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Soul Catcher    by Michael White order for
Soul Catcher
by Michael White
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

In the time just preceding the Civil War, soul catchers were hunters of runaway slaves. It was dirty work because returning the slave to his/her owner meant terrible punishment for the slave. But it paid well, and most hunters worked for the bounty offered, while some would take it upon themselves to sell the slaves they caught for perhaps a better amount of money.

Author Michael White tells the story of Augustus Cain, a Southerner born and bred, but who just can't face the life of a plantation owner. Instead, he abandons his family and fiancée to ride off to Texas to fight against Mexico. There he is badly injured, and since he can't fight any more, turns to what he has a real talent for - finding missing people. He has always been able to do this. Since he has carelessly gambled his horse away, he agrees to retrieve a female runaway to clear his debt and get paid as well.

Rosetta, the slave, is easily found, but Cain sees right from the start that she is quite different from other runaways he has captured. The journey, as they make their way back, becomes more and more difficult, and Cain is forced to confront the evil that is slavery in ways he never imagined. Rosetta's good fortune is to be in the hands of an honorable man, but she must teach Cain the real meaning of honor.

If you enjoy reading Civil War stories, this novel is for you, a tale with lots of unexpected twists and turns. The story unfolds well; the pacing is just right. The writing couldn't be better. We feel like we are there, and there is really good insight into human nature. This is going to be a must for my book group!

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