I Want to Read Anne Rice’s Final Book, but I Don’t Think I’m Ready
In late fall of 2021, I was overjoyed to receive an advanced reader copy of Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice in the mail. I wanted to begin reading immediately, but I knew that its release date was months away and I have a system for reviewing books from the big/traditional publishers. I like to read them right before the publish date so that I can write my review and add my voice to the big push in the initial weeks of sales.
The systems works.
The system failed me this time.
On December 11, 2021, I woke to the news that Anne Rice had died. I’m not going to lie. I was not okay. I believe in a lifetime there are countless books that will open your eyes and perhaps, even change your life. On the flipside, I think there are only a handful of authors for each of us that we really connect with, whose books feel like they came into our life at exactly the right time, and give us something so unexpected that we become lifelong fans.
In the 90s, like many others in my generation, I discovered Anne Rice. I remember seeing the trailer for Interview with the Vampire, and being completely drawn in by its decadence and quiet terror. Naturally, when I read it was based on a book, I visited the local library and borrowed the tome, taking it home and savoring it like the elegant experience it was created to be.
I. Was. Transported.
Louis and Claudia, and yes, the infamous Lestat, leaped from the page. New Orleans lived and breathed. Paris called to me. The wanton brutality was outmatched only by the brilliant storytelling with such attention to detail that I knew I was reading something unlike anything I’d encountered before.
What grabbed me most, however, was the relationship between Louis and Lestat. It was so beautifully complicated, so tragically romantic. As a closeted gay teen in a fundamentalist, Christian home, I had been taught early in life that men were incapable of loving each other in that way. Certainly, they could lust for each other. They could thirst for each other’s bodies, but to connect on the level of the soul was impossible. Yet, here, in the pages of Interview, was the story of two men who were undeniably in love.
Yes, they were vampires. Yes, that love was sometimes toxic and sometimes seemed as fragile as spun sugar, but it was love nonetheless, no less real or improbable than the hundreds of romantic stories that had been told about straight couples over the centuries.
Naturally, when I finished that first book, I moved onto The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned. I discovered The Witching Hour and Cry To Heaven, a non-supernatural story that remains my favorite Anne Rice novel to this day.
What I eventually realized was that in a world created by Anne Rice, gender and sexuality were fluid, love was powerful, and terror was pliable, created by mood and atmosphere rather than broken bodies and severed limbs.
I came to believe that she was writing for all of us who lived on the fringes of society, those who were marginalized and exiled. In a way I not only felt seen, but I felt understood. I knew, even behind the closed door of the closet, that there was at least one person in the world who would “get me.”
This was further underlined when the world at large was introduced to Christopher Rice, the author’s son. He is an out and proud gay man who inherited his mother’s storytelling gift. What was more important, however, was the to see the utter pride and adoration that the two had for each other. What struck me most is that Rice did not accept her son’s gayness because in her eyes, there was nothing to accept.
He was her son. She loved him. That was enough.
If you’ve never watched the two of them sit and speak about writing and about being a family, I can’t urge you enough to go to YouTube and look up their book tours they’ve done together. The conversations are hilariously funny, and their affection for each other is genuine.
Of course, her life has not been without controversy. In the early 2000s, she announced she was no longer going to write about vampires. She turned, instead, to a more religious topic, novelizing portions of the life of Jesus Christ. She was taking a personal journey of her own, and many of her less ardent fans stepped away from her.
For me, it only made me love her more.
I had made a similar journey, you see. The religious world in which I’d been raised had turned its back on me, and I had floundered. I understood what it was to believe and to feel like the outlet for that belief is being withheld from you. I knew what it was like to know that God you had been told would love you for eternity actually hated you for something that you could not change.
I also understood why Rice needed space between herself and the vampire Lestat. She had spoken often in interviews about the ties between the Brat Prince and her husband, the poet and artist, Stan Rice. It made perfect sense to me that after his death, she would need space and time.
Of course, eventually, the author did return to the vampires, producing more epic volumes. She also, for the first time, entered the world of werewolves and the stunning mythology of Atlantis.
Then, just a couple of years ago, it was announced that Anne Rice and her son would be publishing a book together. Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra was unexpected to say the least. A sequel to her 1989 novel, Ramses the Damned, the duo crafted a continuation of that epic, immersing themselves in the early 20th century with the flair of F. Scott Fitzgerald and the mystery and settings of Agatha Christie.
