The third installment of Patrick W. Carr’s The Staff and the Sword series finds the kingdom of Illustra in uproar. To begin A Draw of Kings, King Rodran has died and the soteregia has still not been determined. The lust for power has eroded both the church and the nobility from within, and trust is a scarce commodity. Errol, Adora, and Pater Martin, along with their trusty sidekicks, friends, and confidantes, must embark on separate missions in the hopes of saving Illustra before the Merakhi and the Morgols attack. All three groups must follow the will of Deas, and trust the leading of Aurae, if they are to be successful.
The Staff and the Sword series is absolutely wonderful, and I find myself saddened that the third book has come to an end. Carr managed to completely suck me into his world with the first book, A Cast of Stones, creating characters, such as Errol Stone and Pater Martin Arwitten, who I wanted to get to know, and others, such as Pater Antil, who I wanted to throw off of a cliff! The adventure continued in The Hero’s Lot, with another roller coaster of adventure and emotion. But with A Draw of Kings, Carr has brought an exciting and beautiful saga full circle. The descriptions of the settings and the action, and especially of the spiritual warfare made physical in this story, make it so easy to get lost in the world of Illustra and its surrounding environs. The basis of the entire series is summed up toward the beginning of A Draw of Kings, when Pater Martin says, “Deas has surprised me too much of late for me to surrender to hopelessness.”
Yet, more than the excitement, the lovely descriptive language, and the well-drawn characters, Carr uses this fantastic world to make profoundly accurate statements about the world in which we live. When the church of Illustra does not have a copy of the Book to refer to, they turn to their own traditions, twisting the Truth to fit their own agendas. And when they are on the brink of war, and tensions start to run high, Carr notes that, “…like men who fear something great, they express their dread by speaking of smaller concerns that offer them some measure of power.” So true of mankind.
My only criticism has nothing to do with Carr’s writing or even the story in general. I must, however, voice my definite disappointment over the more than thirty missing pages! Yes, that’s what I said – missing pages! I was reading along, engrossed in a very exciting moment, where Adora was caught in a stairwell in Tacita, when all of a sudden she was back in Illustra. It took me a few minutes to realize that she hadn’t been beamed up, but that pages 385 to 416 simply weren’t there! Luckily, Carr’s writing helped me to get back on track, so I wasn’t completely lost and could still enjoy the end of the story. But a word of warning – if you happen to have the print copy (and possibly even the e-book), be sure to check whether there are missing pages. (And I’d still really like to know how Adora, Rohka, and Waterson got out of there!)
Missing pages or not, I still highly recommend Patrick W. Carr’s A Draw of Kings and the entire The Staff and the Sword series.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!