In a feat of virtuoso storytelling, Anne Rice unleashes Akasha, the queen of the damned, who has risen from a six-thousand-year sleep to let loose the powers of the night. Akasha has a marvelously devious plan to “save” mankind and destroy the vampire Lestat—in this extraordinarily sensual novel of the complex, erotic, electrifying world of the undead.
Look for a special preview of Anne Rice’s Prince Lestat in the back of the book. The Vampire Chronicles continue in Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis, available for pre-order now.
Praise for The Queen of the Damned
“Mesmerizing . . . a wonderful web of dark-side mythology.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“With The Queen of the Damned, Anne Rice has created universes within universes, traveling back in time as far as ancient, pre-pyramidic Egypt and journeying from the frozen mountain peaks of Nepal to the crowded, sweating streets of southern Florida.”—Los Angeles Times
“Imaginative . . . intelligently written . . . This is popular fiction of the highest order.”—USA Today
“A tour de force.”—The Boston Globe
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
From the Paperback edition.
Hometown:Rancho Mirage, California
Date of Birth:October 4, 1941
Place of Birth:Rancho Mirage, California
Education:B.A., San Francisco State University, 1964; M.A., 1971
Read an Excerpt
THE LEGEND OF THE TWINS
Detail by detail
the living creatures.
as must, the rhythm
solid in the shape.
Woman. Arms lifted. Shadow eater.
"CALL HER FOR ME, " HE SAID. "TELL HER I HAVE had the strangest dreams, that they were about the twins. You must call her!"
His daughter didn't want to do it. She watched him fumble with the book. His hands were his enemies now, he often said. At ninety-one, he could scarcely hold a pencil or turn a page.
"Daddy," she said, "that woman's probably dead."
Everybody he had known was dead. He'd outlived his colleagues; he'd outlived his brothers and sisters, and even two of his children. In a tragic way, he had outlived the twins, because no one read his book now. No one cared about "the legend of the twins."
"No, you call her," he said. "You must call her. You tell her that I dreamed of the twins. I saw them in the dream.""
"Why would she want to know that, Daddy?"
His daughter took the little address book and paged through it slowly. Dad all these people, long dead. The men who had worked with her father on so many expeditions, the editors and photographers who had worked with him on his book. Even his enemies who had said his life was wasted, that his research had come to nothing; even the most scurrilous, who had accused him of doctoring pictures and lying about the caves, which her father had never done.
Why should she be still alive, the woman who had financed his long-ago expeditions, the rich woman who had sent so much money for so many years?
"You must ask her to come! Tell her it's very important. I must describe to her what I've seen."
To come? All the way to Rio de Janeiro because an old man had had strange dreams? His daughter found the page, and yes, there was the name and the number. And the date beside it, only two years old.
"She lives in Bangkok, Daddy." What time was it in Bangkok? She had no idea.
"She'll come to me. I know she will."
He closed his eyes and settled back onto the pillow. He was small now, shrunken. But when he opened his eyes, there was her father looking at her, in spite of the shriveling yellowed skin, the dark spots on the backs of his wrinkled hands, the bald head.
He appeared to be listening to the music now, the soft singing of the Vampire Lestat, coming from her room She would turn it down if it kept him awake. She wasn't much for American rock singers, but this one she'd rather liked.
"Tell her I must speak to her!" he said suddenly, as though coming back to himself.
"All right, Daddy, if you want me to." She turned off the lamp by the bed. "You go back to sleep."
"Don't give up till you find her. Tell her--the twins! I've seen the twins."
But as she was leaving, he called her back again with one of those sudden moans that always frightened her. In the light from the hall, she could see he was pointing to the books on the far wall.
"Get it for me," he said. He was struggling to sit up again.
"The book, Daddy?"
"The twins, the pictures..."
She took down the old volume and brought it to him and put it in his lap. She propped the pillows up higher for him and turned on the lamp again.