It was seamlessly written with beautiful prose that somehow reflected the style of both mother and son. Ramses was one of Rice’s lesser known works that never got the attention it deserved, as far as I was concerned. Then again, like so many introverted youths, I’d gone through an “Egyptian phase” in my childhood where I devoured every story and myth from the region so perhaps I was a natural candidate for its fandom.
Which brings us to the present, I suppose.
From where I’m sitting in my living room, I can see Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice sitting on my bookshelf.
I want to read it.
I want to review it.
But somewhere, deep down inside me, I know that this is the last new Anne Rice book that I will ever read. It is the last new tale from an author who, in her own way, had saved my life once upon a time. It is the last time I will read and love her characters in situations I’ve never read before.
So, for now, it will remain on the bookshelf. For now, I will admire it from afar. For now, I will give myself one more day to deny that it is the last.
For today, I will simply give thanks that this amazing author blessed us with her prose and her time. Beyond all else, she proved that immortality is attainable and that love is universal, and for that, I will be forever grateful.
‘Official Five Nights at Freddy’s Cookbook’ Gets Release This Fall
Five Nights at Freddy’s is getting a big Blumhouse release very soon. But, that’s not all that the game is being adapted into. The hit horror game experience is also being made into a cookbook filled with deliciously spooky recipes.
The Official Five Nights at Freddy’s Cookbook is filled with items that you would find at an official Freddy’s location.
This cookbook is something fans have been dying for since the first games’ original release. Now, you will be able to cook signature dishes from the comfort of your own home.
The synopsis for Five Nights at Freddy’s goes like this:
“As an anonymous night guard, you must survive five nights as you are hunted by five animatronics hell-bent on killing you. Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria is a fantastic place for children and adults can have fun with all the robotic animals; Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy.“
You can find the Official Five Nights at Freddy’s Cookbook in stores beginning September 5.
Stephen King’s ‘Billy Summers’ Being Made By Warner Brothers
Breaking News: Warner Brothers Acquires Stephen King Bestseller “Billy Summers”
The news just dropped via a Deadline exclusive that Warner Brothers has acquired the rights to Stephen King’s bestseller, Billy Summers. And the powerhouses behind the film adaptation? None other than J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way.
Speculation is already rampant as fans can’t wait to see who will bring the titular character, Billy Summers, to life on the big screen. Will it be the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio? And will J.J. Abrams be sitting in the director’s chair?
The masterminds behind the script, Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, are already working on the screenplay and it sounds like it’s going to be a real doozy!
Originally, this project was slated as a ten-episode limited series, but the powers that be have decided to go all out and turn it into a full-fledged feature.
Stephen King’s book Billy Summers is about a former Marine and Iraq War veteran who has turned into a hitman. With a moral code that only allows him to target those he deems “bad guys,” and a modest fee of never more than $70,000 for each job, Billy is unlike any hitman you’ve seen before.
However, as Billy begins to consider retirement from the hitman business, he is summoned for one final mission. This time, he must wait in a small city in the American South for the perfect opportunity to take out a murderer who has killed a teenager in the past. The catch? The target is being brought back from California to the city to stand trial for murder, and the hit must be completed before he can make a plea deal that would bring his sentence from the death penalty to life in prison and potentially reveal the crimes of others.
As Billy waits for the right moment to strike, he passes the time by writing a sort of autobiography about his life, and by getting to know his neighbors.
Clive Barker Says This Book is “Terrifying” & It’s Becoming a TV Series
Remember the boost The Evil Dead got back in 1982 when Stephen King called the film “Ferocuisly original?” Now we have another horror literary icon, Clive Barker, calling a work “Utterly terrifying.”
That work is the novel The Deep. No, not the 1976 Peter Benchley thriller with the same name. This is Nick Cutter’s 2015 bestseller which takes place underwater. Cutter is the pen name used by Canadian author Craig Davidson.
Speaking of King, he has also praised Cutter’s work, saying the novel The Troop, “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down … old-school horror at its best.”
That’s high praise because Google Books describes The Deep as “The Abyss meets The Shining.”
Two horror literary legends lauding your work as “terrifying” and “the best?” No pressure there.
Bloody Disgusting breaks down the plot for The Deep in their story:
“A strange plague called the ‘Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys, then the not-so-small things, like how to drive or the letters of the alphabet. Their bodies forget how to function involuntarily. There is no cure.
But far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, a universal healer hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But when the station goes incommunicado, a brave few descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.”
Writer C. Henry Chaisson, who wrote screenplays for both Antlers and Apple TV’s Servant is adapting the book for Amazon Studios.
iHorror will keep you updated on the progress of the series as we know more.
*Header image taken from The Telegraph.