The third novel in Batchelder’s (Soul Intent, 2009, etc.) series concerning the commercial side of the everlasting soul.
The basis of the company Soul Identity was originally fairly simple: its customers could plan their future lives by tracking their souls as they progressed through cycles of reincarnation. More practically, it allowed them to sock away their assets for their own future use instead of resigning them to other people upon their own deaths. The company tracks human souls with an eye scanner, but it eventually finds other uses for their incredible technology. For example, if a soul can be tracked through time, why not use it to see whom you loved in a past life? Although Rain Ekko and Val Nikolskaya inhabit different bodies in present-day Seattle, the two souls were once united in matrimony in revolutionary Cuba. Their reunion in the present day makes for a good commercial for Soul Identity, but the reality of their marriage proves to be most unpleasant. As their union disintegrates, the attractive, yoga-fit Val goes in search of her former lover, Scott Waverly, a security consultant who served as the hero of the first two books in this series. This installment begins with Scott missing in action, although he tried before the start of this book to give Val a warning regarding a threat to her own safety. After she teams up with Scott’s parents (who also work at his consulting company) and Rain’s feisty grandfather Mikk, the search is on—and danger is near. The plot incorporates flashbacks to former lives, and the immediacy of its technological advancements is reminiscent of later-period William Gibson. The fact that Scott’s doting parents are present, however, gives the tale a somewhat bizarre twist: how many heroines have said, “I’ll grill his parents about it later,” as Val does when wondering about a peculiarity in Scott’s behavior? The other supporting characters sometimes prove to be a bit silly, such as a man with a British accent who mutters “Bollocks” and “Bloody hell” in quick succession. Fans of the series who have followed Scott this far, though, will still likely be eager to discover his fate and take note of new developments as the story closes the gap between past and present.
A sometimes-thrilling, if occasionally odd, look at the convergence of the old, the new, and the fantastically high-tech.