The Pas­sion of CleoPaTra

The Mummy Re­turns

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 416 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook

Au­thors anne rice, Christo­pher rice Pub­lisher an­chor Books

Back in 1989, Anne Rice wrote The Mummy, Or Ram­ses The Damned, a ’20s-set romp in which an im­mor­tal Ram­ses awak­ened the mummy of Queen Cleopatra and all hell broke loose. Fi­nally ful­fill­ing the prom­ise of a se­quel after 28 years, Rice and her son, Christo­pher, have picked up the story again where it left off.

Cleopatra, who seemed to meet a fiery end first time around, sur­vives and sets off in search of a woman who might be shar­ing her soul. Other im­mor­tals want to find her, even as they fight among them­selves to get hold of the elixir that keeps them tick­ing on. Ah, im­mor­tals. Al­ways with the fightin’ and angst­ing. What’s ex­tra­or­di­nary about this book – and re­ally, there’s noth­ing else in these pages that could be called ex­tra­or­di­nary – is that it seems to have stepped straight out of 1989, or even ear­lier. A whole uni­verse of fan­tasy pop­u­lar cul­ture has wheeled by since then (some of it, iron­i­cally enough, in­spired by Rice her­self ), but The Pas­sion Of Cleopatra seems to be en­tirely un­aware of it. Per­haps the au­thors were try­ing to recre­ate the style of the orig­i­nal, but that’s no ex­cuse for a plot so fa­mil­iar there isn’t a sin­gle sur­prise, or sex scenes that feel like the soft-fo­cus erot­ica we had be­fore the in­ter­net, when the word “nip­ple” was still shock­ing.

The prose style, too, screams “old-fash­ioned”. There’s no ex­cuse for re­peated tics such as, “It was an ar­moury, this room,” or, “They had in­fu­ri­ated him, these words.” Add to this one- or two- sen­tence para­graphs that try to im­part drama (one, baf­flingly, merely states that a taxi has ar­rived) and The Pas­sion Of Cleopatra feels like a mummy lum­ber­ing through a world that has left it be­hind. Best left wrapped. Jayne Nel­son

Sex scenes are soft-fo­cus erot­ica

The Rices have hinted that this might be­come a TV series; Paramount is already de­vel­op­ing a Vam­pire Chronicles show.

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