Do yourself a favour and read Cloud Atlas. The plot really cannot be summarised here, first because it consists of a sequence of fragments of different stories, but mainly because figuring out the ways in which these stories are connected to each other is too delightful to be denied. This is not a mere novel. It is an exquisite, intricate drawing like the ones produced with those Spirograph toys, and an engrossing study in the nature of time and the continuity of the human race.
'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an' tho' a cloud's shape nor hue nor size don't stay the same it's still a cloud an' so is a soul. Who can say where the cloud's blowed from or who the soul'll be 'morrow?'