When Tomas was six, someone–something–tried to drown him. And burn him to a crisp. Tomas survived, but whatever was trying to kill him freaked out his parents enough to convince them to move from Slovakia to the United States.

Now sixteen-year-old Tomas and his family are back in Slovakia, and that something still lurks somewhere. Nearby. Ready to drown him again and imprison his soul in a teacup.

Then there’s the fire víla, the water ghost, the pitchfork-happy city folk, and Death herself who are all after him.

All this sounds a bit comical, unless the one haunted by water ghosts and fire vílas or doing time in a cramped, internet-deprived teacup is you.

If Tomas wants to survive, he’ll have to embrace the meaning behind the Slovak proverb, So smrťou ešte nik zmluvu neurobil. With Death, nobody makes a pact.


“VODNIK is compelling, interesting and darkly humorous. I think you’ll love it.”

Brandon Sanderson, NY Times bestselling author of the Mistborn trilogy

“A first encounter with racism blends well with a compelling fantasy adventure […] a shy boy blossoms in this suprisingly witty debut.”


“Bryce Moore has done something most authors can’t do; he has created a story with a completely different type of mythology […] The author has created a great new type of mystery and legend, and I’m one reader who can’t wait to see if this story continues to develop.”

School Library Journal

“What’s really cool about VODNIK is the fact that it’s a cross between urban fantasy and Slovakian folk- and fairy tales and it works really really well […] This is a great YA book and a good one for adults as well.”

Best Fantasy Books

“VODNIK is quite a page-turner with interesting twists full of humor and suspense till the end. Moore includes all the aspects of a brilliant fantasy novel that adolescents will love: a twisted family history, castles, cute girls, ancient crypts, buried treasure, and wicked but comical mythical creatures.”

Signal Journal

“The world needs more books like VODNIK, and I for one am glad that people like Bryce keep popping up. I highly recommend this book, and pray to the book gods that there are more to come. Here’s to a great entry in Urban Fantasy!”

Beyond Dragons and Wizards

“With a great combination of humor and suspense, VODNIK is a great read. The supernatural elements are fresh and interesting, and the inclusion of Slovakian folklore makes for new takes on supernatural creatures […] It’s nice to see a supernatural novel that neither runs on the now cliché supernatural tropes or a romance.”

The Library Privateer

“Readers looking for a unique twist on paranormal, or who have interest in Eastern Europe or mythology, will definitely be satisfied with VODNIK.”

The Story Girl

“A terrific YA novel.”

Elitist Book Reviews

“Well-written, unique, and clever. It’s a breath of fresh air in a very popular genre, and I can’t wait to see what Moore gives us next.”

Dan Wells, The New York Times bestselling author of Partials

Awards & Accolades