Friday, October 28, 2005

God Save the Queen (of the Damned)

The October 31 edition of Newsweek includes an article on Anne Rice, the woman who has entertained readers for nearly thirty years with her dark and sensual novels. Rice's vampire series, which began in 1976 with "Interview with the Vampire", now includes ten books, the last of which was 2003's "Blood Canticle."

Over the last three years, rumors of hard times have swirled around Rice. Her husband of forty years died in 2002, and she had gastric bypass surgery in early 2003. Many will remember the incident last year following negative criticism of "Blood Canticle." On September 6, 2004, she posted an angry rebuttal on to those reviews. In part, it said, "Now, if it doesn't appeal to you, fine. You don't enjoy it? Read somebody else. But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander . . . be assured of the utter contempt I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously."

Less than six months after the Amazon incident, Rice picked up and left New Orleans, where she had been born and spent most of her life. She moved to California, reportedly to be closer to her son, Christopher.

Rice is about to return to the public spotlight in a big way. Her first book since "Blood Canticle" is due out in November. It is neither vampire nor erotica. The new novel is entitled, "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt."

For many years, Rice has been known as an atheist. However, according to David Gates of Newsweek, in 1998, she "returned to the Roman Catholic Church, which she'd left at 18." Gates claims Rice has said that "from now on, I will write only for the Lord."

"Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt" is narrated by a seven-year-old Jesus. Rice reportedly planned the book to be the first of a trilogy on the life of Christ.

It will be interesting to see how readers react to the new Anne Rice. In the past, her books have often been described as "dense" and "turgid." Will that style serve her new subject matter? Wait and see.

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