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Soul Catcher

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  841 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews

Augustus Cain 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: the horse that has been his working companion for years. He is also a man haunted by a terrible skill—the ability to track people who don't want to be found.

Rosetta is a runaway slave fueled by the passion and d

Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 16th 2010 by \ (first published 2007)
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Dec 09, 2008 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soul Catcher is a phenomenal book about slave catcher named Cain who is hired to catch a runaway slave named Rosetta. The novel takes place in the mid 1800s before the Civil War, in a time when slavery was still alive and the racism against black people in the South was strong and violent. Eberly is a slaveowner and plantation farm owner who is DESPERATE to have Rosetta, a young slave who runs away while pregnant with Eberly's child! Eberly is a cruel man who will stop at nothing to get her back ...more
Nov 22, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in antebellum America, this novel gives a penetrating look at the pursuit of runaway slaves by bounty hunters, the slave owners who funded them, the abolitionists who opposed them, and the deep emotions evoked by slavery.

Augustus Cain is one of the best hunters, or "soul catchers" as they are called by the blacks and northerners. He wants to quit the business and go west to California, but after losing his prize horse in a gambling debt, he is obligated to pursue one more slave girl. He bear
Dec 13, 2008 Nigel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a dodgy opening few chapters that read like a tedious Western, this book opens out a sweeping storyline that makes a riveting read as well as giving an insight into the conlicted and conflicting views of the two sides as they slip inexorably towards the American Civil War. The prospect of a slave-catching, gambling, drinking, laudanum addicted anti-hero may not immediately appeal, but Michael White writes him as a nuanced character, with a colourful backstory, capable of soul searching and ...more
Jan 03, 2008 Wrighty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book I may not have choosen if it was a book club selection but I'm so glad I did. Told during the Cvil War era this story tells about the life of a man who catches run away slaves, a legal practice then. Turbulent times in every way and brutally honest about the treatment of slaves. Heartbreaking to know that the generalization is true although this man's story is fiction.
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Donna Brown
Jan 12, 2013 Donna Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amazon-vine
This is an excellent book, well written and with a simple yet compelling story. White manages to portray his characters well and also makes the plot and situations within the book realistic and believable.

Although this is not a period of history I am particularly familiar with (it is set in pre-civil war America), the details seemed convincing and set a good tone throughout the book.

In summary of the plot, Augustus Cain is a 'soul-catcher', making a living from catching runaway slaves. He convin
Shonna Froebel
Nov 22, 2012 Shonna Froebel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This saga of slave catcher Augustus Cain takes us from the Mexican-American War through to the civil war as Cain looks back on a life running from his past as he engages in what he intends to be his last job as a slave catcher. He has been drawn into the occupation due to a skill in tracking and finding slaves that he first identified as a young man.
Rosetta is the runaway slave that he has been hired to find. She runs from a master who has taken his ownership in every way he could and runs to sa
Mar 08, 2009 Jaime rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a good Civil-War-era/1800s-in-the-U.S. historical fiction novel. And this *was* a good one. Cain is a man who’s more than a little bit lost. He’s basically sleep-walking through life, drunk on either whiskey, laudanum, or both, and gambling for money to live. Except he’s not always a great gambler, and now he’s gotten himself into a debt he can’t run away from. When the man he owes money to wants him to use his tracking skills to bring home his runaway slave, Rosetta, Cain doesn’t really ...more
May 26, 2011 Dpdwyer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, history
This book has some strengths. The setting is Virginia just before the Civil War. Augustus Cain is what the slaves call a soul catcher. He tracks down runaways and returns them to their owners. He’s a complicated fellow but never really thinks about slavery until he kidnaps a feisty, female slave in Boston and is returning to her Virginia master. She is appealing but less than believable, too modern. I gained real insight into the internal self deceptions that allowed otherwise honorable men to o ...more
Apr 06, 2009 Stan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frankly, I was disappointed that it didn't have the supernatural sort of undertones that I expected from reading the description. I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff.

What I found interesting is that one can gain a feel for the mentality of the southerner and how slavery could be one could come to appreciate Cain,the main character in the book. He never really seemed like a villain even though he was a soul catcher(or slave catcher).

