Welcome back to Fantasy Friday where you will find reviews of classic and new books!
Errol Stone knows little else than how to get drunk. But God (or Deas as He is called in the first book of this Christian fantasy trilogy) has much grander plans for the young man’s life. The first hints are after Errol offers to take a critical message to a priest some hours away from Errol’s home village. It is a perilous trek for anyone else, but Errol knows how to get there quickly. What he does not know until he sets out is how dangerous it will be for him, as an assassin follows after him.
This is just one of many threats to Errol’s life. They begin to pile up after the young man meets up with the priest and one of the church’s readers. Readers cast lots to help answer questions about many things. This time concerns who will succeed the aged king who will soon die and without an heir. Someone is murdering readers but who this shadowy enemy is remains unknown. This fateful visit also reveals Errol’s vocation to become a uniquely powerful reader himself, and perhaps, in the end, not just a reader. But you have to wait until the third book to hear all about that.
I enjoyed Errol’s story. He is not wild he is caught up in and used and abused by church politics and court intrigue. Even his allies admit he is merely a pawn in a perilous game that sets good men against demonic forces. But he does not reject the role thrust upon him. As he goes out into the wider world rather than staring into a mug of ale, he learns to fight not only with a staff but with his own internal demons. Not everyone is all who they seem at first, many are in disguise, but for the most part, those who fight for good, remain doing so, even if they at first appear evil.
The most moving part of the tale comes near the beginning with the priest’s compassion for Errol the night he comes with the message and with bread and wine to celebrate the sacrament. Errol is too miserable from alcohol deprivation to keep down his food for long, so little by little, the priest feeds him the bread. Such a loving act remains the best part of the story. Deas sees the grandeur of this lost young man, and I am sure all will see it by the time this trilogy concludes.
Have you read this? What did you think?