Review: Infinite Sacrifice
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading L.E. Waters’ Infinite Sacrifice, the first in the Infinite series. The synopsis seemed intriguing enough with the promise of a trip through some of my favourite parts of history but how vivid would these moments be?
The novel begins with the spirit Maya who believes she has reached heaven only for a spirit guide to inform her the journey is far from over. In order to continue her journey, Maya must relive previous existences she has lived throughout history and find the valuable lessons she has learned from each manifestation. The novel then proceeds to tell four distinct stories taking us to Ancient Egypt, Sparta, Ireland and Denmark at the time of the Vikings, as well as plague-ridden Europe in the 14th century.
After an intriguing opening the novel quickly gets going with the first setting in Ancient Egypt. The idea is that Maya has been a different person in each period of history and that the souls of her contemporaries with distinct features and characteristics also reappear in different times as different characters. At the end of each part there is a table listing the principal characters in each age and their equivalents in the next period of history. Maya is a High Priest in Ancient Egypt that is devoted to religion but not shy when it comes to corruption; she is a devoted mother in militaristic Sparta with a secret to hide; she is then an Irish boy accidentally abducted by Vikings during a raid; in the final life she is a Doctor’s wife who abandons her husband to care for two children in plague-infested London.
Due to the different historical settings and characters the novel does feel like a selection of short stories rather than a continuous narrative. I didn’t feel this hindered the book but other readers may disagree. Having met Maya in the prologue who is our main character, we don’t encounter her again until the epilogue and learn little about her. Although we live through her various incarnations they are very different characters. The settings themselves are fantastic and give you a real feel of the period of history. These are some of favourite areas of history and although I would normally favour the Vikings, I felt the story set in Sparta was the strongest one on offer here. It had me gripped the most of the four.
Infinite Sacrifice was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out or work but I felt that L.E. Waters handled the narrative well and there is clearly a lot of research been done to get the historical periods right. The lack of knowledge about Maya is both a downside and a plus point. On the downside the prologue and epilogue feel weak compared to the rest of the book but at the same time they give just enough information away to make me intrigued and eager to read the next instalment.
Infinite Sacrifice is a terrific journey through four lives and memorable visits to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and two periods of Medieval Europe. I’m a great lover of history and will be more than happy to try the next instalment in this series Infinite Devotion which promises visits to Renaissance Italy and even sailing with the Spanish Armada. I can’t wait!
(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)