The Collector of Dying Breaths

Written by M.J. Rose
Review by Alana White

Set in late 16th-century and present-day France, The Collector of Dying Breaths continues the tale of mythologist Jac L’Etoile, whose beloved brother, Robbie, lying desperately ill in the hospital, implores her to complete the secret work he has begun with a mysterious woman named Melinoe Cypros. At first Jac resists Robbie’s plea since that would mean embracing her ability to access past-life memories, which she desperately does not want to do. Soon enough, however, in a story told alongside that of René le Florentine, the Italian perfumer to Queen Catherine de’ Medici in 1500s France, Jac and her ex-lover, Griffin North, find themselves drawn into a centuries-old quest to unlock the secret to immortality.

René le Florentine is desperate to reanimate his dead lover, Isabeau, one of Queen Catherine’s “flying squadron” of female spies, who are as smart as they are beautiful. Present-day Melinoe Cypros is a wealthy art collector determined to hold her precious collection by her side, now and in her next life. But how? By discovering the secret of reanimating the dying breaths they have collected in jars – to do that, they must create the alchemical solution, or elixir, for which there is an as yet unfinished formula.

Reincarnation, poison, magic, astrology and deft descriptions of the whys and wherefores of the fascinating world of fragrances waft their way through this tale of greed, love lost and regained, and the passionate search for immortality in a lush story sure to please the many readers who have awaited this latest entry in the popular Jac L’Etoile series.