A New Rogue & Knight Epic Fantasy Series Begins
Harric, an outcast rogue, must break a curse on his fate or die by his nineteenth 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 on the run and on one final, desperate quest for his queen.
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 tale of magic, mischief, and the triumph of tricksters. * * *
Multiple Award-Winning Fantasy Novel
In 2014, The Jack of Souls won the prestigious Pacific Northwest Writers Association award for fantasy. It also won the Southwest Writers annual award for fantasy.
The Jack of Souls is not the type of genre I normally read because I tend to have problems following the fantasy world and it's creatures but I have to say that this author has won me over with his novel.
The story line is full of magical spells and beliefs. Trying to find out a way of breaking the curse his mother had put upon him at birth and when Sir Willard arrives, a knight of fame, Harric's life is suddenly changed.
The language used and descriptive writing is very good. The scenes and character traits are first rate along with the drive and determination to survive keeps the reader enrapt. Every chapter brings the story together encompassing a different character who is essential for the groups survival. The whole group each have a different agenda and goal. As we go through the journey with the group the author explains each individual journey and why their paths have crossed and more importantly why there need each other
A page turning novel with twists and turns.
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. Tolkein, 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.
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