The Collector of Dying Breaths
by M.J. Rose
published by Atria Books
I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
It turns out this is the 5th book in the author’s Reincarnationist series, yet that did not take anything away from this story, though reading the 3rd and 4th books might help little with the backstory. I really enjoyed this book, as I love when there is a story behind things such as scents and flowers. I loved the story of the perfumer Rene le Florentin, his apprenticeship with the Monks, and his eventual rise to perfumer of the powerful Catherine de Medici. There was so much espionage, intrigue, and murder in the royal court. Add to that the powerful motivation to find the secret f immortality by collecting the dying breath of a person.
The story goes back and forth between Rene and present day with mythologist Jac L’Etoile. Hers is the story that might be aided by reading the previous two books in the series, but only a little. She becomes embroiled in finishing the work of Rene, after the mysterious death of her brother.
A great read that I did not want to put down- I definitely recommend this book!
Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.
Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.