The Hero’s Lot is the sequel to Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr. I wrote about that book earlier and asked questions of the author, so this summer I accepted a review e-copy of The Hero’s Lot in exchange for writing about it now as part of the blog tour. I’m pleased with the book. I think it seems a little less dark than the Cast of Stones because the heroes know a bit more what they`re doing and since the characters are always talking about how completely devestating failure would be I must presume they will succeed (much in the same way a small child knows that the bigger the threat the less likely it will be carried out). That said, I haven`t actually finished reading the book…. so… I can`t tell you what happens at the end.
The story leaves lots of room for idle thoughts. It is a fantasy novel with its own rules and as such it poses the question “what if…?” What if we lived in a world where vows were magical compulsions we could not help but follow through with? What if you were in a position where your life could be saved at the cost of others? For what would you be willing to kill (or, since we don’t live in fantasy novels, for what are we willing to let our governments kill)? Don’t push the questioning too far though or its hard to understand why certain lives must be protected at the cost of whole villages.
I’m used to fantasy novels that use pantheons of dieties based on Greek or Celtic or Norse legend. Here’s a fantasy novel based on Christianity, with a Trinity. In the story it is believed that Deas speaks through the casting of lots. Specially perceptive people trained to carve and then cast lots are obedient to the church and assist the church in decision making. They face a problem though: most Readers cannot read another’s lot, so it is impossible to see if the Reader is announcing what the lots really show or what the Reader wants. In order to make the all important decision of who will be the next king they need an Omne, capable of reading other people’s lots. But what if the other parts of the Trinity speak to people in a different way too? The characters encounter a whole set of other people claiming to speak to the unknowable Holy Spirit (called Aurae) in the book. The dilemna of how to believe someone when they claim God is speaking to them reminds me again of this video from Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom:
I have quited enjoyed the book though for reasons I have not figured out my review copy has trouble showing the “th” at the beginning of any word that starts with “th” so I have to interpret a lot of “e” as “the” and “at” as “that.” I’m sure that’s just my copy.