The Jack of Souls  (Multi-award winner!)

The Jack of Souls (Multi-award winner!)

362K Reads 19.5K 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