Anne Rice is the author of twenty-one previous books. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, the poet and painter Stan Rice.
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. The narrative weaves through timeÄfrom present-day New Orleans, to Talbot's first meeting with Merrick, to an adventure they shared years ago in the jungles of Guatemala. Flashbacks aside, this story focuses on Talbot's attempt to convince Merrick to use her voodoo magic to conjure up the vampire daughter of his friend and fellow vampire Louis. Fans will recognize characters from past books, including Louis and Lestat. Rice offers a haunting look at the separate but equally intriguing worlds of witches and vampires united here through Merrick's witchcraft on Talbot's behalf. Jacobi's reading of the tale is spellbinding. His refined British toneÄwith the slightest trace of a classic Transylvanian accentÄfits Talbot's character perfectly, and he flavors the narrative with verve and mystery accordingly. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 14). (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
What we've all been waiting for: the 2000-year history of Marius, mentor to the Vampire Lestat. At 750,000 copies, the first printing measures up to Marius's long reign. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Mayfair Witches collection, only The Witching Hour seems to provide much of a coherent story, though the other works have considerable information on Rice's world of witchcraft, spirits, and human-like aliens as well as the Mayfair family of witches itself. The three titles are excellently read by Joe Morton, Lindsay Crouse, and Tim Curry, but it's unclear what the producer was trying to accomplish by arranging the set out of chronological order. The action in Lasher logically follows that of The Witching Hour, which ends describing the relationship of Rowan Mayfair with the spirit Lasher. Taltos seems to be a vehicle to redefine Lasher, killed off in the earlier work, as a demon who assumed the identity of Mr. Ash/St. Ashlar, a nonhuman, nonvampire being whose kind live for millennia. There's a lot of pseudomyth touched up with Catholic or voodoo imagery and laced liberally with incestuous or otherwise taboo sex: a Mayfair dynasty no doubt but with no discernible witchcraft and quite a fixation on the female breast. Horrifying, no, though quite horrible. Merrick, on the other hand, provides the listener with an excellent abridgment, read with great feeling and effectiveness by Sir Derek Jacobi. Though Merrick is a Mayfair and a witch, one will not have had to read a majority of other works Rice has written about the Mayfairs to understand what is happening in this story. Also, along with the myth and voodoo allusions, one actually gets some of what the listener would think of as witchcraft. It's decidedly spooky stuff that also explores Rice's visions of possible afterlives, the mortality of witches, and the virtual immortality of vampires. Acquire Mayfair Witches in this abridged set only if circulation patterns indicate you should. Merrick is highly recommended for adult fiction and horror collections. Cliff Glaviano, Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.