Soul Scepter

Time Marauders

Young Adult - Adventure
390 Pages
Reviewed on 04/14/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Soul Scepter: Time Marauders by Eric Westergard is a speculative time travel novel that revolves around a teenager named Will Donovan who has always been singled out for 'special treatment', but not for the thing that makes him truly special. Will is the son of a notorious terrorist and it's no secret that when it comes to the sins of the father, the world can be horribly cruel and Will has been subjected to abuse from all angles, including the media. Not that it really matters when Will outwits the bullies but then gets tricked by bigger ones who carry more than paintball guns to activate a scepter he unwittingly controls back to the Dark Ages. A time in England's history when a paintball gun would actually be advantageous. Ask me later what a pebble cannon is, because it's a thing. Also launched back is the nefarious Commander Morgan, whose thirst for absolute power means that no modern president or archaic king is safe, and neither are the millions of people Morgan can and will see killed...unless Will can stop them with nothing but his wits, and get both his scepter and his lady crush back.

“Best-case scenario, I live the life of a peasant fugitive in the Dark Ages and watch as the Dreizack pillage humanity.” I mean, it could be worse, right? No. Probably not. But as a reader, I can say with some degree of authority that not only is Soul Scepter: Time Marauders by Eric Westergard good, but it's also a heck of a lot of fun. From a literary standpoint, the writing is excellent. It's polished, it's punctuated with intelligent humor, and the story unfolds at a comfortably quick, consistent pace. There are a couple of good twists and some clarity on what exactly Will's father did, or did not do. I think going into a book where the conspiracies are rife means that a reader can reasonably expect Will's bad-Dad narrative won't pass the sniff test when all is said and done. And, speaking of sniff tests, the medieval period details are woven in well, including a medical procedure that includes cauterizing wounds with a hot poker. Coincidentally, a hot poker is also how a king from this dynastic period dies in real life, but that's a different book for a different day. As for Soul Scepter and today? Very highly recommended.

Asher Syed

From the moment his father became the face of a contemporary terrorist attack, teenager Will Donovan has not known a conflict-free life in Soul Scepter: Time Marauders by Eric Westergard. Nowhere is safe from the taunting of bullies even when he believes he is among friends. Out in the desert on a drive home, Will sees his Uncle Chase in an execution-prone position among a military envoy and springs into action. Within moments Will is no longer in the present and has time-traveled back to medieval England. This is not a freak accident. Will struggles to come to terms with where he is and figure out how to survive when he realizes that the commander of the envoy, Morgan, has plans to take over the world, beginning in a time period without the technological advances we now know. However, the scepter that Will's family holds and the heightened strength and intelligence they share are just the tip of the iron sword.

From the beginning of Soul Scepter: Time Marauders by Eric Westergard there is no ambiguity about Will Donovan being special. He displays extreme degrees of dexterity and tactical skill next to different scenes where his uncle exhibits the same. I wonder why a family who should be able to see that Will is ready to know what he is a product of leaves it so long to tell him, really when it is too late to protect him. Still, following Will's discovery is part of the fun and definitely a large piece of the character arc. I don't believe that anyone could say with a straight face that they never imagined what it would be like to go back in time and change history in their favor, buying a winning lottery ticket or writing the book that would make them a household name. Morgan amplifies this by a billion and we are reminded of the dangers. Time travel is usually in the science fiction, fantasy, or superhero genres, and at first, it was not clear what this book was. Westergard clears this up later in the book and it is classic science fiction. The writing and storytelling are top-notch and I look forward to seeing where we are taken next.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

“Stand, and fear not, for time is your ally. Be where you are meant to be.” Profound words to live by, as recorded in Soul Scepter: Time Marauders by Eric Westergard. After an adventure that spanned the present day and the Middle Ages, Will was committed to seeking his place in the present. It’s not as if he had it easy growing up. His father was accused of being a terrorist and died before he could defend himself. Will never believed it to be true, but everyone else did, and Will suffered abuse and bullying from many of his classmates. Will and his friend Danny, together with Danny’s sister Celeste, find themselves in another era, another country, and fighting a series of battles not of their making. All for the possession of this powerful orb that only Will, his Uncle Chase, and his late father could activate. It contained great power and it drew Will, his friends, and his uncle back in time. Everyone seems to want this orb, known as the soul scepter. Can Will hold onto it and protect his friends, all while managing the power within and keeping history secure in its original timeline?

