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Soul Catcher

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  677 ratings  ·  153 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

...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 16th 2010 by \ (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,230)
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Ashley
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
David
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...more
Nigel
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
Wrighty
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
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...more
Shonna Froebel
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...more
Jaime
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
Dpdwyer
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
Stan
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 acceptable...how 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...more
Elizabeth
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
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...more
Sam Sattler
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
Sandy
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.
Richard
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
Cons:
-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"

Pros:
-Loved the descriptions of nature
-Enjoyed the flawed, tragic characters
-Entertaining twists and events throughout the adventure
tish Ramsey
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.
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...more
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...more
Elaine
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...more
Kyra Meko
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
Sandy
"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
Laura
"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...more
Mateo
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
Miles
Jan 15, 2012 Miles rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miles by: Mateo
Shelves: reviewed
Soul Catcher is a solid adventure tale set sometime between 1855 and 1859, following the changing fortunes and heart of a slave hunter. I enjoyed reading it for pleasure, and as a part of my study of the craft of writing historical fiction. If the theme interests you, it's worth your time to read.

That said, I have two problems with the book. The first concerns the figure of John Brown himself, whose life is sufficiently well known to make it impossible to imagine a time in which he would persona...more
Matt B.
White knows how to write, but there is too much detail about place and in character development a bit too little.
Cain, our hero, spends way too much time fruitlessly justifying his despicable trade of slave catching and the reader of course knows he will mend his ways and see the light despite his insistence on Southern honor and that the business in legal.
The love interest, the beautiful slave Rosetta, is a modern, self-confident, defiant woman thrust back in time.
Why does a man like Cain have...more
Deon Stonehouse
Soul Catcher by Michael White, is set in the years leading up to the Civil War. Augustus has one talent, catching slaves. It is a proficiency that gives no satisfaction, he vows to quit. Augustus is not an easy man; he doesn’t get along real well with any living creature except his horse. And he is a bit too fond of gambling and liquor. He awakens one morning to find wealthy Mr. Eberly and a thug ready to offer him a proposition. It seems Augustus imbibed too much and wagered injudiciously the p...more
Gina Marcelin
I stopped this book at page 79. I couldn't go any further. With lines like "Why would someone want to run away from a place where all his needs were taken care of, where he only had to do what he was told and life would unfold agreeably."
I just find it hard to believe that the life of a slave was that great. The writer should read up on the writing of slaves before he attempts to write with their voice.
Ken
It is a well researched book about the state of slavery during the 1850's America. The main character, Cain, is a slave catcher doing one last job. The story takes the reader through the contentious times and happenings not many years before the Civil War.
Molly Shiflet
This novel is set in the 1850s right before the Civil War. The main character, Augustus Cain, is a well known slave catcher in the south. He is often referred to as a "soul catcher" be causes he tracks down runaway sllaves in the north and forces them back into slavery. He receives a job to track down a female slave named Rosetta from a rich planter named Eberly. After catching the slave, Cain surprisingly begins to fall in love with her. He is faced with the decision of whether or not to return...more
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Soul Catcher gives a fascinating look at a moral and spiritual ne'er-do-well, who must confront the demons of his past and the injustices of his present, while being put through a test of the most extreme physical and emotional endurance possible. An important look at a dark period in American history, White's novel evocatively captures the turbulent pre-Civil War climate and the nation's trauma o...more
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