Wednesday, May 13, 2009

By the Chapter: The Reincarnationist by MJ Rose

About the Book: THE REINCARNATIONIST is equal parts modern-day thriller, historical fiction and love story. With one foot in present-day Rome and New York and another in Rome some 1,600 years ago, my story is about two worlds consumed by the fires of intrigue and passion.

Photojournalist Josh Ryder survives a terrorist's bomb, only to be haunted by near hallucinatory memories of a past life in Rome as a pagan priest whose dangerous congress with Sabina, one of the Vestal Virgins, poses a transgression so serious the lovers will face a certain death if exposed. Scents of jasmine and sandalwood and images of furtive liaisons and violence descend on Josh at will, pulling him to an ancient yet strangely familiar Roman burial chamber harboring the remains of a woman clutching a wooden box.

A trail of present-day murders takes us deeper into a labyrinth at whose heart lies the enigma of a collection of ancient gems or memory stones whose origins trace back to both ancient Egypt and India. The stones' promise to "assist the wearer in reaching his next incarnation" sets the ancient and modern worlds on a collision course.

Today's Discussion: I'm about 150 pages from the end of the book and I have to say that while this book is a thriller and a really fast read, it has made me think about the concept of reincarnation quite a bit! I even brought it up with a few of my students to see what they think of it.

The thing is, I realized that I believe in Heaven for a reason! I would much rather believe in the possibility of an end to suffering as Amy of completion as me, and a place of peace and rest, than the idea of suffering through another life! The funny thing is, I think the book takes a Da Vinci Code like attitude to the Church...the Church fears reincarnation because than people can achieve nirvana on their own without the Church. But I think the Christian church truly has nothing to fear from the concept of reincarnation...there will always be people like me who believe that it sounds like a kind of hell!

Sorry for that aside! I am enjoying the book, because I am interested in learning about what happened to Julius and Sabina back in ancient Rome. But I feel sorry for Josh who is unable to fully enjoy his life in the present because he keeps experiencing things his past self experienced. He is overcome with lust for a woman who lived centuries ago! It's quite sad.

I am interested to see how things unfold for Josh, who Rachel is in relation to him, and what will happen to them all.

For those reading are you feeling about the book so far?



Meghan said...

Well, I accidentally finished the book. I meant to go slowly, but I was just reading it and I wanted to know what happened. I have no willpower!

Anyway, I was totally confused by Rachel for a while. I finally figured out what I thought she was to the story a little after where you are now, but it kind of bugged me that she was just plopped down in the story without much explanation until later.

I felt badly for Josh and all the people who are reincarnations too. I don't think that I'd want that as my future either. If I had unfinished business, I'd probably prefer to be a ghost. At least then I'd be ME and not someone floating around 2000 years in the future. Reincarnation is an interesting idea but I don't like it much. Heaven is certainly preferable, although I think reincarnation would be worth it for someone going to hell.

Julie P. said...

I thought this book was very interesting; and I actually liked the followup one THE MEMORIST even better. My book club was lucky enough to have an author chat with M.J. Rose, and let me tell you.. she is one smart woman! Not only do I like her writing, but she is a very good business woman!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds like it would be a great book to discuss with a book club.

Blodeuedd said...

Eeek, got it today, seems I have some reading to do :)
Will get back to you

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sending me a copy of this book!:) I am a little behind on my reading and just started this one a couple of days ago.. but I like what I am reading until now..

Marcia said...

Like Meghan I couldn't put it down. I actually finished Sunday, I think, and didn't want to say anything. :-) My feelings about reincarnation and past/future lives are a bit different from some of those expressed here. I find parts of Josh's life absolutely fascinating. I guess that's the history bug in me. I'd love to be able to 'go back' and live some of the history I've read about.

I also wasn't sure how Rachel was going to tie into the storyline as it went along as she seemed so out of the place for a while. I thought the author did a very nice job of brining her in.

I very much enjoyed this book right until the very, very end.

Amy said...

Meghan..It didn't annoy me that Rachel's identity took a while to be seems typical for a book like this. I suppose reincarnation would be preferable to hell. ;)

Julie...I also have that one to read, and I look forward to it!

Kathy...there is certainly plenty to discuss. worries!

Ramya..again no worries and enjoy!

Marcia..I'm finished now as well! I enjoyed reading it as history, but I think if it was happening to me I'd find it terribly distracting.

MJRose said...

Hi everyone... A google alert sent me here - thank you all so much for reading my book. I won't intrude but if you want me to come back and talk to you about it - just write me at and if you're interested FOX TV picked up a series last night based on the book. It will be on in the fall - Past Life.

Blodeuedd said...

I am around page 200 now, and I am liking it. Makes me sad though to read how "pagans" were persecuted, just as the persecutors had been earlier. Yes i am all for why can't all just get along and get to believe what they want.

I couldn't imagine Josh in my head, until a stumbled upon the post that the book is being picked up. So that is fun and i am sure to watch it.

Josh and Gabriella could it be, and who is Rachel, I have a sneaking idea, but I must read more.

Even if it mostly makes me feel sad I like the flashbacks, or memories. I wanna know more about those stones, because I do like the idea of reincarnation, not all this about karma and bugs and stuff. But you are supposed to learn things and then be a part of the whole universe. An eternity in heaven, well what are you supposed to do there

S. Krishna said...

I enjoyed this book - can't wait for your final review!

Nancy said...

I liked the book- intriguing story, quick paced kept me wanting more. But I agree with you. I like the thought that at some point my soul will leave this life and have peace. Who wants to continue to live out their lives making the same mistakes? Even the ones that I wish I could go back and change- I have learned from them and become (I hope) a better person.
I also felt that it had a distinct similarity to The Da Vinci Code, not only with the church, but also the way the action scenes were strung together.
Thanks for the book and discussion.

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