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Harric, an outcast rogue, must break a curse put on his fate, or die on his next birthday. As the day approaches, nightmares from the spirit world stalk him and tear at his sanity; sorcery eats at his soul.

To survive, he’ll need more than his usual tricks. He’ll need help—and a lot of it—but on the kingdom’s lawless frontier, his only allies are other outcasts. One of these outcasts is Caris, a mysterious, horse-whispering runaway, intent upon becoming the Queen’s first female knight. The other is Sir Willard—ex-immortal, ex-champion, now addicted to pain-killing herbs and banished from the court.

With their help, Harric might keep his curse at bay. But for how long?

And both companions bring perils and secrets of their own: Caris bears the scars of a troubled past that still hunts her; Willard is at war with the Old Ones, an order of insane immortal knights who once enslaved the kingdom. The Old Ones have returned to murder Willard and seize the throne from his queen. Willard is both on the run from them, and on one final, desperate quest to save her.

Together, Harric and his companions must overcome fanatical armies, murderous sorcerers, and powerful supernatural foes.

Alone, Harric must face the temptation of a forbidden magic that could break his curse, but cost him the only woman he’s ever loved.

A Review from CJ Hott:

Highly recommended for lovers of sword-fighting knights and magical mages.
What I liked: The Jack of Souls is based on a mid-evil times and characters. It brings a fun old-world feel to another world.
What I didn’t like: While the plot is good, CJ tended to drift off and not stay in tuned with the book for long periods of time.

** CJ is a teen who needs books pried from his hands in order to drive to school…

More…

Author: Stephen C. Merlino
Source: This was a gift from Stephen C. Merlino
Grade: B
Ages: 16+
Steam: Violence, Foul language, & Innuendo, not tremendous just present
Setting: Alternate Universe
This Counts for these Challenges: none
Series: The Unseen Moon #1

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Author Bio:

Stephen Merlino lives in Seattle, WA, where he writes, plays and teaches English to teens. He lives with the world’s most desirable woman and two fabulous children, one cat, and three chickens.

Growing up in Seattle in constant rain drove Stephen indoors as a child, so he ended up reading a lot. At the age of eleven discovered J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and others, and for eight months of rain, he read.

Beautiful northwestern summers he spent on the beaches of Puget Sound, building worlds in the sand, fighting orcs and wizards with driftwood swords, and dreaming up fantasies with friends.

About the time a fifth reading of the Lord of the Rings ceased delivering the old magic, he attended the University of Washington and fell in love with Chaucer and Shakespeare and all things English. Sadly, the closest he got to England then was The Unicorn Pub on University Way, & that was run by a Scot named Angus. Nevertheless, he sampled Angus’s weird ales, and devoured Angus’s steak & kidney pie (with real offal!).

Stephen later backpacked Britain, where he discovered a magnificent retrospective of Henry VIII’s body development–from childhood to old age–captured in a dozen suits of armor. Each suit was a 3D snapshot in steel of his exact body shape in a specific moment in time. Stephen observed His Majesty was glorious when young, but as an old man the king corpulent and developed what was either elephantiasis or an unhealthy infatuation with his codpiece.

Stratford-upon-Avon inspired Stephen to return the following year to study Shakespeare at the U of Reading. He now teaches Shakespeare, and, by following The Bard’s example of plot thievery, built one of the subplots of A Midsummer Night’s Dream into The Jack of Souls. It’s one of his favorite parts of the story.

Websites & Links: author's website twitter facebook

 

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