Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Book Review Club (The Reincarnationist)

The Reincarnationist

by M. J. Rose

I've always been fascinated by the idea of reincarnation, so when I discovered this book, I had to read it. This is the first in a series of, so far, two books, and I hope there will be more.

After being injured in a suicide bombing in Rome, photographer Josh Ryder starts having flashbacks to two previous lives: one in 19th c. New York, the other in Rome c. 390 AD. The earlier life is more compelling, both to him and the reader, as he was a pagan priest in love with a Vestal Virgin at the time when all pagans were being persecuted by the now-powerful Christians.

Problem is, he doesn't believe in reincarnation, so he goes to the Phoenix Foundation, which only treats children troubled by past life memories. Josh is given access to the foundation's library in exchange for photographing their work. When the tomb of a Vestal Virgin is uncovered outside Rome, the archeologists discover the perfectly preserved skeleton of a woman Josh knows was named Sabina, and a box containing six precious gems that may be the fabled Memory Stones that can reveal past lives. But someone will kill to possess the Memory Stones. As past and present collide, Josh and archeologist Gabriella Chase embark on a life and death quest to decipher the stones.

The plot is very complex but the story moves along nicely. I liked the reincarnation theme and I loved the book right up to the ending, which I found abrupt and shocking. (What can I say, I'm a romance reader. I'm used to the HEA.)

I liked the quotes from famous people interspersed throughout the book, like this one from Rudyard Kipling:
They will come back, come back again,
As long as the red earth rolls.
He never wasted a leaf or a tree.
Do you think he would squander souls?

The Reincarnationist is an excellent thriller, just don't expect a romantic happily-ever-after ending. Still, I liked it enough to read the sequel, The Memorist, which I loved and will review next month.


The Book Review Club
is the brain child of Tween/Teen Author Barrie Summy. Click on the Book Club graphic to read her review and for links other club members.


Barrie said...

An abrupt and shocking ending? Okay, now I'm very intrigued.

D.A. Riser said...

I could be wrong, but I think I recall that the interesting thing about MJ Rose was that she began as a self-published author. Good review!

Bina said...

Here via Barrie. Hello!

Great book review. Sounds like one I would LOVE to read, but lately, I don't like to "think" about what I'm reading too much (you ever get that way? Just read to enjoy the story) so, is it complicated or can I read it with the TV and kids screaming in the background??? LOL

pattinase (abbott) said...

I've been meaning to read this. Thanks for reminding me.

Linda McLaughlin said...

D. A. yes, she started out self published and made a big success of it.

Bina, I think you could read it with noise in the background. I meant complicated plot in the sense that it's not easy to describe quickly in a review, but the book reads fast and I found it quite absorbing.

I'm off to Las Vegas this AM but will check back when I can and try to read everyone else's reviews.

Anonymous said...

Linda, THE REINCARNATIONIST (an invented word in itself which I like!) has a refreshing plot. He's been misunderstood by the child psychologists! Much work went into this twisted plot. Thanks for sharing, Linda.
Kathleen Rowland

Anonymous said...

The reincarnation theme seems like it would be similar to a time travel theme, which I love. Sounds great!

Keri Mikulski said...

What a gorgeous cover. :)

Thanks for the review!

Teresa said...

Thanks for recommending this series of books, Linda. It was a really interesting read, but like you, the second book was my favorite.

Sarah Laurence said...

It sounds like an author could get a lot of milage out of reincarnation. Interesting review.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Sarah, yes, reincarnation provides fertile ground for story ideas. I've got a couple myself. Whether I'll ever write them, that's another question.