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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Annette McCleave: SOUL GATHERERS

Author: Annette McCleave
Plot Type: SMR
Ratings: V3-4, S4, H2
Publisher and Titles: Signet Eclipse
      Drawn into Darkness (2009)
      Bound by Darkness (2010)
      Surrender to Darkness (2011)

     In the latest book in this series (Surrender to Darkness), the search goes on for more ancient religious artifacts that will help save the world. In this typical SMR story, Jamie Murdoch, a warrior infected by an inner berserker, goes to Japan to recover another artifact—the Veil. Of course, the holder of the Veil turns out to be his soul mate (Kiyoko), who is on the brink of transcending to immortality. A villainous demon endangers them both as he tries to steal the Veil for himself.

     Here is a series synopsis: The soul gatherers are immortal penitents, warriors who must atone for their sins by spending five hundred years collecting the souls of departed mortals and delivering them either to heaven or hell, always on the alert for demons who want to steal the souls for their own dark purposes. These warriors work for Death, who is an actual person, a woman who has her own nefarious purposes as she manipulates her warriors. Plots revolve more around the recovery of ancient, biblical artifacts (e.g., the coins used to pay Judas) than around the actual gathering of souls. 
Each book tells the SMR story of one soul gatherer and his lady love. Drawn into Darkness follows soul gatherer Lachlan MacGregor and his true love, Rachel, as they battle the villain, Drusus, for possession of the Linen (yet another artifact). A side plot involves Rachel’s daughter, Emily, who is of great interest to both Drusus and Death. Bound by Darkness follows Brian and Lena, both soul gatherers, as they search for ancient coins that could destroy the world. 
     McCleave has posted a glossary on her website that explains some of the vocabulary of her world. On that same web page, she also includes brief biographies of the soul gatherers. Surrender to Darkness includes its own glossary, mostly Japanese mythological terms.

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