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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Anne Rice writes grand romances in the traditional sense of the word, the Victor Hugo sense: novels with larger-than-life characters whose epic experiences sweep through all the great themes and emotions of life, death, love, passion, and loss, while also providing plenty of action.
Blood and Gold continues Rice's Vampire Chronicles by taking up the tale of Marius, who was for centuries the guardian of Those Who Must Be Kept, and whose duty to the King and Queen of the Vampires caused him much pain, loss, and suffering. Marius, who originally appeared in The Vampire Lestat and has figured briefly in the majority of the Chronicles that have followed, was an aristocrat of ancient Rome before his conversion to the Living Death. Blood and Gold follows his lonely life through the ages, sweeping from Imperial Rome to Constantinople to Venice during the Renaissance (Botticelli makes a brief cameo appearance) to the present day. His passion for longtime companion Pandora (detailed in a book of the same name, although told from her perspective), results in his loneliness and a centuries-long search for her.
Blood and Gold is one of Rice's finest achievements and has the added benefit of standing completely on its own for new readers. But those seeking the most complete picture of Marius will also want to revisit The Vampire Lestat, Pandora, and The Vampire Armand to understand how he's viewed by those his life has touched. (Greg Herren)