Every time I read one of Anne Rice's books I am seduced and I am pulled through irresistibly…
Not long ago I re-entered the VAMPIRE CHRONICLES via PANDORA, with its 2000-year first-person perspective on the world of Anne Rice’s beloved characters. Pandora has a bittersweet relationship with the half-Keltoi, half Roman Marius.
Despite her inability to live with Marius, it was to his story BLOOD AND GOLD that Pandora brought me, as if by the hand. “His version of things is in its own way as comprehensive as Lestat’s,” I could almost hear her telling me. In first-person terms, it is even more so because Marius is far older. In Lestat’s own accounts it is also Marius who provides much of the older history. Marius tells his own tale including how he first encountered They Who Must Be Kept so long ago and spent many centuries protecting those parents and originals of all vampires in Anne’s mythos.
I’ve so much enjoyed my reunion with Marius, whose account of his own existence forms a kind of common spine of all the CHRONICLES, much as Lestat’s do—and yet in this case from Marius’s own fantastic perspective.
One remarkable thing about Marius story is his brilliant account of the Renaissance, when he lived in Venice as a painter and discovered Amadeo—someone we know later as Armand—whom he liberates from enslavement, where he would have been sold to a brothel. Let me not provide too many SPOILERS to the delicious intricacies of the plot for the uninitiated… however I especially enjoy how the vampiric Marius clearly delights in providing the beautiful red-haired youth Amadeo with erotic pleasures in his own ways. I am moved and touched all over again as Marius bestows the Dark Gift upon Amadeo to save his life. Their involvement with the lovely Bianca is also likewise delicious and totally plausible, and something of a triad.
Towards the end of the novel, Marius himself became a bit long-winded and repetitive, even fussy, for which I would blame Marius de Romanus himself, not Anne! She writes when a story “comes to me like a swarm of bees surrounding my head,” she says, and I’ve also heard her say that at one point she had not intended to write another, but Lestat began to whisper in her ear. Like any great storyteller, her imagination is so strong that the characters come alive, and even take on a life and a distinct voice of their own!
I'm always astounded at the sensory details Anne invokes, the richness of settings and atmosphere and the depth of interaction among the characters, the total immersion in place, times, characters that this she achieves every time!
Now that I’ve finished this remarkable journey again, Marius directs to his fledgling Amadeo, AKA Armand. I also recall that for me, THE VAMPIRE ARMAND was the most erotic of these novels, as it became even more clear that though Marius did not make love to Armand as a mortal would, he definitely pleasured the young man! Plus I recall that Armand provides his own rich and unique perspectives on everything in these realms.
Oh, what a cunning web Ms. Rice weaves!