PRINCE LESTAT AND THE REALMS OF ATLANTIS (2016), a follow-up to PRINCE LESTAT (2014), doesn't quite fit my criterion of "over ten years old" for these retro reviews. Many fans of Anne Rice's vampire series, though, may not have caught up with the latest installments, so I figured you might like to read about this rather strange addition to Rice's mythos. It unveils astounding revelations about the origin and true nature of Amel, the spirit who created the first vampire by possessing Queen Akasha 6000 years ago. In the previous novel, Lestat became host to Amel, the “Core” that animates all vampires (or, using the term most of them prefer, Blood Drinkers) and links them together in a universal network. Amel sometimes takes up temporary residence in different vampires’ minds, but mainly he stays with Lestat. In his role as “Prince,” Lestat exercises loose authority over the rest of his kind and also bears the burden of knowing that any harm to him will hurt other vampires worse, especially young, fragile fledglings.
This story reveals the source of vampirism in Atlantis and. . . aliens. A renegade vampire has been imprisoning and torturing a strange immortal who turns out to be an extraterrestrial. He and his companions were created and sent to Earth many millennia in the past to correct what their “Parents” view as evolution’s error in making a species of mammal our planet’s dominant intelligence. The alien visitors fell in love with Earth and abandoned their mission. Their backstory and their connection with Amel, followed by the risky project of freeing all vampires from dependence on the immortal spirit, form the heart of the book.
The narrative is told from several viewpoints, two of them in first person, Lestat’s and that of the female alien who unfolds the history of herself, her companions, and Atlantis. One weakness of the novel, in my opinion, is that all the narrative voices sound pretty much alike, i.e., like Lestat. Since I find him more irritating than alluring, that’s a negative for me. On the positive side, PRINCE LESTAT AND THE REALMS OF ATLANTIS (why “Realms,” plural, by the way?) includes a glossary of special terms used by the Blood Drinkers, an annotated cast list of the characters in the books, and titles and brief summaries of all the installments in the series up to that point. With this work, Rice produced an ingenious, ambitious expansion of her vampires’ origin myth, well worth reading even if, like me, you find Lestat as a character (in the later books, at least) practically insufferable.
Margaret L. Carter
Please explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.