If you thought the Queen of Vampires had given up her throne in lieu of werewolves, spirits or even the “Lord”, you’d be dead wrong. It may have taken over a decade, but Anne Rice is back and she’s brought Lestat and his friends with her.
“Prince Lestat”, Mrs. Rice’s continuation of “The Vampire Chronicles”, a series of books that put her in the forefront of vampire fiction, delivers from beginning to end. An author who has been known to follow the beat of her own drum and never compromise her gothic horror style despite the presence of so many contemporary vampire novels, her new book stands as a testament to her steadfastness and her unwavering abilities as a gifted writer.
As many Anne Rice fans know, Lestat or the “Brat Prince” has an uncanny ability to find trouble or initiate it since his very first appearance in “Interview with the Vampire”. This time, however, we find Lestat alone and miserable, tired of an existence that has long since given him any joy.
Though he hears the pleas of fledgling vampires all over the world crying for someone to lead them, someone to show them how to traverse their undead life, he chooses solitude. That is, until a voice he doesn’t recognize lures him back into the midst of the vampire world and the friends he has not seen in so long.
And, this is where Anne Rice excels. In catching the reader up with Louis, Marius, Armand, Maharet and Mekare and all those they left behind so long ago, the book feels like going home. We are overjoyed at each appearance and cheer at every reunion.
But, before you think the book can only be enjoyed by life-long Anne Rice fans the author introduces a new group of immortals whose own stories are just as engrossing as those we already know.
It is a new age for vampires and while the transition for some is easy, the presence of cell-phone paparazzi and internet radio that broadcasts to every vampire on earth can take some getting used to especially for some of those born more than two thousand years ago.
One has to wonder if the author, who has always questioned the true nature of good and evil in her previous books has come to the conclusion that they are both related, that there cannot be good without evil. In “Prince Lestat” she seeks to give her beloved characters some sense of moral peace and connectivity. The theme that none of them has to go through eternity alone is constant throughout the novel.
Mrs. Rice reminds us that these individual vampires, distinct and separate, are also part of a larger power that flows through them all and when that power becomes vulnerable they must all come together for the greater good.
There are many questions left unanswered and one gets the sense that Anne Rice has further plans for her “Children of the Night”. There are also many surprises that even the most devout fan may not see coming.
In writing “Prince Lestat”, Anne Rice has gone back to the genre she, single-handedly re-invented some 40 years ago and the one she swore had no more stories to be told, and proves that’s just not true.
Just as her beloved Lestat questions his place in this new world, the author, in this new novel, seems to ask the same question of herself and the answer is simple, her place is at the keyboard, writing more novels like “Prince Lestat”.