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The Memoristby M. J. Rose
Synopses & Reviews
The dreads are back. As a child, Meers Logan was haunted by memories of another time and place, always accompanied by the faint strains of elusive music. Now the hand of the past has reached out again. An envelope addressed to her and delivered to the Phoenix Foundation—an institute dedicated to the recovery of past life memories—contains a childhood drawing of an elaborate box that Meers recognizes and a sheet from an auction catalog identifying the object—which she spent years imagining— as an eighteenth-century gaming box.
Determined to unlock the mystery of who she once was, she travels to Vienna to find the box. With each step, she comes closer to remembering the connections between a clandestine reincarnationist society, the lost Memory Flute linked to Ludwig van Beethoven and rumored to open the door to the past, and to David Yalom, a journalist who knows all too well how the past affects the future.
"Near the start of Rose's fascinating follow-up to The Reincarnationist (2007), Meer Logan visits the Manhattan office of Malachai Samuels, the erudite head of a reincarnation foundation. When Malachai shows her an auction catalogue photo of a gaming box once owned by a friend of Ludwig van Beethoven, the photo closely resembles a sketch Meer made as a child based on what Meer wishes were false memories. Malachai believes Meer has been haunted by past-life memories, in particular those of Margaux Neidermier, whose husband in 1814 asked Beethoven to decipher a song inscribed on an ancient flute. The box turns out to contain a Beethoven letter suggesting the composer didn't destroy the 'memory flute' as he claimed to have done at the time. When the box is stolen soon after Meer examines it, she heads to Vienna for answers. Alas, others are on the same trail, including FBI Special Agent Lucien Glass of the Art Crime Team, Austrian authorities and assorted thieves. Rose skillfully blends past-life mysteries with present-day chills. The result is a smashing good read. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Do you have memories from an earlier life? Do you remember marching with Napoleon? Bantering with Shakespeare? Making whoopee with Cleopatra? If so, you probably should rush out and buy M.J. Rose's "The Memorist," because Rose believes that your memories are more likely fact than fantasy. Indeed, her ambitious new novel strikes me as the "Gone With the Wind" — or, at the very least, "The Da Vinci... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) Code" — of reincarnationist fiction. Her complex story starts in the present but carries us deep into the past. Her heroine is a young woman named Meer Logan, who since childhood has been tormented by visions she cannot understand. Her father, a student of reincarnation, tells her these are past-life memories: "Deja vu and coincidence are God tapping you on the shoulder, telling you to pay attention, showing you that you are walking in the footprint of your own reincarnation." But Meer stubbornly resists Dad's theories, insisting that she is only experiencing "false memories" based on something she saw or read or imagined as a child. Then an elaborately carved box that Meer has imagined and sketched since childhood turns up in Vienna. It contains a letter from Ludwig van Beethoven concerning a "memory flute" that, according to legend, can produce music that will unlock past memories. The rest of the novel, based in and around Vienna, involves a search for this long-missing "memory tool." Meer and her father want it for its scientific value and the relief it can bring to troubled people. However, "The Memorist" is very much a thriller, and these truth-seekers are threatened by villains who seek the flute because it is potentially worth millions of dollars. We have entered a world of "memory lurches," "past life memory trauma," "binaural beats," "circular time" and "harmonic resonance." As Meer visits Beethoven's home for the first time, she has a vision of an aristocratic woman named Margaux Neidermier who in 1814 worked with the great composer to protect the mysterious flute. The reader soon concludes that Meer was Margaux in a previous life. As Meer's visions of Vienna in 1814 become more painful and detailed, she reluctantly accepts that possibility. (Perhaps because Beethoven is rather grumpy, not to mention deaf, Rose also involves Margaux in a flirtation with Czar Alexander of Russia, who's in town for the Congress of Vienna.) Eventually, Meer and others in the story find they share memories from an even more distant time, when the flute was created. They are all locked in a continuing drama that extends from antiquity to 1814 to the present. Here Meer reflects on beliefs at the heart of the story: "What she and (her friend) Sebastian were experiencing was what her father had told her about. What ancient sages, followers of Pythagoras and Jung, early Christians, pagans and Kabbalists had identified as being connected to what was known as same soul consciousness. People are part of one great cosmic awareness, her father had tried to explain in different ways over the years. And souls who'd bonded in several lives over time and grown together through the millennia were eventually able to communicate with each other without words through that awareness." Rose buttresses her case by quoting many notables who have embraced reincarnation, from Walt Whitman to Jack London to Leo Tolstoy. Another plot, which eventually connects with Meer's story, concerns an Israeli journalist, David Yalom, whose wife, children and parents were killed by terrorists. A conference of international security experts is meeting in Vienna, and its delegates will attend a special performance of Beethoven's Third Symphony by the Vienna Philharmonic. To gain revenge on the people who failed to protect his family, Yalom enters ancient catacombs under the symphony hall to set off an explosion that will kill everyone at the concert, including Meer and her friends. Will this mad plot succeed? Rose concocts a fanciful ending that is a good deal more interesting than having 3,000 music lovers blown to smithereens. It probably helps to believe in reincarnation to appreciate this novel, but it isn't essential. I don't believe in it, but I do believe in good writing, and Rose is an unusually skillful storyteller. Her polished prose and intricate plot will grip even the most skeptical reader. Whatever your views on reincarnation, "The Memorist," which is a sequel to last year's "The Reincarnationist," is first-rate fiction. Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, whose e-mail address is mondaythrillers(at symbol)aol.com, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"Rose raises the stakes for her ensemble until events come to an excruciatingly tense crescendo....Entertaining." People Magazine [A People Book Pick]
Since childhood, Meers Logan has been haunted by memories of another time and place. Now the hand of the past has reached out again, in the form of a drawing of an 18th-century gaming box. Determined to unlock the mystery, Meers travels to Vienna to find the box.
About the Author
M.J. Rose is the international bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, and The Hypnotist. She is a founding member and board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com.
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