It hurt her to feel how light he was as she lifted him; it hurt her to see him struggle to put on his silver-rimmed glasses. He took the pencil in hand, to read with it, ready to write, as he had always done, but then he let it fall and she caught it and put it back on the table.
"You go call her!" he said.
She nodded. But she stayed there, just in case he needed her. The music from her study was louder now, one of the more metallic and raucous songs. But he didn't seem to notice. Very gently she opened the book for him and turned to the first pair of color pictures, one filling the left page, the other the right.
How well she knew these pictures, how well she remembered as a little girl making the long climb with him to the cave on Mount Carmel, where he had led her into the dry dusty darkness, his flashlight lifted to reveal the painted carvings on the wall.
"There, the two figures, you see them, the red-haired women?"
It had been difficult at first to make out the crude stick figures in the dim beam of the flashlight. So much easier later to study what the close-up camera so beautifully revealed.
But she would never forget that first day, when he had shown her each small drawing in sequence: the twins dancing in rain that fell in tiny dashes from a scribble of cloud; the twins kneeling on either side of the altar upon which a body lay as if in sleep or death; the twins taken prisoner and standing before a tribunal of scowling figures; the twins running away. And then the damaged pictures of which nothing could be recovered; and finally the one twin alone weeping, her tears falling in tiny dashes, like the rain, from eyes that were tiny black dashes too.
They'd been carved in the rock, with pigments added--orange for the hair, white chalk for the garments, green for the plants that grew around them, and even blue for the sky over their heads. Six thousand years had passed since they had been created in the deep darkness of the cave.
And no less old were the near identical carvings, in a shallow rock chamber high on the slope of Huayna Picchu, on the other side of the world.
She had made that journey also with her father, a year later, across the Urubamba River and up through the jungles of Peru. She'd seen for herself the same two women in a style remarkably similar though not the same.
There again on the smooth wall were the same scenes of the rain falling, of the red-haired twins in their joyful dance. And then the somber altar scene in loving detail. It was the body of a woman lying on the altar, and in their hands the twins held two tiny, carefully drawn plates. Soldiers bore down upon the ceremony with swords uplifted. The twins were taken into bondage, weeping. And then came the hostile tribunal and the familiar escape. In another picture, faint but still discernible, the twins held an infant between them, a small bundle with dots for eyes and the barest bit of red hair; then to others they entrusted their treasure as once more the menacing soldiers appeared.
And lastly, the one twin, amid the full leafy trees of the jungle, her arms out as if reaching for her sister, the red pigment of her hair stuck to the stone wall with dried blood.
How well she could recall her excitement. She had shared her father's ecstasy, that he had found the twins a world apart from each other, in these ancient pictures, buried in the mountain caves of Palestine and Peru.
It seemed the greatest event in history; nothing could have been so important. Then a year later a vase had been discovered in a Berlin museum that bore the very same figures, kneeling, plates in had before the stone bier. A crude thing it was, without documentation. But what did that matter? It had been dated 4000 B.C. by the most reliable methods, and there unmistakably, in the newly translated language of ancient Sumer, were the words that meant so much to all of them:
"The Legend of the Twins"
Yes, so terribly significant, it had all seemed. The foundation of a life's work, until her presented his research.
They'd laughed at him. Or ignored him. Not believable, such a link between the Old World and the New. Six thousand years old, indeed! They'd relegated him to the "crazy camp" along with those who talked of ancient astronauts, Atlantis, and the lost kingdom of Mu.
How he'd argued, lectured, begged them to believe, to journey with him to the caves, to see for themselves! How he'd laid out the specimens of pigment, the lab reports, the detailed studies of the plants in the carvings and even the white robes of the twins.
Another man might have given it up. Every university and foundation had turned him away. He had no money even to care for his children. He took a teaching position for bread and butter, and, in the evenings, wrote letters to museums all over the world. And a clay tablet, covered with drawings, was found in Manchester and another in London, both clearly depicting the twins! On borrowed money he journeyed to photograph these artifacts. He wrote papers on them for obscure publications. He continued his search.
