[REVIEW] The Reincarnationist – M. J. Rose

M. J. Rose
The Reincarnationist
MIRA Books (1st September 2007)
Hardcover ISBN-10: 0778324206 ISBN-13: 978-0778324201
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So what happens when you die: become a vampire, zombie, ghost? Or do you get reincarnated, no matter how many years later?

A novel years in the making, the author takes us to contemporary Italy, where photojournalist Josh Ryder – who works for the Phoenix Foundation, which researches children’s past life regressions – visits an archaeological dig. Josh has regressed before, but now the memory lurches are happening more often and in more detail. In Ancient Rome, he was Julius, who had an affair with Vestal Virgin Sabina, whose punishment was to be buried alive.

But Julius’s isn’t the only life Josh has lived: he’s also been someone in the nineteenth century with ties to the Phoenix Club, the original version of the Foundation.

Put simply: while Josh is in a tunnel inside a tomb, the Italian professor in the tomb is injured, and the perp gets away with Memory Stones, which are said to bring on a memory lurch. Naturally, history is connected with the present, and Josh encounters people he knew in lives past.

Whilst the story is still in Italy – and Ancient Rome – it’s good. But when it moved to present-day America, my interest waned. One of the archaeologists, Professor Gabriella Chase, is given the task of translating inscriptions on the Memory Stones if she’s to save her three-year-old daughter, Quinn. I view Quinn as a plot device, as her character seems only to be there for bargaining power to get the Stones transcribed. After all, single mother Gabriella spends a lot of time on numerous digs, which equals mucho time away from Quinn, who’s looked after by her grandfather. The scenes with Quinn, her nanny and her kidnapper seemed superfluous and didn’t interest me. But another reason for her inclusion as a plot device involves Quinn’s own past life.

I can believe that people have lived past lives, and can regress. But contemporarily coming across those you’ve met before in lives past, and so many of them? That kind of stretches it.

What the author’s next novel will be is anyone’s guess.

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