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Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat


Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat

BLOOD COMMUNION is the book that fans of Anne Rice have been hoping for --- one that unites most of the principal characters from the decades of work she has produced for her Vampire Chronicles. Even though at a mere 260 pages this entry is far smaller in size than most of her other works in the series, there is not a single wasted word or moment here, and I guarantee that her fans will be swelling with joy by the end of it.

Featuring illustrations throughout by Mark Edward Geyer, BLOOD COMMUNION is a full immersion in the lush landscape of Louisiana along with the French countryside and the grand Château where Prince Lestat and his undead colleagues gather. In this world, all vampires are beautiful, and even those who have existed for centuries remain stunning. The novel opens up with Rice providing a brief but detailed history of Lestat, as well as descriptions of her prior work and all the current main players. This wisely allows even the novice visitor to the Vampire Chronicles to be able to dive right in and fully enjoy it without feeling lost in the backstory.

"BLOOD COMMUNION is a triumph for Anne Rice.... This is her vampiric version of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, and I can only hope that the activities of the Blood Communion will continue to be played out on the pages of future novels."

This tale centers on all of the principal vampires of the world coming together to form the group that will be henceforth referred to as the Blood Communion. They are not only extremely self-aware but also conscious of what is happening around the world with others of their kind. Gathered at the Château, they often regale each other with historical tales. Mitka tells of an ancient, powerful vampire named Arjun, who was reported to have traveled with Pandora, a member of their group. At the end of the story, word reaches them that Arjun was destroyed by Marius. Marius and Lestat have a lot of history, much of it adversarial. For the better part of this novel, their relationship once again will be strained and seriously tested.

Lestat reiterates the vampire code he had laid down, specifically citing that those who are living at the Château are not to feed off any of the local villagers. They will have to travel a distance to more populated areas to sate their thirst. Barbara is the one given credit for organizing this gathering and seeing that both the Château and all the vampires within are neat and decked out in their finest early-19th-century style.

A matter that requires their immediate attention involves an ancient vampire by the name of Rhoshamandes. Reports of unsavory activity at his hands are discussed, and the majority of the Blood Communion wants him destroyed. Lestat, however, does not agree with their determination and feels he should be left alone. When a cohort of Rhoshamandes, Baudwin, is apprehended and brought to the Château, the group sees firsthand why they were correct in their feelings about Rhoshamandes. Baudwin is a big creature who requires a special binding in metal to encase him as he is kept in the Château's dungeon. Baudwin also references a stronger, ancient vampire named Gundesanth, from whom he claims to be taking direction.

Lestat and a small group of Blood Communion members travel to where they believe Rhoshamandes is staying. They find him, but he gets away. Unfortunately, he takes Lestat's mother, Gabrielle, with him. Cries are resounding that Lestat, Lord of the Blood Communion, personally destroy Rhoshamandes. A small group goes out on their own with the same intent; regrettably, both Louis and Marius are lost and feared vanquished at the hands of this demon spirit. Wracked with grief and consumed with self-doubt, Lestat heads out after the villain in a showdown that promises to be epic.

I will not divulge anything further, but will simply say that the action produces both exciting and unexpected results. BLOOD COMMUNION is a triumph for Anne Rice. There is reference here to mortal victims and how they should be properly treated by vampirekind. The only mortal victims here will be the legion of readers slayed by Rice's killer prose. This is her vampiric version of THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, and I can only hope that the activities of the Blood Communion will continue to be played out on the pages of future novels.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on October 5, 2018

Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat
by Anne Rice