Then she had come, the quiet-spoken and eccentric woman who had listened to him, looked at his materials, and then given him an ancient papyrus, found early in this century in a cave in Upper Egypt, which contained some of the very same pictures, and the words "The Legend of the Twins."
"A gift for you," She'd said. And then she'd bought the vase for him from the museum in Berlin. She obtained the tablets from England as well.
But it was the Peruvian discovery that fascinated her most of all. She gave him unlimited sums of money to go back to South America and continue his work.
For years he'd searched cave after cave for more evidence, spoken to villagers about their oldest myths and stories, examined ruined cities, temples, even old Christian churches for stones taken from pagan shrines.
But decades passed and he found nothing.
It had been the ruin of him finally. Even she, his patron, had told him to give it up. She did not want to see his life spent on this. He should leave it now to younger men. But he would not listen. This was his discovery! The Legend of the Twins! And so she wrote the checks for him and he went on until he was too old to climb the mountains and hack his way through the jungle anymore.
In the last years, he lectured only now and then. He could not interest the new students in this mystery, even when he showed the papyrus, the vase, the tablets. After all, these items did not fit anywhere really, they were of no definable period. And the caves, could anyone have found them now?
But she had been loyal, his patron. She'd bought him this house in Rio, created a trust for him which would come to his daughter when he died. Her money had paid for his daughter's education, for so many other things. Strange that they lived in such comfort. It was as if he had been successful after all.
"Call her," he said again. He was becoming agitated, empty hands scraping at the photographs. After all, his daughter had not moved. She stood at his shoulder looking down at the pictures, at the figures of the twins.
"All right, Father." She left him with his book.
It was late afternoon the next day when his daughter came in to kiss him. The nurse said that he'd' been crying like a child. He opened his eyes as his daughter squeezed his hand.
"I know now what they did to them," he said. "I've seen it! It was sacrilege what they did."
His daughter tried to quiet him. She told him that she had called the woman. The woman was on her way.
"She wasn't in Bangkok, Daddy. She's moved to Burma, to Rangoon. But I reached her there, and she was so glad to hear from you. She said she'd leave within a few hours. She wants to know about the dreams."
He was so happy. She was coming. He closed his eyes and turned his head into the pillow. "The dreams will start again, after dark," he whispered. "The whole tragedy will start again."
"Daddy, rest," she said. "Until she comes."
Sometime during the night he died. When his daughter came in, he was already cold. The nurse was waiting for her instructions. He had the dull, half-lidded stare of dead people. His pencil was lying on the coverlet, and there was a piece of paper--the flyleaf of his precious book--crumpled under his right hand.
She didn't cry. For a moment she didn't do anything. She remembered the cave in Palestine, the lantern. "Do you see? The two women?"
Gently, she closed his eyes, and kissed his forehead. He'd written something on the piece of paper. She lifted his cold, stiff fingers and removed the paper and read the few words he'd scrawled in his uneven spidery hand:
"IN THE JUNGLES--WALKING."
What could it mean?
And it was too late to reach the woman now. She would probably arrive sometime that evening. All that long way--.
Well, she would give her the paper, if it mattered, and tell her the things he'd said about the twins.
