I spent part of my vacation this year in New Orleans. It was my second trip to the Big Easy for the year and I decided this was a good excuse to return to the Vampire Chronicles of Anne Rice. Besides, we’re in the home stretch for the publication of her new Prince Lestat and I want to be ready!
Blood and Gold is the eighth novel of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. In it, an ancient vampire named Thorne is awaken by the Vampire Lestat’s rock music and the activities that precipitates, including the waking of Akasha, the Queen of the Damned. Thorne seeks the company of another ancient vampire, Marius, who used to tend Akasha and her consort Enkil when they were still and lifeless. Marius then proceeds to tell Thorne his story. As it turns out, none of the novel is set in New Orleans, so although it was fine vacation reading, it wasn’t as topical as some of her other novels.
The part of the novel that did prove quite topical was the scene after the Satanic vampires led by Santino raided Marius’s house in Venice and kidnapped all of his young wards, including the newly made vampire Amadeo, who would later become Armand. I read this scene on my first night back at the observatory where I work. As it turns out, one of the purposes of my vacation trip was to take my daughter to college. Moreover, when I work at the observatory, I’m separated from my family for a week. It’s natural for me to feel quite lonely and I was feeling it even more keenly in the wake of my daughter being further away than normal. So, Marius’s despair hit especially hard, but the fact that he recovered new strength and pushed on gave me hope.
I can see why some readers are frustrated by the later Vampire Chronicles. After all, the tale of Marius is nothing new. We’ve heard much of his story already in The Vampire Lestat and The Vampire Armand. This novel largely fills in the empty spaces those novels didn’t cover. In that sense, I found Blood and Gold artistically interesting. I think there’s validity to exploring stories from another character’s perspective or to see behind the scenes of another story. What’s more, I found the story of Marius’s desolation and recovery plus the resolution of the story with Santino interesting. That said, I did find the final resolution of the novel rushed and wished she’d given a little more space to the last chapter, where we learn how Marius’s story affects Thorne.
Regarding the exploration of things from the perspectives of different characters, another element of this novel I found interesting were the scenes where Marius, Mael, and Avicus travel to Constantinople and meet the alluring vampire Eudoxia. It was fun to see the parallels between Anne Rice’s Constantinople and mine, as presented in Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order. Both Draco and Marius are drawn to the Hagia Sophia. While exploring the famous church, Draco meets his own alluring vampire, Alexandra. However, Draco’s meeting has a vastly different outcome.
As I say, we’re in the run-up to the release of Prince Lestat so I expect to proceed on to the next installment of the Vampire Chronicles, Blackwood Farm. It looks like I do get a dose of New Orleans and Louisiana in that novel. September is also the ninth anniversary of my publisher Lachesis Publishing. My novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order is half off all this month at their website. Vampires of the Scarlet Order is only 99 cents! I hope you’ll drop by and spend some time with the Scarlet Order vampires.