Blood Communion by Anne Rice. (Vampire Novel, 2018).
Okay, here’s another installment of another long-running book series–the fifteenth novel in Rice’s famous Vampire Chronicles. As is so often the case, Lestat, the recently crowned Prince of the Vampires, narrates yet another epic undead adventure. Following hard on the heels of the game-changing Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis and Prince Lestat, today’s novel refers frequently back to the events of those recent series chapters, as well as sometimes to far older elements in the complex saga. This is all Rice’s stock and trade, and written in Ms. Rice’s own, inimitable style.
In the immediately previous books, Lestat restored his long-ago birthplace in the French countryside and established it as his capital when a council of powerful elder vamps proclaimed him Prince. He also discovered more about the vampire lineage and its connection to the fabled Atlanteans. Along the way, being Lestat, he struggled to accept his new position (full of doubts and resolve in equal measure) and put off a final confrontation with an especially defiant elder who refused to acknowledge his new authority.
Now he’s pushed into a fateful, final and fatal confrontation with the deadly Roshamandes. His conflicted feelings toward this ancient makes Lestat hesitate and a number of the Prince’s closest regular companions pay a high price in the process. Likewise, his opulent Chateau and the village of human craftsmen he’s assembled to assist his undead court suffer major damage.
As his long-postponed conflict with this known enemy unfolds, a new one appears and must be dealt with. Lestat’s alliance with the Atlantis survivors remains a source of controversy within the vampire community. And another ancient vampire, thought long dead, reappears–will he be an important new enemy or equally valuable supporter?
And the ritual that gives this installment its title plays an important part in the plot.
It seems to me that with these three most recent novels, the series has gained fresh power and interest, while staying true to Rice’s overall vision.