Anne Rice is the author of thirty-two books. She lives in Palm Desert, California.
With this kick-off to a new series, Vampire Chronicler Rice abandons her troupe of nocturnals for the living dead of another kind. In a tale that's part horror and part romance, Egyptian King Ramses, made immortal in his youth, is awakened from self-imposed dormancy and deposited in 1914 London. Ramses's introduction to modern times is charming but slow. The plot, however, revs up a bit when he returns to Cairo and runs into an old girlfriend. Much in this book will be familiar to Rice's fans, except in this case it doesn't work. The characters are mostly boring and the conflict is flimsy. You know nothing bad is going to happen to anybody--and nothing does. You're also cheated out of a genuine conclusion, which is both dissatisfying and unfair. Stick to those blood drinkers, Anne, and let the sleeping mummies lie.-- Michael Rogers, ``Library Journal''
An uneasy marriage of romance and horror, this potboiler, first of a projected series, is marinated in sentimentality, melodrama and absurdity. In 1914, Lawrence Stratford, a shipping mogul-turned-archeologist, discovers the tomb of an ancient Egyptian ruler whose mummy supposedly already graces the Cairo Museum. The mummy witnesses the murder of Lawrence by his greedy nephew, Henry, and, back in England, where it's on display in the Stratford mansion, the mummy intervenes when Henry tries to kill Lawrence's beautiful daughter, Julie. The mummy turns out to be Ramses the Second, of superior looks, brains and virility despite his advanced years (3000), rendered immortal by an elixir. Julie falls madly in love, dresses Ramses in her late father's clothes and finally--after too many pages--succumbs (``Batter down the door. . . . The virgin door. Open it, I am yours forever.''). But Ramses pines for Cleopatra, with whom he dallied a thousand years after his own reign; he immortalizes her mummy and unleashes a killer-monster. Missing a ripe opportunity to skewer 20th-century values and sexual mores, the prolific, bestselling Rice (the Vampire Chronicles), ever-fascinated with the undead, avoids character and plot development, larding largely lifeless, sloppy prose with a surfeit of epiphanies and calamities. Author tour. (June)