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 six books, all of which I have read. The entire series is listed here at Goodreads.
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 enjoyed 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 and a great opener for a series, just don’t expect a romantic happily-ever-after ending. Still, I liked it enough to read the sequel, The Memorist, which I loved. I recommend this series highly.