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The Collector of Dying Breaths

A Novel of Suspense



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About The Book

New York Times bestselling author M. J. Rose’s “wondrously original” (Providence Journal) suspense novel featuring perfumer Jac L’Etoile “combines fascinating history, torrid romance, and a compelling mystery” (Associated Press).

Florence, Italy—1533:
An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become not only the greatest perfumer in the country, but also the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen, Catherine de Medici, to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, René can’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present:
Renowned mythologist Jac L’Etoile becomes obsessed with René le Florentin—who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. Together with her estranged lover, Griffin, they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection, a woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir…and believes the end will justify her deadly means.

Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, this gothic tale zigzags from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first-century France. Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants, raves about the book: “Mysterious, magical, and mythical. What a joy to read!”

About The Author

Photograph by Mario Morgado

New York Times bestselling author M.J. Rose grew up in New York City exploring the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum and the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park. She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the founder of the first marketing company for authors, and cofounder of She lives in Connecticut. Visit her online at 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (February 10, 2015)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781451621549

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Raves and Reviews

"M.J. Rose's latest is breathtaking. The Collector of Dying Breaths combines fascinating history, torrid romance and a compelling mystery into a marvelous package that will entice fans of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon…Rose has taken an interesting premise and uses history to tell her original reading experience.”

– Associated Press

“What can I say; M.J. Rose has done it again. She presents a story so intricate and mesmerizing that the reader can get lost in the pages…an excellent choice for avid book clubbers to discuss and debate.”

– Free Lance-Star

"Rose’s latest venture into myth and reality is a page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be charmed by her well-drawn and memorable characters, and they will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey."

– Library Journal (starred)

"Crisp, evocative prose elevates this above other paranormal thrillers."

– Publishers Weekly

“A suspenseful and enigmatic story, with gripping historical details and the paranormal subtext Rose has become famous for, which will please her many fans.”

– Kirkus

"Rose masterfully combines romance, mystery, and dual timelines…The storyline and extensive historical details…are fascinating.”


"Wondrously original... elegantly written. Rose manages to utterly suspend our disbelief in a book that leaves us, appropriately enough, breathless."

– Providence Journal

"Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!"

– Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants

“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.”

– B.A.Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger

“From the labyrinthine alleyways of 16th century Paris to the danger-infused woodlands of 21st century Fontainebleau, M.J. Rose has crafted a superb, mesmerizing tale of two people separated by centuries yet linked by a haunting secret. Poison, obsession and undying love have never been so enticing—or so lethal. I could not stop reading it!”

– C.W. Gortner,  author of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

"With an alchemist's skill, M.J. Rose mixes present and past with the dark scent of love and an intricate mystery, creating a blend that is splendidly, spookily magical."

–  Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author

"M.J. Rose masterfully serves up suspense with generous sides of philosophy and intrigue. I devoured this fascinating tale about Catherine de Medici and her perfumer simmered with the compelling modern-day story of an intelligent woman in search of personal completion. Alchemy, mythology, and an exploration of reincarnation lace this tantalizing telling. A lavish and satisfying banquet of a book!"

– Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe

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