ANNE RICE is the author of twenty-two books. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, the poet and painter Stan Rice.
Fantasy's great advantage is that authors can make anything happen‘even rewriting their own stories, as Rice does here. Readers of her 1995 novel, Memnoch the Devil, will recall that the vampire Armand ended his existence by stepping into the sun. Since he was a popular character from earlier tales, a resounding protest from fans followed. In response, Rice concocted a way in this, her seventh Vampire Chronicle since Interview with the Vampire (1976), to raise Armand from the dead. He is, in fact, the narrator of this story, in which he looks back on his earthly existence, revisiting his apprenticeship in 16th-century Venice to the regal vampire artist, Marius De Romanus, who saved his life with the kiss of immortality. Afterward, Armand returned to his Russian homeland, but when disaster parted him from Marius, he became the nihilistic leader of a pack of Parisian vampires. Rice offers exquisite details of erotic romps and political intrigues while reprising other material familiar to her fans, but finally returns to the pressing question of what happened to Armand in the sun's lethal rays. She supplies a vivid and resonant description of the experience, set against the counterpoint of Beethoven's Appassionata. Unfortunately, she dims the effect by dragging Armand through rambling scenes involving two odd children, Sybelle and Benji. Otherwise, this is a lavishly poetic recital in which Armand struggles with the fragility of religious belief. The final scene is a stunner. Editor, Victoria Wilson; agent, Lynn Nesbit. First printing 750,000; BOMC main selection; simultaneously available in audio and large-print editions. (Oct.)
The Vampire Armand, a new edition to Rice's growing vampire series, presents another adventure in time travel. Armand, a lad from Kiev who received a classical education made possible by Renaissance Venice's extraordinary wealth, is captured and sold to the wealthy vampire Marius. While she changes historical settings and adds characters, Rice here does display the aesthetic, religious, and humanitarian beliefs (nurturing love triumphs over faith) found in her other works. Both unabridged recordings are vividly dramatized by Jonathan Marosz, who sustains the author's sense of wonder. If the prices remain, the durably packaged Books on Tape version is most suitable for libraries. This novel isn't the best introduction to Rice (Pandora) because it assumes familiarity with her earlier works, but it is essential for libraries her fans frequent.ÄJames Dudley, Westhampton Beach, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"ARMAND'S LIFE UNFOLDS IN RICH, VELVETY PROSE. . . . THIS IS A
SUMPTUOUS ADDITION TO THE SERIES."
--Library Journal "ANNE RICE FANS WILL NO DOUBT BE THRILLED. . . . [Armand] until now has played a small role in the Vampire Chronicles. Here he assumes center stage, relating his five hundred years of life to fledgling vampire David Talbot, who plays amanuensis to Armand as he did to Lestat. . . . It's not just the epic plot but Rice's voluptuary worldview that's the main attraction. . . . Elegant narrative has always been her hallmark. . . . Rice is equally effective in showing how Armand eventually loses his religion and becomes 'the vagabond angel child of Satan, ' living under the Paris cemeteries and founding the Grand Guignol-ish Theatre des Vampires. In the twentieth century, a rehabilitated Armand regains his faith but falls in love with two children who save his life. By the conclusion of Armand, the pupil has become the mentor."
--The Washington Post "A FASCINATING AND DAZZLING HISTORICAL TAPESTRY . . . BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, INCREDIBLY ABSORBING."