From the Hardcover edition.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you are new to this series, please *PLEASE* for the love of the gods read Interview With a Vampire first and do the books in order. Otherwise you will have no clue what's really going on, and you will definitely not be able to appreciate this book as much. Trust me on this, my friend made that mistake. Far and away the best work in the entire Vampire Chronicles, Queen of the Damned left me hanging on the edge of my seat from cover to cover. Unlike the other books in the series, it picks up exactly where the previous book, The Vampire Lestat left off. Anne Rice has long been one of my favorite authors and this one does not disappoint. As in The Vampire Lestat, Queen of the Damned is narrated by Lestat. But unlike 'Lestat, Queen of the Damned includes side views and stories by others observers, and after all the events were over, told Lestat the story. The action is spread out over six thousand years from one end of the world to the other, with a lot of mythology and pondering taking the place of the thrilling, energetic action of the earlier novels. It is here that we come face to face with the origins of the vampires, with thousands of years of mystery and blood. We see our intrepid anti-hero, Lestat, both enraptured by and at odds with the most powerful vampiress yet. My all time favorite character of her's is in this book Khayman a vampire so old he has forgotten who he is. This is such a rich and beautiful book that I would recommend it to everybody. It explains how her vampires came into being and answers so many of the questions that Louie had in Interview with the Vampire her first novel in this series.
I loved how they told the history of the queen and how Amel the evil spirit transformed her into a vampire i loved how there were twins and it explained how they became of vampires also it was so interesting an i loved it i would definatley recomned this to every one compared to the movie the movie sucked and i thought i loved the movie but the book was so much better wow did the movie suck
I just sat and watched this movie with my husband. Don't even try to watch it without first reading the book! I spent most of the movie explaining who certain characters were and what the motivation was behind about half of the characters' actions. I adore Ann Rice and this book was one of my favorites. The characters are complex and so easy to fall in love with. Akasha is one bad female, but I can't say that her plans for world domination didn't have certain agreeable aspects. Hah, Hah! The plot can get a little confusing as both new and older, beloved characters are introduced into the fray. But, if you can just hang on and enjoy the complex ride, the climax is well worth the wait!
Simply enjoyable without fault, the more you read it the more it pulls you in. And you don't want to come out, exquisite.
Loved the Vampire Chronicles in high school and still do. bought this one for my 18 yr old daughter and she loved it too.
A little weird in the twist of Lastat's career choices but soon became engulfing.
My favorite out of the three original vampire books by Anne Rice. As in all her books the description and details of every setting and interaction are brought to life in such a vivid manner, the book is truly an enjoyable walk in the imagination of the reader. I loved how she expands on her historical cross references with the queen and brings all the beloved characters from the first two books and a few new ones together in an effort to help Lestat out of his latest adventure. More of a dive into the main characters and less introduction of new one time characters would have further solidified the book for me. I was delighted that Anne revisited many of these characters in later novels, which in time made up for the missing parts in this book. The political and social issues batted around in this book are timeless and can apply to any point in history, making one wonder if humans can learn from the past and move on. An enjoyable read from start to finish. A
Anne Rice delivers a story in a poetic and brilliant way that nobody else can. The Queen of the Damned originally ended the Vampire Chronicles back in the '80s, although she has written more now. The legend of the twins backplot, perfectly detail the origin of the vampire curse and gives insight into the way Akasha is the way she is. Lestat stood out the most as he is the main protagonist of the series. However, literally the first half of the book, describes the life and times of ghost hunters and mortals that by the end of the book, have no place and no dialougue at all--their relevancy was ultimately worthless, like Jesse and Daniel. Another disappointment was the finale when Akasha fought the twin, Rice builds this whole scenario to finally engage at the end of this book and the altercation last for what seems two seconds--wasn't descriptive enough at all. Rice is without a doubt, one of the most talented writers in the world, but The Queen of The Damned failed to enthrall me and bring closure to the best vampire epic ever created.
When I first picked up 'The Queen of the Damned', I was really expecting something full of gore and dementia, having not read either of Anne Rice's previous two books of the Vampire Chronicle. I was somewhat, but happily mistaken! Yes, there was some gore in parts, but it just added the flavor to this enthralling and heartspilting account of how the vampire race came to be. Honestly, I was nearly bawling when I read the part of Maharet's history. Also, as in 'The Vampire Lestat' (which I read right after this one!) I felt a lot more close to Lestat, despite how he was depicted in 'Interview With A Vampire'. I greatly enjoyed this book and reccomend it to all my friends and anyone else out there.