By the end of the book, the moral question of
May 30, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010s
A classic chase/adventure story of a man on a mission and his prey, with the hunter wrestling with his conscience. Perhaps the conscience-wrestling got a bit tedious for me, or we are reassured a few too many times what a good man the hero Cain is despite the fact that he is tracking down a runaway slave, Rosetta, in freedom in the North to return her to her (call central-casting) sadistic owner. A host of adventures and interesting minor characters await them on the journey home, which I won't ...more
Emery Lee
Feb 16, 2011 Emery Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was rather slow moving but over time developed deeply. The era is pre civil war and the protagonist is a "Soul catcher," a man employed to track runaway slaves and retreive them back to their "lawful"owners. He doesn't like his job, but sees himself as providing a service in accordance with the law. Although his conscience tugs, he prefers not to dwell on the deeper moral issues until he meets the likes of Rosetta.

I enjoyed this book, and digested it very slowly. It's gritty and real w
Leslie Gudermuth
If you like historical novels and or "Westerns" you will enjoy reading this book. The hero (or "anti-hero) is a slave catcher named Cain ( Biblical reference?) He is hired to catch and return a young slave woman to her master. The time period is one-Click War in the 1850's. Congress had passed a law in 1850 that runaway slaves could be caught and returned to slavery in the South regardless of making it to a Northern "free" state.
Can you imagine traveling by horseback all the way from Boston to
Dec 13, 2015 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In someone else's hands this story could have been quite a bust. I wasn't sure I was going to buy it myself at first.

Augustus Cain is a slave catcher. He found from an early age that he had a gift for this work, but as he grew older he no longer wanted to do it. Nevertheless, he was pressured by the threat of the loss of his horse - a horse he valued more than any person he knew - to make one more pursuit. The subjects were an older man and a young woman, from the plantation of a rich man who
Sam Sattler
Sep 03, 2014 Sam Sattler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just prior to the Civil War, slaves were a big part of the Southern economy in many ways, some of which have not been often considered in Civil War fiction. In addition to providing the labor that made it possible for the United States to dominate the world cotton market, escaped slaves provided a living for the slave catchers and "blackbirders" who personally profited from their desperate flights northward. Slave catchers, called "soul catchers" by blacks of the era made their money by tracking ...more
May 08, 2012 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael White has convincingly conveyed a transformation of a character. Cain is a conflicted individual who is very good at the strange skill of a Soul Catcher, but also has been exposed to many thoughts that do not support the concept of slavery. While Cain is the lead in this play, the key person is Rosetta whose presence and personality truly captures Cain's soul. Great plot, exceptional character development, wonderful prose. Would be an interesting movie.
Jun 04, 2009 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Soul Catcher is a slave catcher and it's set in pre civil war south about a beautiful slave girl who runs away. She's captured by the slave catcher and he and fellow slave catchers take her on the long journey back to captivity, or try to. I loved this book. It was the first Historic Fiction I've ever gotten all the way through. That's because it's a real page turner I couldn't wait to find out whats gonna happen next. I highly recommend Soul Catcher.
Julie McDonald
-Historical details seemed forced and consciously sprinkled throughout
-I didn't buy into the main character as a real person
-Main character's journey to understanding his own prejudice as a result of a sexual relationship seems to devalue the "aha!" moment
-Tired plot: "been there, done that"

-Loved the descriptions of nature
-Enjoyed the flawed, tragic characters
-Entertaining twists and events throughout the adventure
Kerry O'Connor
Nov 16, 2010 Kerry O'Connor rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Whoever compared this novel to Cold Mountain needs a reality check. This author only wishes he could write in that league. His prose is repetitive and stilted, vocabulary limited, his characters never rise above the stereotypical and mundane. He does not credit his reader with much ability to read between the lines either, but then there's really nothing to read in to the story. I've read Part 1, and that's all he gets of me.
tish Ramsey
Nov 05, 2009 tish Ramsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot of interesting facts about pre-civil war history while reading this novel. The story is fast paced and full of action but at the heart of the story is the relationship between a conflicted slave catcher and a intriguing runaway slave. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this era of American history.
Nidhi Jakhar
May 19, 2016 Nidhi Jakhar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished it in the wee hours of night. I bought this book seven years back - my intuition about it by its title and then it was buried beneath the ever-increasing piles. Every book has its time and its time was now.

