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The Vampire Lestat

Novel by Anne Rice (USA) 1985.

In the early pages of The Vampire Lestat, Lestat himself is handed a copy of Interview with the Vampire, which he reads a number of times, then destroys utterly. Anne Rice has done much the same with her own creation. Taking a weak character from the first book, she rewrites his history and turns him into a legitimate vampire hero. Nine years after she virtually created the modern vampire novel, she drops what can only be described as a bombshell: twice as long as Interview with a Vampire and many times wider in scope, it carries intricate histories of both individual vampires and the species itself.

Framed as Lestat's own autobiography, it begins with his awakening from his 55-year sleep under the city of New Orleans, roused by a rock band rehearsing mere feet above him. He takes over the band, renames it after himself and turns their image into outrageous vampire symbolism. The image combined with the secrets he divulges in his autobiography is all designed to attract vampires, both fledgling and ancient, to his first appearance in public at the band's first concert in San Francisco. In his book he reveals the names and histories of powerful ancient vampires right back to the mother and father of the species, who naturally are more than interested in what he is doing.

All the sensuality, passion and atmosphere of Interview with a Vampire is present here, but added are tension, horror and even greater depth. The character of Marius especially is superb: a study in power and such gentleness as can only stem from such power. It's an absolute joy to read, but be warned: the incredible finale demands that book three of however many, The Queen of the Damned (1988), be kept close to hand.

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