Augustus Cain is a man with his back against the wall. A war-scarred wanderer, he faces a past he wants to forget, a present without prospect or fortune, and an uncertain future marred by the loss of his most prized possession - his horse - which he has carelessly gambled away. But he is not without skill - he has an uncanny, if unwelcome, ability ...
Augustus Cain is a man with his back against the wall. A war-scarred wanderer, he faces a past he wants to forget, a present without prospect or fortune, and an uncertain future marred by the loss of his most prized possession - his horse - which he has carelessly gambled away. But he is not without skill - he has an uncanny, if unwelcome, ability to track the most elusive runaway slaves. And to repay a debt and keep his horse, he must head north from Virginia and retrieve a runaway named Rosetta. When he eventually runs Rosetta to ground in Boston, Cain discovers she carries a secret - and the size of the bounty on her head begins to make more sense. Fleeing the northern states pursued by a posse of Unionists, Cain finds himself increasingly drawn to Rosetta and starts to wonder if his five hundred dollar fee - if any fee - could ever be enough to return her to her master...Set against the backdrop of a nation preparing to tear itself apart, "Soul Catcher" is the story of an unforgettable journey, one of hardship and redemption, an odyssey that will change the travellers forever.
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-07-09 White's latest novel (after 2004's The Garden of Martyrs), a sweeping if often predictable saga of Antebellum societal and political tensions, follows Augustus Cain, a down on his luck gambler, wounded Mexican-American War veteran and notorious fugitive slave catcher. After a run of bad luck, Cain accepts an assignment from Mr. Eberly, a wealthy Virginia landowner that Cain's in debt to, to track down two runaway slaves, Henry and Rosetta. Along with three of Eberly's men, Cain sets out on a dangerous journey that takes him from Richmond to New York and Boston. After Cain captures the runaways and turns homeward, the trek becomes a means of redemption for both the "soul catcher" and his captives, and paints an unsettling portrait of a nation on the brink of civil war. Intercut with the journey are vivid flashbacks of the battle that left Cain crippled. Despite an abundance of stock cameos (a traveling salesman/con artist, wise elderly people who dispense easy advice) and a predictable conclusion, the book succeeds in presenting a fractious era and a host of moral quagmires. Cain-a flawed and coarse antihero-becomes emblematic of a historical moment under White's sure hand. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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