A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present.
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.
About the Author
M.J. Rose is the international bestselling author of twelve novels, one of which (The Reincarnationist) was the basis of the television series Past Lives. She is a founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense…
"A compelling page turner...Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted." --Associated Press
"M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself." --Laura Lippman
"Deliciously sensual...Rose imbues her characters with rich internal lives in a complex plot that races to a satisfying finish." --Publisher's Weekly (starred)
"An absorbing and thrilling ride through the centuries." --Library Journal
“A fascinating mystery with many twists and turns…combines intrigue with a touch of history and a lesson in the art of making exotic perfume, a bit of education mixed with the proverbial whodunit.” --The Free Lance-Star Review
"The Book of Lost Fragrances resonates with spirit, blending myth with reality, tragedy with triumph, pain with joy. You'll find yourself questioning everything you believe ---- and wanting more." --New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
“Provocative…a sweeping sense of romance [and] history.” --Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose is an amazing novel, an utterly engrossing thriller that weaves together reincarnation, ancient Egypt, international intrigue, and a lost book of fragrances. Elegantly written, with unforgettable characters and flawlessly realized international settings, here is a novel that will keep you up all night—and leave you with powerful feelings of revelation, wonder, and the infinitude of human possibility." --New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston
"A simmering brew that mingles the erotic sensuality of Patrick Suskind's Perfume with the dark and timeless obsessions of Rider Haggard's classic, She. M.J. Rose has once again dipped deep into the flask of history and brought those rich aromas of the past back to life through the eyes of Jac L'Etoile, a woman who has mastered the scent of conflict, passion and danger." --New York Times bestselling author Katherine Neville
"A bewitching brew of history and suspense, as well as a deeply felt love story that transcends time, THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES had me spellbound from the very beginning, taking me from Ancient Egypt to Napoleonic France to the modern day. This is a book full of delicious surprises, superb research, and brilliantly drawn characters that will live on in your heart long after you turn the last page." --Anne Fortier, author of JULIET
"THE BOOK OF LOST FRAGRANCES is one of those rare novels that reminds us of the beauty and enormous complexity of the human soul. The way Rose uses perfume's evocative power is both intelligent and intriguing - triggering her characters memories of their current lives as well as memories of their past lives. This novel is a marvelous discovery." --Javier Sierra
"Clever, with beguiling characters, a wonderful mixture of suspense and pace and good old fashioned storytelling, and the research never gets in the way of the plot." --Kate Mosse, Author of Labyrinth, Sepulchre and The Winter Ghosts