Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Fiction: Anne Rice: Queen of the Damned?

--by Hanje Richards

(Biography From the Official Anne Rice Website at

One of America's most celebrated authors, Anne Rice is known for weaving the natural and supernatural worlds together in epic stories that both entertain and challenge readers. Her books are rich tapestries of history, belief, philosophy, religion, and compelling characters that examine and extend our physical world beyond the limits we perceive.

Rice lives and works in California. Her life experiences and intellectual inquisitiveness provide her with constant inspiration for her work.

Anne Rice Fact File:

1. Born Howard Allen O’Brien on October 4, 1941, Anne chose the name “Anne” when she entered the first grade at St. Alphonsus Grammar School. She attended Catholic schools until 1958 when her family moved from New Orleans to Richardson, Texas.

2. In 1972, Stan and Anne Rice lost their daughter, Michele, to leukemia just before her fifth birthday.

3. Christopher Rice, born to them in 1978, seemed a gift from God in that both of his parents stopped their heavy drinking when given another chance at parenthood.

4. Anne wrote Interview with the Vampire while the couple still lived in Berkeley, California, just before Christopher’s birth, and has written over 28 novels.

5. In New Orleans in 1989, Stan and Anne bought the Garden District Greek Revival house that would become the setting for five or six of Anne’s novels. This home was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Anne, who had passed the beautiful house frequently in her early years, going to and from her parish church of St. Alphonsus from her home on St. Charles Avenue.

6. Anne returned to the Catholic Church in 1998, and in 2002 consecrated her writing entirely to Christ, vowing to write for Him or about Him. She remains passionately loyal to the readers of her earlier works.

7. Stan Rice died in 2002 within four and a half months of being diagnosed with brain cancer.

8. In 2005, after completing Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, Anne left Louisiana and her beloved city of New Orleans to live in California. Within months of her departure, Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.

9. Anne now lives and works in the California desert, a few hours drive from her son, Christopher, who lives and works in West Hollywood.

Here is a list of some Rice titles owned by the Copper Queen Library in various formats (print, CD, cassette). Information in parentheses following a title indicates the series to which that title belongs (e.g., Angel Time is part of the "Songs of the Seraphim" series).

Angel Time (SONGS OF THE SERAPHIM) Anne Rice's newest work, this novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O’Dare—a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases—just now: Lucky the Fox—and takes his orders from “The Right Man.”

Into O’Dare’s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O’Dare seizes his chance and is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England. In this primitive setting, O’Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love.

Blackwood Farm (VAMPIRE/MAYFAIR CROSSOVER Anne Rice fuses her two uniquely seductive strains of narrative -- her Vampire legend and her lore of the Mayfair witches -- to give us a world of classic deep-south luxury and ancestral secrets.

Welcome to Blackwood Farm. This is the world of Quinn Blackwood, a brilliant young man haunted since birth by a mysterious spirit. When Quinn is made a Vampire, losing all that is rightfully his and gaining an unwanted immortality, his doppelgänger becomes even more vampiric and terrifying than Quinn himself.

As the novel moves backward and forward in time, from Quinn’s boyhood on Blackwood Farm to present day New Orleans, from ancient Athens to 19th-century Naples, Quinn seeks out the legendary Vampire Lestat in the hope of freeing himself.

Blood and Gold, Or, The Story of Marlus (VAMPIRE CHRONICLES) Once a proud Senator in Imperial Rome, Marius is kidnapped and forced into that dark realm of blood, where he is made a protector of the Queen and King of the vampires. Through his eyes we see the fall of pagan Rome to the Emperor Constantine, the horrific sack of the Eternal City at the hands of the Visigoths, and the vile aftermath of the Black Death. Restored by the beauty of the Renaissance, Marius becomes a painter, living dangerously yet happily among mortals. But it is in the present day, deep in the jungle, when Marius will meet his fate seeking justice from the oldest vampires in the world. . . .

Blood Canticle (VAMPIRE/MAYFAIR CROSSOVER) Blackwood Farm is alive with the comings and goings of the bewitched and the bewitching. Among them is the ageless vampire Lestat, vainglorious enough to believe that he can become a saint, weak enough to fall impossibly in love.

