They tell me he heard the creak of tackle at the last second and dove away. It was almost enough. The stone came down on his legs, just below his hips.”
He drew a breath, forced himself to go on. “Durastone ore is heavy.” Now that the moment held him, he wanted to tell it all, every detail. “The slab crushed his legs, forcing the blood into his body. He lost consciousness. The men didn’t dare move him. The moment they moved the stone, Warrel would bleed to death in an instant. Instead, one of them opened a vein, let enough blood out for him to regain consciousness. He sent for me.”
“By the time I got there, he was already fading from the shock and pain.” His head bowed under the weight of the memory and tears splashed on the dirt, making mud. “I ran to him, begging him not to die, calling him ‘Da’ over and over again. ‘Don’t go, Da. Don’t go.’” The recollection overwhelmed him. He started to laugh.
“My head was on his shoulder. I knew what was coming. Quarry men are careful, but even careful men make mistakes and more than one man died before Warrel.” He fell silent. The image had him now.
“And then?” Rale’s voice croaked in the darkness.
“Then he told me I wasn’t his son. Not ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m proud of you,’ just that. Then the pain wrenched his face into something unrecognizable, wiped away whatever he might have said next. He waved at the men around us and they hoisted the stone off his legs. Warrel was gone from the hips down. He bled out in less than a second.”
“I walked back to the village. Warrel had some gold saved. I spent it all on ale. It helped keep the memories away. When I didn’t show any sign of sobering up Pater Antil took Warrel’s name from me. He changed my last name to Stone so everyone would know I was an orphan. He started trying to beat me sober about then.”
Adult fantasy novels have been somewhat limited in the Christian market so I’m excited to see Bethany House taking on another author writing this genre ~ how about you?
Do you enjoy fantasy stories?
Have any of you read past fantasy novels from Karen Hancock, Linda Wichman and Kathleen Morgan? They are some of my favourites.
Connect with Patrick
Pre-order A Cast of Stones at Amazon