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.
REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS
"The first volume in Stephen Merlino's 'The Unseen Moon' series, "The Jack of Souls" is a terrific read from beginning to end and clearly establishes Merlino as a master of the fantasy action/adventure genre. Highly recommended for community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections..."
--MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
"Of all the books I've read in the past couple of years, The Jack of Souls is by far my favorite. Merlino's remarkable imagination and storytelling skills had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I want to read the next book NOW!"
-Karen Duvall, author of Darkest Knight, and Demon Fare.
* * *
"An epic ride, a magical world, and fantastic characters that grab your imagination and won't let go... The Jack of Souls has it all."
-Corinne O'Flynn, author of The Expatriates.
* * *
"A rich and rewarding new fantasy mythos!" -Rob May, author of Dragon Killer and Roll the Bones.
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About the Author
Stephen is a Writers of the Future winner and winner of the PNWA award for Fantasy. His novel, The Jack of Souls, also won an Independent Publishers award.
Stephen's path to writing began at the age of eleven, when he discovered Tolkien and dreamed of writing epic tales of his own.
In college, when a tenth reading of The Lord of the Rings no longer delivered, he discovered Chaucer and Shakespeare and fell in love with England and its literature. Sadly, the closest he got to England back then was Seattle's Unicorn Pub (and that was run by a Scot named Angus); it wasn't until years later that he'd attend grad school in Berkshire to study Shakespeare.
One day, a professor said of Stephen's stories, "You should get these published!" and the old dream stirred. Stephen pursued it, and though those stories remain unsold, the journey showed him the world of agents, craft, critique groups, and the value of what Jay Lake called, "psychotic persistence."
The Jack of Souls and its sequels are the result of that happy psychosis.