The Jack of Souls  (Multi-award winner!)

The Jack of Souls (Multi-award winner!)

347K Reads 17.8K Votes 66 Part Story
Stephen Merlino By StephenMerlino Completed

An outcast rogue must break a curse put on his fate, or die on his nineteenth birthday. To survive, he'll need the sword of a maiden, the aid of an immortal, and the power of forbidden magic that could cost him the only girl he ever loved.  

*** THE JACK OF SOULS won a Silver IPPY this year!
*** THE JACK OF SOULS won  1st place in the PNWA Competition in Fantasy! *
*** THE JACK OF SOULS won 1st place in the Southwest Writers competition! *
*** A "Featured Book" on Wattpad! *
*** Now a "Staff Pick" on Kickstarter! *
*** Available on Amazon in paper, hardback, and ebook ! *
*** My contract with Kindle Select won't allow me to post more than 3 chapters here, but...
*** Sign up for my newsletter on for alerts when it's free on Amazon! *

I wrote this out of pure love of trickster rogues; I love the wit over brawn motif -- Odysseus over Achilles, Raven over Eagle -- so I like to play with it in my stories. In JOS I set the rogue and con-artist Harric against a foil of warriors in a land threatened by magic and civil war. 

Whenever possible I turn familiar tropes on their heads: instead of a handsome young Lancelot, I cast a broken-down ex-champion addicted to pain-killing herbs; instead of a dashing Squire Brian, the old knight reluctantly takes an ambitious young woman as squire. Similarly, I re-imagine the standard medieval milieu by infusing aspects of two of my favorite historical periods, Elizabethan England, and The American Frontier. Both eras boast a kind of nationalistic arrogance that borders on hubris, and a magnificent spirit of resourcefulness and re-invention that is fun to play with. 


The Jack of Souls is first in a series. I am posting parts of the sequel here now (The Knave of Souls), to help me refine the story.

  • dragon
  • epic
  • fantasy
  • horse
  • knight
  • magic
  • rogue
  • teen
  • thief
  • warrior
  • wattys
  • wizard
  • woman
Hamburger_Head Hamburger_Head Apr 15, 2016
This story is ABSOLUTELY amazing! You left nothing out. Everything was perfect. The background of why Harric is supposed to die was very addicting. I already love his character and I admire Mags and Caris.
DVBeltran DVBeltran May 04, 2016
Let me restate my words, its captivating, the use of language is superbly captivating and entertaining. The looming doom anxiously builds over and stops at a great cliffhanger.
Arveliot Arveliot Mar 02, 2017
It starts in motion, almost as if you walked into the tavern and missed the first piece of the conversation.
                              Frankly, that helps it. That's a good way to start a book.
ETMillsfantasy ETMillsfantasy Jun 16, 2016
What an excellent way to start a book. I always prefer stories that start with something interesting happening.
- - Apr 15, 2016
Interesting start - right at his demise! His and Carris' characters come off to me in different layers, and the entire idea of someone's alleged final day really hooks in for a first chapter!
DVBeltran DVBeltran May 04, 2016
Finally a piece of writing worth burning the eyeballs over. Hard to find develop writers here, glad I found you!