Harric, an outcast rogue, must break a curse on his fate or die by his 19th birthday. As the day approaches, nightmares from the spirit world stalk him and tear at his sanity. 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 is Caris, a mysterious horse-whispering runaway intent on becoming one of the queen's first female knights. 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?
Both companions bring perils and secrets of their own: Caris bears the scars of a troubled past; 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.
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A Performance Like a Lush Andrew Wyeth Painting
Highly recommend this action-packed book. Having thoroughly enjoyed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The White Company", I'm delighted to find all the best elements here. Rushing action so well written you can feel the arrows fly by and damp, dangerous fog on your face. The dialogue from assorted colorful characters is natural and beautifully acted by Wyndham. Brilliant interpretation of the characters.
The rhythm and fast pace moves along and doesn't bog down. There's enough dialogue to keep the relationships clearly understood but not slow the story's headlong action. The technical aspects of arms and battle is wonderfully executed. If this was a movie, the Second Unit Director would have an Oscar.
I have just discovered Mr. Wyndham's remarkable talent and will be looking for other books he's lent his considerable skill to. If Andrew Wyeth's book illustrations had voices, they would've been Wyndham's.
I'm particularly impressed that the opening 10 minutes hooked me so thoroughly. A book and its characters usually take a chapter to grow on me, but this is not the case with The Jack of Souls. It's the sort of performance that begs a binge-listen leaving chores undone and appointments missed.
I am very much looking forward to more of Wyndham's voice and Merlino's well written adventures.
Just Part One
- W. Sabin