I HAVE READ ALL OF THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES AND THIS WAS BY FAR THE BEST. IT EXPLAINS VAMP HISTORY,RULES,AND THE LINKS BETWEEN THE ANCIENTS,FLEDGLINGS AND THE TALAMASCA. IT MAKES YOU LOVE THESE EVIL BEINGS. IT HAS ALL THESE DIFFERENT STORIES LEADING UP TO THE STORY OF THE FIRST BROOD.BY THE TIME YOU GET TO THE END OF THE BOOK ITS LIKE LOSING YOUR STRANGE BUT BEAUTIFUL,LOVING FAMILY. THIS BOOK WILL BRING YOU IN TO THIER WORLD AND YOULL NEVER WANT TO LEAVE.
Queen of the Damned, I'll admit is extremely gripping. The characters are so well defined and the history is so interesting you can't help but keep reading. The ending was just a little anti-climactic. Interview is still my favourite though.
A shame to her books are so good too ..the plot after a few pages was obivious and the story line wandered all over the place...to see several plots roll in to one finish is always good but this ended so predictably that I can honestly say what a great 'bed time read' ....I wish I had better to say but ,,,,
I did not like this book at all. The disappointment of reading 'Interview with the Vampire' & 'The Vampire Lestat', which was 2 great books. From the previous 2, it leads you to read 'The Queen of the Damned' & yes questions were answered.. but it still wasn't to good. At all. It was a bit boring, draggy, & confusing. I don't know how many times I've wandered about or daydream while I was reading it. Towards the end, maybe 85% of the book it gets good is what I could say. The book starts right after book 1 & 2. It talks about the boy in IWTV, the 1 that interviewed Louis & what happens to this reporter after the book. The story did not lead up to the end of book 2 til much much later. (It got on my nerves.) Also, the story goes in mulitple events with these minor added characters who some like Baby Jenks, was a waste of time & paper. Who cares about Baby Jenks, get to Lestat! & these 2 red hair green eyes twins appearing in everyone's visions are to annoying! It's kept repeating itself page after page after page until finally midway the story of these twins were revealed, but then interrupted by a new sequence of Lestat in 1st person & Akasha. & the other character Jesse, boring! No one wants to read about you, we're all into Lestat & Akasha, more wasted ink & paper. I cannot tell you how many times I just wanted to quit, but I was determine to read all of Rice's Vampire Chronicles so I read annoyingly. What's the the story? You tell me. It was repeating the last 2 books only with newer details & info, like the beginning of the vampires, about Enkil & Akasha. The rest were hogwash! Where is the Queen of the Damned throughout the book? The title is about her! She doesn't appear til midway. The only thing I liked about the book was that they had guest appearances from Pandora, & many 'legendary' vampires that were mention earlier. I thought that was interesting. That was about it & that after this I could read 'Tale of the Body Thief' & continue my conquest of the vampire chronicles.
Unlike Interview and Lestat, this book was harder for me to read. It took me a while to get into the "meat" of the story, which makes it harder for me to keep picking up the book to keep reading. It also seemed to be a slower pace than the other two, again making it harder for me to keep picking it up. However, that said, the book was quite enjoyable. I really love Lestat, and some of the other main characters were very interesting. I now have to go out and get the next book of the series. I'm hoping that book 4 will be better than the third, even though I enjoyed this book.
In the best way.
Too much filler. There were moments of focus, then filler. Jesse should have been the key for the book, but she was killed as soon as she discovered Claudia's doll and diary. The book is chaotic.
Ive watched the movie ever sence i was lil, the soundtrack with sexy vampires made me fall in love with the movie. But my mom told me 1 day while i was watching the music videos that Ane rice made a book and it was nothing like the movie. That the movie was a discrace to her book. I thought how could this be? Do i went and found the book and my mom was sum what right. I still love the movie but the book is my own fantasie i can excape to. -Robin