This stand alone fantasy novel by Australian author Traci Harding has me eagerly looking up her backlist for more tales of reincarnation, karma, and a love that spans the ages.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The adventure of a lifetime… or two, or three
When Sara is gifted a beautiful antique chair as a wedding present, she is completely unaware that it is one of a unique pair. On the other side of the world, the chair’s twin is presented to a reclusive artist, Jon, as a birthday gift.
The two new owners are thrust into a mind-expanding adventure through the ages – medieval East Anglia, Scotland, France and India. In each instance they experience significant junctions in their lives past, to remember and redress ripples of karma they set in motion, and thwart an evil entity that still threatens their present day lives.
Their journey exposes a cursed love affair spanning one thousand years and ten thousand miles. Only the full realisation of their own short comings will prevent the tragic reoccurring outcome of their immortal bind.
I was hooked very early into reading The Immortal Bind as I have always been curious about the idea of reincarnation and karmic justice. In the novel’s opening, we are told ‘there are many paths a soul might take in an attempt to nullify effects of past deeds and disentangle from the reincarnation cycle of the earthly realms that the Hindu and the Buddhist call Samsara’. Sara and Jon are two lovers stuck in a life, death and rebirth cycle as, a thousand years ago, the eyes of Lord Shiva’s statue – ‘the Supreme Being’ and dispenser of karmic law and justice – were stolen. These eyes are two rare lilac-coloured diamonds, known as the eyes of karma.
In the present day, Sara and Jon have no knowledge of each other and live on opposite sides of the world; Jon in England, and Sara in Australia. Jon is an artist and Sara, a fashion designer. When both receive a beautiful chair set with a lilac stone they can only admire the chairs aesthetic appeal, until the stones start glowing and admit them visions into their past lives…
I loved journeying with Sara and Jon back in time, across a thousand years and all over the world; seeing their various incarnations and learning to distinguish the key players who are still in their lives in the present day. As each incarnation invariably leads to one or both of their deaths, Sara and Jon become curious about each other and the meaning behind their visions. Are they being sent these visions? If so, by whom? Are they meant to find one another? Jon transforms his psychic glimpses into the past into a huge artwork depicting his and Sara’s many incarnations, bewildering his agent Simon who sees no correlation between his usual artwork and this sprawling mystical canvas. Sara grows more and more distressed as she notices the uncanny similarities between the sinister character attacking her through the ages and her current fiance.
Each glimpse into the past was like a short story contained in the novel and served to make me more and more curious about how Sara and Jon were going to break the karmic cycle. Well-conceived and structured so that the book was easy to follow, this book is clever craftsmanship on a number of levels: the jumps through time were seamless and easy to follow (which often shows a lot of hard work on the author’s part!); the characters grow and change with each vision – especially Jon, who shifts from being an introverted and cranky (to the point of being arrogant) loner into a sympathetic character who feels love, perhaps, for the first time in this life; Harding weaves information about Hindu and Buddhist faith seamlessly into the narrative; and the villain is not easily identifiable, but a man of many masks who yields a silver tongue. Sara must acknowledge her part in the triggering of the karmic cycle of reincarnation and wake up to the reality of the man she is about to marry.
A clever, well-structured, and gripping read, I loved The Immortal Bind and would recommend it to lovers of fantasy and science fiction.