The Soul Keepers
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 28th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
“A fantastic high-stakes adventure on a ghost ship sailing forever into eternity, where every soul is (literally) worth fighting for—what’s not to love? Devon Taylor weaves an endearing tale of friendship and loss with heart-stopping action and a whole lot of terrifying monsters. You’ll root for Rhett and his fellow reapers through every twist and turn!” —Rin Chupeco, author of The Bone Witch and The Girl from the Well
Full of danger, stormy otherworld seas, ghost ships, and terrifying monsters, this thrilling debut novel is perfect for fans of Taran Matharu and Neal Shusterman.
Death is just the beginning.
After dying in a terrible car accident, Rhett awakens in the afterlife and is recruited to join the crew of theHarbinger, a colossal seafaring vessel tasked with ferrying the souls of the dead. To where exactly, no one knows. But the crew must get the souls there, and along the way protect them from vicious soul-eating monsters that will stop at nothing to take the ship and all of its occupants.
Rhett and his new friends have a hard enough time fighting back the monsters that grow bolder and more ferocious every day. But then a new threat emerges, a demon who wants something that Rhett has. And if she gets it, it could mean the end of everything… for both the living and the dead.
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, The Soul Keepers is a pulse-pounding, cinematic adventure by debut author Devon Taylor.
The light swallowed him up, and so did the ship. Rhett waited for his eyes to adjust, but they didn’t need to. They didn’t burn or water from the brightness. He could see just fine. Nevertheless, the light was so intense that it hammered into his retinas, shining off the white metal of the walls. If he had been alive, he might have been blinded.
He stepped farther in, following the foggy shape of Basil’s shoul- ders into the brilliance. Their feet clanged on the floor. Rhett felt himself reaching out in front of him, prepared to slam into some oncoming mass.
Then he did run into something: Basil.
“Oy! Watch where you’re going,” Basil hissed. Rhett took a step back. He heard an iron screech and Basil’s voice again. “Through here.” And all at once the light was gone, replaced by an unsettled orange
glow that was constantly wrestling with the shadows. Firelight. Rhett shifted on his feet and heard the creak of wood beneath him. Whatever metal hallway they’d gone through to get inside the ship was gone. They were now standing in a large, open cavity.
There were splintered wood floors and wooden railings that went all the way around the periphery. The most curious thing was in the middle, jutting up out of the floor and connecting with the ceil- ing, almost like a support. It was a ship’s mast, complete with the worn-out, weather-beaten sail. Up at the top, where the mast met the ceiling, Rhett could see the crow’s nest, a rickety basket that leaned precariously to one side.
Rhett didn’t quite know what to make of it. And in the gloom of the torches that were leaning away from the outer walls, it was hard to say that he was still on the same boat. Had Basil performed an- other one of his party tricks and sent them somewhere else? To an- other point in time altogether? Was that even possible?
He didn’t know. He didn’t know anything about how any of this worked. Was this hell? Was this some kind of punishment?
All at once, Rhett wanted to weep. But when he imagined the pressure behind his eyes, imagined the tears falling down his face, it was only an image that floated up in his mind. His body stayed calm and still and . . . lifeless. There was no sweat on his hands, no tremble in his fingers. His body betrayed nothing of the chaos that was erupting in his head.
Desperately, he looked to Basil, who had given him that tiny bit of comfort back in the woods. But Basil was smiling, watching Rhett and allowing that internal panic to play out.
Basil said one thing, leaning in with his arms folded: “Welcome aboard the Harbinger.”
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Devon Taylor was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters. His day job consists of sneaking around the house with ninja-like stealth to avoid waking up his kids. When not writing, reading, or tediously typing out text messages with all the correct spelling and punctuation, he spends his time with his family. THE SOUL KEEPERS is his debut novel.
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