Prince Le­s­tat

A burn­ing urge

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Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

460 pages | Hard­back/ ebook Au­thor: Anne Rice Pub­lisher: Chatto & Win­dus

It’s been close to 40 years since the first in­stal­ment of the Vam­pire Chron­i­cles se­quence was pub­lished. In­ter­view With The Vam­pire made its way into the world the same year as “An­ar­chy In The UK” – and a year after Stephen King’s ’ Salem’s Lot.

Since then, for rea­sons we’ll leave cul­tural his­to­ri­ans to pick over 50 years hence, blood­suck­ers have made their way to the front and cen­tre of popular cul­ture. So it seems an ap­po­site mo­ment for Rice’s most popular vamp, anti- hero philoso­pher Le­s­tat de Lion­court, to come out of re­tire­ment.

But how to achieve this with­out seem­ing cheap and cheesy? Rice’s so­lu­tion for the eleventh vol­ume in a se­quence that’s been on hia­tus for a decade is to of­fer a novel that finds the blood­sucker com­mu­nity plagued by the Voice. No, this has noth­ing to do with will. i. am; in­stead it’s an ap­par­ently dis­em­bod­ied pres­ence that com­mands old vam­pires to burn their younger brethren.

Prince Le­s­tat fol­lows the un­dead’s re­ac­tion to this threat. As Rice switches be­tween vam­piric view­points, she also ap­pears to be re­boot­ing the fran­chise.

This in­volves many scenes of vam­pires talk­ing to each other, which be­comes rather tire­some, es­pe­cially in the longer chap­ters. More­over, for all that Prince Le­s­tat is of­ten beau­ti­fully writ­ten, there’s a sense of a fic­tional world that’s be­come too in­volved, too con­vo­luted, too re­liant on its own mythol­ogy. Jonathan Wright

Univer­sal has ac­quired movie rights to the Vam­pire Chron­i­cles nov­els – a big‑screen re­boot may be in the off­ing.

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