The Tale of the Body Thief is told by Vampire Lestat, the self-described “James Bond of vampires,” formerly “a smash…as a rock singer.”
Lestat has the blues. The world has deteriorated since he became a vampire: Bloodsucking isn’t what it used to be.
So, when Lestat is approached by a handsome male figure, he wishes he were human again. The animating force inside that body is Raglan James, a telepathically skilled con artist who stole it.
James offers to trade bodies with Lestat for $10 million. Both of Lestat’s friends tell him not to risk it, but he ignores them.
Lestat slips inside the young male body and James goes off inside Lestat’s vampire body.
Lestat finds being human isn’t at all what he expected. He also finds that a deal that sounds too good to be true probably is.
The novel ends predictably, gruesomely.
Anne Rice is a fine writer. She not only has a vivid imagination, but the discipline to confine her imagination within the constrictions set by her characterizations. Her philosophical and theological musings are stimulating. I’d love to see what Rice could do if she applied her talent subjects worthy of her talent.
The Queen of the Damned is the third of Anne Rice’s novels about vampires. Perhaps if one has read the previous two, Queen might be interesting, or at least intelligible.
As a stand-alone, it’s a dud.
The title character doesn’t appear until page 123. Up to that point, the book has been assorted ramblings from various characters living at various times in various places around the world.
Some characters are spirits, some are vampires. Each is totally self-absorbed and incredibly boring.
The main male character is Vampire Lestat, a rock star whose fan’s think “Vampire” is his stage name:
At rock concerts, nobody knows if you’re a vampire.
Lestat’s enemies attack one of his concerts, killing masses of people.
Lestat escapes thanks to the Queen of the Damned, Akasha, who regards him as “the essence of masculinity.” Akasha wants Lestat to join her program for world improvement: She’s going to kill 99 percent of all males, keeping 1 percent for breeding purposes.
While there are some human characters in the novel, they are depicted primarily as great, unwashed masses, fit only as food for non-humans.
Rice includes some of her husband’s poems in the book. They’re better than her story.