After barely surviving a terrorist bomb, Josh Ryder starts to have visions of 4th century Roman life which are so vivid and disturbing, he turns to a foundation specializing in past-life regressions for help. It is through them that he ends up at an archeological dig in Rome that not only contains the mummified remains of a vestal virgin/past-life lover but also some pagan memory stones which may help prove the validity of reincarnation once and for all. Naturally, these stones are stolen and Josh becomes one of many players in a high-stakes race to get them back.
Many other reviewers have compared this to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, and I have to admit that’s the first comparison I made while reading as well. Both focus on a controversial topic, have antagonists from the Catholic Church and feature exotic locations. This novel didn’t flow nearly as well as the Da Vinci Code, though the plotting is more believable.
I have always had an interest in archeology, and I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this novel – the forays into ancient Rome as well as the 1800s were rich with detail and interesting characters. It’s the present day story that could have used a bit more polish. Josh comes off as a strange combo of boring and creepily nuts and pretty archeologist Gabriella pretty much spends the entire novel reacting to tragedies by freaking out.
About midway through, I woke up in the middle of the night with an epiphany about where the novel was headed, based on the assumption that the memory stones were what the book was all about. I don’t want to go into spoilers, so I will just say that my assumption turned out to be wrong and I thought the resolution suffered for it.
Who do I think would like this? Fans of high concept thrillers, those interested in the idea of reincarnation, and yes, people who liked The Da Vinci Code (whether they admit to it or not).
And guess what? I have some copies to give away! The grand prize winner will get a two book prize pack with a paperback copy of The Reincarnationist and a hardcover copy of MJ Rose’s latest release The Memorist (which I am in the middle of now and enjoying even more). I will also give away one paperback of the Reincarnationist for every 20 people who enter the giveaway (up to 5 copies!). All you have to do is comment on this review. Comment on Author MJ Rose’s guest post later today for a second entry. The grand prize is open to US/Canada residents only, but I will send the paperbacks internationally. Enter by Saturday, December 27 at 9 pm CST. CONTEST EXTENDED TO JANUARY 6th!