When Sarin Valon, the corrupt secondus of the conclave, flees Erinon and the kingdom, Errol Stone believes his troubles have at last ended. But other forces bent on the destruction of the kingdom remain and conspire to accuse Errol and his friends of a conspiracy to usurp the throne.
In a bid to keep the three of them from the axe, Archbenefice Canon sends Martin and Luis to Errol's home village, Callowford, to discover what makes him so important to the kingdom. But Errol is also accused of consorting with spirits. Convicted, his punishment is a journey to the enemy kingdom of Merakh, where he must find Sarin Valon, and kill him. To enforce their sentence, Errol is placed under a compulsion, and he is driven to accomplish his task or die resisting.
Having read A Cast of Stones, I was very excited to read The Hero’s Lot, which is the second in The Sword and the Staff series. Errol Stone, right from the beginning of the first book, was a fascinating character. Many of the untold secrets of his past are revealed in The Hero’s Lot, with just enough remaining to jump start the third book in the series.
The Hero’s Lot lived up to my expectations, perhaps even surpassing them. Patrick Carr writes with finesse, intelligence, and excellence. A Cast of Stones was so full of action and fighting, and near-death situations that there was little time for romance. Because the first book was so full of action, Patrick Carr realized that that too much unrelieved action in The Hero’s Lot would tire the reader. He added just enough romance to give relief and renew interest.
The Hero’s Lot is full of plenty of surprises. If you’re planning on reading this series, remember to memorize the names, places, and terms when they are introduced, as they will pop up at the most unlikely of times in the surprising of places.
The Biblical parallels are easy to find. While reading A Cast of Stones I couldn’t quite see them. But The Hero’s Lot revealed more so how the author incorporated Biblical morals. Never take the smallest details for granted while reading this series. Everything means something and if you miss even the smallest detail then you will miss the sheer intellectual capacity of this series as a whole. The Sword and the Staff series is just so intelligently written, it will probably take more than one reading to find the complete meaning and all the minutiae that add to the central core.
Errol Stone is my favorite character. He is just so strong and vulnerable at the same time. Everybody—even those he can call his friends—wants him because of his remarkable abilities. Nobody wants to be his friend because they like him just for himself. Errol is extremely smart, though perhaps naive.
I really like Martin as well. The priest turned benefice turned priest turned solis (you’ll understand if you read the series). He has noticeable flaws but undeniable strengths. He’s stubborn yet wise. He will admit when he’s wrong. When he finally admitted to himself just how much Errol was worth and vowed to tell Errol the truth, I was relieved. Errol was underestimated, neglected, abused, taken for granted, left behind, and not given all the knowledge and information that he so desperately wanted to make sense of the circumstances thrust upon him. After all of that, Errol deserved to receive the truth. Unfortunately, the truth hurt him more than he had ever been hurt. It took him quite a while to get over the shock. However, the author does an excellent job of continuing to develop Errol’s character. How the truth affected him, made him even more relatable than before.
The Sword and the Staff series is definitely not one to miss. It will keep you thinking and your heart pounding. I don’t believe I have ever read a series so intellectually fascinating. And whether it be grief, love, or hate you never quite know what emotions are going to strike the characters next.
I give The Hero’s Lot 41/2 stars.
*I received a copy of this book from the publishers through Netgalley. The opinions and ideas stated are mine and mine alone. My review is an honest opinion of this book.