In A Draw of Kings, we complete the journey of Errol Stone. From his inebriated beginning in A Cast of Stones, Errol has certainly come a long way. Battle-worn and burdened with unfair truths, Stone staggers back from Merakh to find the kingdom of Illustra in the hands of an evil usurper. And though his actions from The Hero’s Lot deserve a hero’s welcome, Stone is greeted with a set of manacles and the promise of death.
This final installment of The Staff & the Sword series is page-turning high-action fantasy. Carr arrests your attention and keeps it held tight as Errol escapes from frying pan to frying pan, edging ever closer to the final fire. With stakes that couldn’t be higher, Errol struggles with the demands placed upon him in ways that make him both real and tragic.
If there is anything negative to say about the conclusion of this epic tale, it is that 450 pages is not long enough to explore the richness of the world Carr has created. The story could have been well-served by another installment in the series, though I’m guessing the publisher may not have had the confidence in it to justify the risk. And so, the final battle, though beautifully written and with surprising twists, leaves something to be desired as the reader runs from fight to fight wondering where the half of the warriors went.
With such rich action and grand writing, one might be surprised that Patrick Carr teaches Math instead of English. Though if he brings the kind of intensity to algebra as he does to sword fighting, I have a feeling that his students are some of the finest mathematicians in his home state of Tennessee. I only hope that his teaching career leaves him enough time to keep writing, as his debut series leaves this reader reeling and wanting more.