CSFF Blog Tour: The Hero’s Lot

Even if your enemy has any number of vicious cutthroats, and still more vicious ferrals, at his command, one could see reason in hunting him down, if the necessity were great enough. But when your enemy can see you coming from a thousand miles away, one would strain hard to see any reason in taking up the hunt.

So it’s doubtful that anyone in Illustra saw the sense of going after the traitor Valon, least of all the people who actually did.

The Hero’s Lot is the second book in the series The Staff and the Sword, written by Patrick W. Carr. As in the first book, politics and intrigue worthy of our own world combine with the first principles of epic fantasy – kings, prophecies, swords, other-worldly beings, other-worldly powers and dangers.

I believe that, on the whole, the second book was better than the first. It got to the heart of the matter, weighing what hangs in the balance, painting sharply the looming threats. This novel also provided a more nuanced view of the Church, portraying more good along with the bad, and giving hints as to how so many in the Church had lost their way.

I noticed the unnecessary repetition of the first book here, too. Overall I thought the problem was lesser, but it did manifest itself in a new way. Rather than the author repeating a word, the characters repeated each other’s thoughts once or twice. For example, one character tested the veracity of the lots by asking a very simply question: “Is Martin a priest?” Many pages later, a different character – one who missed the previous demonstration entirely – also tested the lots’ reliability with a question: “Is Martin a priest?”

There was more violence in this book than I liked; it got quite dark a few times. Yet I felt, in The Hero’s Lot, more of the heart of religion, and not merely the forms: in the revelation of truth, in the guidance of Aurae and in characters’ submission to him, in seeing – if only briefly – the change and the brotherhood faith brought to men in the dark city of a lost country.

I hope to see more of Liam in the third book. He’s vital to the story but rarely involved, and it would be good if he could take a place on the stage; he is, after all, in the same boat as Errol.

The Hero’s Lot is a complex fantasy, detailed in the peoples and history and religions of its world. Sword-swinging alternates with scheming, action with deep exploration. The series continues next year, with A Draw of Kings, and I hope to be there.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.