Eric Westergard’s young adult novel Soul Scepter is a fantasy adventure like no other. Set in two time periods, the journey is interspersed with gruesome battles and forging friendships, both past and present. The tale begins with a simple paintball battle, with Will’s team against that of the bullies. It seemed an unfair balance as Will struggled to maintain his dignity and pride when assaulted with verbal attacks on his family’s integrity. That never changed. But when the battle ends, Will and his friends stumble on an even more deadly conflict that takes them back to the Middle Ages. Young readers will be riveted by this story that jumps from one compelling and intense battle scene to the next, all the while harnessing the power of friendship and collaboration. It’s a learning journey for Will and his friends, one that includes discovering the history of medieval England firsthand. Will struggles to comprehend and control the growing bond he has with this powerful orb - the soul scepter. A powerful and adventure-filled read.

Grant Leishman

Soul Scepter: Time Marauders by Eric Westergard is an action-packed, rollercoaster of a time-travel tale. Sixteen-year-old Will Donovan has long lived with the stigma that his father was a terrorist responsible for a bomb explosion that caused death and destruction. Will’s scientist uncle, Chase, is heavily involved in a government project that involves activating and utilizing a mysterious scepter that appears to have extraterrestrial origins. Little does Will understand that it is only he and his uncle who can successfully activate this powerful potential weapon. When a terrorist organization seeks to ambush the research facility and steal the scepter, Chase and the President flee with the weapon. When Will and his friends stumble across his uncle and the President being attacked by the terrorists, he doesn’t stop to think but immediately runs to their assistance. Will manages to get his hands on the scepter but when he accidentally presses it, he transports all the combatants back to the English Middle Ages, to the fourteenth century. Will and his best friend’s sister, Celeste find themselves near the small English village of Arundel where they must not only negotiate their survival but also recover the scepter and put an end to the terrorists' plans in medieval England to establish themselves as living gods and rulers of the Earth.

Soul Scepter is a full-on action adventure that will appeal to both the young adult market as well as adventure lovers of all ages. Author Eric Westergard has created a scenario that is intriguing with lots of potential avenues to explore. The young characters of Will, Celeste, and Danny are appealing and readily identifiable to readers, with Will being constantly bullied due to his father’s notoriety and secretly feeling a romantic attraction to his best friend’s sister that he is unwilling to act upon. The author kept the time-travel conundrum at the forefront, certainly from the perspective of Will and his friends. They were constantly aware of and terrified that their actions in the Middle Ages could affect world history to the extent that they may never have been born in the future. I particularly enjoyed the contrast between the titled nobility and the vast majority of the citizens of the time who were either poor peasant farmers or scrabbling for existence in the dirty, disgusting environment that was the city of London in the 1300s. The author carries the reader along breathlessly as the young heroes attempt to thwart the evil multi-national group of terrorists who planned to rule the world with their modern understanding of technology, weapons, and warfare. This is a fun, fanciful read that allows the reader to relax from the real travails of the world and just enjoy some creative fantasy. I can highly recommend this read.

Pikasho Deka

Soul Scepter: Time Marauders is a science fiction adventure story by Eric Westergard. Sixteen-year-old Will Donovan has a hard time mingling socially due to the crimes committed by his father, Michael Donovan, a known terrorist. However, when an unexpected attack by the deadly Dreizack group on a top-secret government laboratory leads to Will coming across a mysterious scepter, he finds himself transported to medieval England with his best friend's sister, Celeste. Will and Celeste find sanctuary under the protection of Sir Edmund FitzAlan of Arundel, who instantly develops an infatuation with Celeste. But the Dreizack commander Madoc Morgan is hatching a nefarious plan to use his modern weaponry and men to subjugate humanity and change the future forever. Will and his friends must now get their hands on the scepter to confront Morgan and find their way home.

Filled with action, mystery, and romance, Soul Scepter: Time Marauders is a fantastic first entry to a promising new sci-fi adventure series. Eric Westergard's time-traveling adventure contains some stellar character work with a plot that will keep you glued to the pages from start to finish. Will is a compelling protagonist. He is introduced as an angry teenager suffering for the sins of his father, who grows into a responsible leader others look up to towards the end. I enjoyed his relationship with Celeste. Westergard moves the plot along briskly, with an accessible writing style as smooth as melted butter. Overall, a captivating tale for young adult readers.

Claudia Owens

Love the story line. I want my grandsons to read. Wish there was a movie.