The Book of Lost Fragrances (Reincarnationist Series) by M.J. Rose (Atria, 2012, 384pp.)
Ever caught a whiff of a scent that reminds you of a person or place you haven’t visited in years? The premise of Rose’s novel, The Book of Lost Fragrances, is this: what if there was a perfume that made you remember your past lives? The answer is a lot more complicated than you might think.
The L’Etoile family runs a perfume business in Paris, France that has been around for centuries. When a few shards of ancient pottery - brought home to France generations earlier - are rediscovered by the family’s modern descendants, research reveals that the clay pieces may a powerful memory tool. The shards, it turns out, are pieces of a shattered perfume bottle recovered from an Egyptian tomb, and although the perfume itself has long evaporated, the scent remains impregnated in the clay.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government, intent on destroying the Dalai Lama’s political power, hears about the L’Etoile discovery. Fearing that this memory tool will be used to find the next Panchen Lama (the Dalai Lama’s next incarnation), government officials scheme to destroy it. At the same time, Robbie L’Etoile, a devout Buddhist, looks for a way to deliver the shards safely to Tibet’s god-king. The fourth installment of Rose’s Reincarnationist series, The Book of Lost Fragrances uses current world politics and events to form a complex and imaginative stand-alone thriller.
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