The book literally grew on me as did Augustus Cain. For him, I would say a man who reads poetry by fire light in a forest, has to be a good man despite being a slave/soul catcher.
The negro slavery and Civil War are a blemish on American conscience but then history is created in it ow
17-year-old Augustus Cain lights out for the territory, leaving his father's farm and his betrothed for the adventure of the Mexican-American War. But the carnage of combat strips him of his idealism and the full use of one of his legs. He is rescued from death by a young Mexican Indian and her grandmother. They nurse him back to health and he develops a deep affection for the young girl. But his southern honor force him to return to the war and turn himself in as a deserter. His wounds are trea ...more
Cassandra Rankin
With fantastic character development, Soul Catcher is a bleak tale of a stoic man on a quest to solitarily and unpretentiously bear a very gritty and heartbreaking time in history. It would be a desolate and dark tale but for the pockets of raw and tender humanity Cain encounters along his sojourn. From the Indian girl, the elderly woman he helps, the young boy he saves, and Rosetta, Cain shows us a side of him that contrasts the selfish ambition we are first met with in him, and it is a reminde ...more
Kristal Cooper
This book is set just before the Civil War and is about a guy who is contracted out to track and return runaway slaves. The idea has a lot of potential, but the author blew it, in my opinion.

The first 115 pages were miserable -- populated by six characters that I didn't like at all and had a hard time caring about. I skimmed some of it, then layed it down for nine months until I decided to grit my teeth and finish it off before the year was out. Luckily, in chapter 7, there's finally a little bi
Laura (booksnob)
I am going to write this review as a resume for the main character Augustus Cain. A major theme of Soul Catcher is Cain's profession.

Augustus Cain
Home: Virginia
Year: 1950

Objectives: 1. To own his horse free and clear and pay off all his debts so he can head west and start his life over. 2. To track and bring back runaway slaves Rosetta and Henry. 3. To do this one last job and then quit being a soul catcher.

Qualifications and Skills:
Slave Tracking, hunting, shooting, long distance travel on hors
Sep 18, 2013 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soul Catcher - I love the title! The definition is: a person who is paid to track down and capture runaway slaves and return them to their masters. Augustus Cain is by trade a Soul Catcher. It's not a profession that he's proud of, but one that he's quite skilled at.

The story starts out in the 1850's prior to the civil war. Mr. Eberly, a wealthy tobacco owner, breaks into Cain's room one morning and makes him an offer that he can't refuse. The prior evening, both men were in a card game. Augustu
Kyra Meko
Aug 15, 2012 Kyra Meko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soul Catcher will definitely catch your attention. Throughout this realistic fiction Michael White introduces conflicting themes like possession and the different kinds of slavery (literal and mental), the passing of time and getting older, and the emotions of love vs. lust. By infusing these themes into an action-packed journey, White hooks the reader. Rather than telling the reader, he shows them that slavery of any kind is wrong and love is ultimately better than lust through the conflicts he ...more
Mar 21, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Soul Catcher" was a difficult book for me to get into - the first few chapters were tedious. However, the book is a worthwhile read. A soul catcher is what slaves call people hired to catch runaway slaves and bring them back to their owners. "Soul Catcher" takes place when the country is on the brink of the Civil War. Augustus Cain is a gambler, a wounded Mexican-American war veteran, and reputed to be "the best" at slave catching. He is hired to catch Rosetta, a runaway slave with a tragic his ...more
"Soul catcher" is a nice way of putting "fugitive slave catcher" - although I'm not sure why people who own slaves would think their property has a soul. Anyway, Cain (yep, he's marked) is the first son of a smallish farmer, slated to marry a beautiful belle but he chooses instead to go fight in Mexico, where he's wounded. He's now estranged from his family and catches souls for a living. He also has a tidy little laudanum addiction, he drinks, and gambles badly.

To resolve one debt, he agrees to
Oct 02, 2007 Mateo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael White's Soul Catcher starts out with a big liability: It's not Cold Mountain. Soul Catcher--the term refers to men who caught runaway slaves--covers much of the same ground, though: a wounded soldier traversing the Civil War-era South, facing demons both external and internal. That's a tough comparison, because Cold Mountain was a tour de force; still, once the comparisons are left behind, Soul Catcher is a pretty decent read. White has a fine eye for landscape--grouse exploding in a clo ...more
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