*I received a free ARC of this book. The choice to review and views expressed are my own.*
Blurb: When Olivia becomes a volunteer at St. John’s hospital for NODA (No One Dies Alone), her first patient is Viktor Erikson, an elderly man whose hand she is to hold until, hopefully, a family member arrives.
In the last hours of his life, Viktor asks Olivia to read aloud the ancient leather-bound book he carries with him always, The Ethics of Immortality. As Olivia begins reading the story of Viktor and Morgana Erikson—who sail the seas, find adventure, and plan to live together forever—she assumes that it is a fictionalized account of her patient’s ancestors. After all, how could the same Viktor be alive in both 1839 and now in 2053?
But the deeper Olivia delves into the story, the more she begins to question. Could this be the same Viktor? Is Morgana coming to save him? And did they really discover the water of life?
What is Insensible Loss?
Medical: the amount of water lost on a daily basis from the lungs, skin, and respiratory tract; the exact amount cannot be measured.
Wilderness survival: unawareness that water loss is actually occurring; loss during high-intensity action simply breathed away, evaporated, and never realized.
– Paul Michael Peters, Website link
This book is superb.
The story is riveting, the characters unpredictable and fascinating, the twists deft and the writing flawless. I was unsure how the title related to the whole, until I looked up the definition above (Which is included at the beginning of the ebook, but my Kindle chose to skip for some reason!). Water indeed runs through the narrative, and loss does too; when not of life, or morals, or self.
The central narrative flips between Olivia, in a futuristic setting, reading aloud to Viktor as he dies, and the setting of the memoir she reads, from 1839. The hospital sections consider life, death and the humanity of no one dying alone. The ‘fictional’ chapters contain adventure (on and off the high seas), treasure, the search for the fountain of life, romance, intrigue and a whole lot of backstabbing between friends.
Trust, power, love and murder for various ends are ethically examined from different angles, and the extent to which power and money can corrupt even the purest people and motives. These themes are not preached at the reader but are embedded and woven in a gripping plot that twists and turns in unexpected directions.
Paul Michael Peters has come up with a new approach to the legend of the Fountain of Youth and his explanation and exploration of how it works, the decisions to be made and the consequences thereof is completely fascinating.
I’m keeping this review short, as I don’t want to give away too much about the book, as I want you to all read it and see for yourselves!
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any adult readers (some sex, a few murders, some quite gruesome) who like a well-written, unique action tale with deeper layers. 5 star fiction.
“Being good at a thing has nothing to do with it. Being able to live with a thing is everything.”– ‘Viktor Erikson’, Paul Michael Peters, Insensible Loss