Gripped by his unspeakable desire for the mortal Rowan Mayfair and taking the not so innocent, new-to-the-blood Mona Mayfair under his wing, Lestat ventures to a private island off the coast of Haiti. There, Mona and the Mayfairs share an explosive, secret blood bond to another deathless species: a five-thousand-year-old race of Taltos, strangers held in the throes of evil itself.

Christ the Lord: Out Of Egypt (THE LIFE OF CHRIST) A novel about the early years of Jesus, based on the Gospels and on the most respected New Testament scholarship.

The book’s power derives from the passion its author brings to the writing and the way in which she summons up the voice, the presence, the words of Jesus who tells the story.

Interview With the Vampire (VAMPIRE CHRONICLES) Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force--a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses.

Memnoch The Devil (THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES) Rice has made a career out of humanizing creatures of supernatural horror, and in this fifth book of her Vampire Chronicles she requests sympathy for the Devil. The bulk of the novel is a retelling of the Creation story from the point of view of the fallen angel, who blames his damnation on his refusal to accept human suffering as part of God's divine plan.

Merrick (VAMPIRE/MAYFAIR CROSSOVER) Talbot, a vampire familiar to Rice readers, though now inhabiting a different body, relates this eerie tale about an "octoroon of exceptional beauty" named Merrick, a Mayfair witch with whom he has been obsessed for an eternity.

Pandora (NEW TALES OF THE VAMPIRES) The novel opens in present-day Paris in a crowded café, where David meets Pandora. She is two thousand years old, a Child of the Millennia, the first vampire ever made by the great Marius. David persuades her to tell the story of her life.

Pandora begins, reluctantly at first and then with increasing passion, to recount her mesmerizing tale, which takes us through the ages, from Imperial Rome to eighteenth-century France to twentieth-century Paris and New Orleans.

Servant of the Bones In a new and major novel, the creator of fantastic universes of vampires and witches takes us now into the world of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the destruction of Solomon's Temple, to tell the story of Azriel, Servant of the Bones.

He is ghost, genii, demon, angel--pure spirit made visible. He pours his heart out to us as he journeys from an ancient Babylon of royal plottings and religious upheavals to Europe of the Black Death and on to the modern world. There he finds himself, amidst the towers of Manhattan, in confrontation with his own human origins and the dark forces that have sought to condemn him to a life of evil and destruction.

Vampire Armand (VAMPIRE CHRONICLES) We go with Armand across the centuries to the Kiev Rus of his boyhood - a ruined city under Mongol dominion - and to ancient Constantinople, where Tartar raiders sell him into slavery. And in a magnificent palazzo in the Venice of the Renaissance we see him emotionally and intellectually in thrall to the great vampire Marius.

As the novel races to its climax, moving through scenes of luxury and elegance, of ambush, fire, and devil worship to nineteenth-century Paris and today's New Orleans, we see its eternally vulnerable and romantic hero forced to choose between his twilight immortality and the salvation of his immortal soul.

Vampire Lestat (VAMPIRE CHRONICLES) (FIC RIC) Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rock star in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying existence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice's best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.
Violin This novel moves across time and the continents, from nineteenth-century Vienna to a St. Charles Greek Revival mansion in present-day New Orleans to the dazzling capitals of the modern-day world, telling a story of two charismatic figures bound to each other by a passionate commitment to music as a means of rapture, seduction, and liberation.

At the novel's center: the struggle between a uniquely fascinating woman, Triana--who once dreamed of becoming a great musician--and the demonic fiddler Stefan, tormented ghost of a Russian aristocrat, who begins to prey upon her.

But Triana understands the power of the music perhaps even more than does Stefan--and she sets out to resist Stefan and to fight not only for her sanity but for her life. The struggle draws them both into a terrifying supernatural realm where they find themselves surrounded by memories, by horrors, and by overwhelming truths.

Vittorio, the Vampire (NEW TALES OF THE VAMPIRES) Educated in the Florence of Cosimo de' Medici, trained in knighthood at his father's mountaintop castle, Vittorio inhabits a world of courtly splendor and country pleasures--a world suddenly threatened when his entire family is confronted by an unholy power.

In the midst of this upheaval, Vittorio is seduced by the beautiful and sinister vampire Ursula--setting in motion a chilling chain of events that will mark his life for eternity. Against a backdrop of the wonders--both sacred and profane--and the beauty and ferocity of Renaissance Italy, Anne Rice creates a passionate and tragic legend of doomed young love and lost innocence.