The Passion of CleoPaTra
The Mummy Returns
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.