M.J. Rose,
The Reincarnationist
(MIRA, 2007)

A terrorist bombing in Rome plunges photographer Josh Ryder into a maelstrom that has him questioning his sanity. He experiences flashbacks that are more than mere deja vu; these are convincing episodes of another life in the 4th century A.D.

Seeking answers, Ryder turns to the Phoenix Foundation, a research facility scientifically investigating cases of past-life experiences. This connection leads him once more back to Rome and an archaeological dig that intensifies his regressions. The ancient tomb holds a secret connected to his past, a secret that prompts murder and theft and plunges Ryder into more danger, hints of other lives and an effort to save a woman who may have shared his experiences in several lifetimes.

The concept of reincarnation is rooted in ancient history, and an unwillingness to accept death as an end is at the root of most religions. It is integral to Hinduism and Buddhism. While in conflict with modern Christianity, which sees the soul passing directly to Heaven or Hell and not into another body, such was not entirely the case in the early church. The teachings of Origen and, later, the Cathars are examples of its influence on thought. Noting her own interest in the subject, author M.J. Rose appends a list of books for further reading.

Whether you accept the possibility of reincarnation or not, Rose has once again crafted a fast-moving and skillfully plotted thriller guaranteed to keep the reader turning pages. Though I suspected the villain before the end, the conclusion still came as a surprising and satisfying twist.

review by
John R. Lindermuth

22 December 2007

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