Vittorio the Vampire (New Tales of the Vampires Series #2)

Vittorio the Vampire (New Tales of the Vampires Series #2)

by Anne Rice

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345422392
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/27/2001
Series: New Tales of the Vampires Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 177,233
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

ANNE RICE is the author of twenty-one books. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, the poet and painter Stan Rice.


Rancho Mirage, California

Date of Birth:

October 4, 1941

Place of Birth:

Rancho Mirage, California


B.A., San Francisco State University, 1964; M.A., 1971

Read an Excerpt

When I was a small boy I had a terrible dream. I dreamt I held in my arms the severed heads of my younger brother and sister. They were quick still, and mute, with big fluttering eyes, and reddened cheeks, and so horrified was I that I could make no more of a sound than they could.

The dream came true.

But no one will weep for me or for them. They have been buried, nameless, beneath five centuries of time.

I am a vampire.

My name is Vittorio, and I write this now in the tallest tower of the ruined mountaintop castle in which I was born, in the northernmost part of Tuscany, that most beautiful of lands in the very center of Italy.

By anyone's standards, I am a remarkable vampire, most powerful, having lived five hundred years from the great days of Cosimo de' Medici, and even the angels will attest to my powers, if you can get them to speak to you. Be cautious on that point.

I have, however, nothing whatsoever to do with the "Coven of the Articulate," that band of strange romantic vampires in and from the Southern New World city of New Orleans who have regaled you already with so many chronicles and tales.

I know nothing of those heroes of macabre fact masquerading as fiction. I know nothing of their enticing paradise in the swamplands of Louisiana. You will find no new knowledge of them in these pages, not even, hereafter, a mention.

I have been challenged by them, nevertheless, to write the story of my own beginnings--the fable of my making--and to cast this fragment of my life in book form into the wide world, so to speak, where it may come into some random or destined contact with their well-published volumes.

I have spent my centuries of vampiric existence in clever, observant roaming and study, never provoking the slightest danger from my own kind, and never arousing their knowledge or suspicions.

But this is not to be the unfolding of my adventures.

It is, as I have said, to be the tale of my beginnings. For I believe I have revelations within me which will be wholly original to you. Perhaps when my book is finished and gone from my hands, I may take steps to become somehow a character in that grand roman-fleuve begun by other vampires in San Francisco or New Orleans. For now, I cannot know or care about it.

As I spend my tranquil nights, here, among the overgrown stones of the place where I was so happy as a child, our walls now broken and misshapen among the thorny blackberry vines and fragrant smothering forests of oak and chestnut trees, I am compelled to record what befell me, for it seems that I may have suffered a fate very unlike that of any other vampire.

I do not always hang about this place.

On the contrary, I spend most of my time in that city which for me is the queen of all cities--Florence-- which I loved from the very first moment I saw it with a child's eyes in the years when Cosimo the Elder ran his powerful Medici bank with his own hand, even though he was the richest man in Europe.

In the house of Cosimo de' Medici lived the great sculptor Donatello making sculptures of marble and bronze, as well as painters and poets galore, writers on magic and makers of music. The great Brunelleschi, who had made the very dome of Florence's greatest church, was building yet another Cathedral for Cosimo in those days, and Michelozzo was rebuilding not only the monastery of San Marco but commencing the palazzo for Cosimo which would one day be known to all the world as the Palazzo Vecchio. For Cosimo, men went all over Europe seeking in dusty libraries long forgotten the classics of Greek and Rome, which Cosimo's scholars would translate into our native Italian, the language which Dante had boldly chosen many years before for his Divine Comedy.

And it was under Cosimo's roof that I saw, as a mortal boy of destiny and promise--yes, I myself saw--the great guests of the Council of Trent who had come from far Byzantium to heal the breach between the Eastern and Western church: Pope Eugenius IV of Rome, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Emperor of the East himself, John VIII Paleologus. These great men I saw enter the city in a terrible storm of bitter rain, but nevertheless with indescribable glory, and these men I saw eat from Cosimo's table.

Enough, you might say. I agree with you. This is no history of the Medici. But let me only say that anyone who tells you that they were scoundrels, these great men, is a perfect idiot. It was the descendants of Cosimo who took care of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and artists without count. And it was all because a banker, a moneylender if you will, thought it splendid and good to give beauty and magnificence to the city of Florence.

I'll come back to Cosimo at the right point, and only for a few brief words, though I must confess I am having trouble being brief here on any score, but for now let me say that Cosimo belongs to the living.

I have been in bed with the dead since 1450.

Now to tell how it began, but allow me one more preface.

Don't look here, please, for antique language. You will not find a rigid fabricated English meant to conjure castle walls by stilted diction and constricted vocabulary.

I shall tell my tale naturally and effectively, wallowing in words, for I love them. And, being an immortal, I have devoured over four centuries of English, from the plays of Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson to the abrupt and harshly evocative words of a Sylvester Stallone movie.

You'll find me flexible, daring, and now and then a shock. But what can I do but draw upon the fullest descriptive power I can command, and mark that English now is no more the language of one land, or even two or three or four, but has become the language of all the modern world from the backwoods of Tennessee to the most remote Celtic isles and down under to the teeming cities of Australia and New Zealand.

I am Renaissance-born. Therefore I delve in all, and blend without prejudice, and that some higher good pertains to what I do, I cannot doubt.

As for my native Italian, hear it softly when you say my name, Vittorio, and breathe it like perfume from the other names which are sprinkled throughout this text. It is, beneath all, a language so sweet as to make of the English word "stone" three syllables: pi-ea-tra. There has never been a gentler language on earth. I speak all other tongues with the Italian accent you'll hear in the streets of Florence today.

And that my English-speaking victims find my blandishments so pretty, accented as they are, and yield to my soft lustrous Italian pronunciations, is a constant source of bliss for me.

But I am not happy.

Don't think so.

I wouldn't write a book to tell you that a vampire was happy.

I have a brain as well as a heart, and there hovers about me an etheric visage of myself, created most definitely by some Higher Power, and entangled completely within the intangible weave of that etheric visage is what men call a soul. I have such. No amount of blood can drown away its life and leave me but a thriving revenant.

Okay. No problem. Yes, yes. Thank you!--as everybody in the entire world can say in English. We're ready to begin.

Except I want to give you a quote from an obscure but wonderful writer, Sheridan Le Fanu, a paragraph spoken in extreme angst by a haunted character in one of his many exquisitely written ghost stories. This author, a native of Dublin, died in 1873, but mark how fresh is this language, and how horrifying the expression of the character Captain Barton in the story called "The Familiar":

Whatever may be my uncertainty as to the authenticity of what we are taught to call revelation, of one fact I am deeply and horribly convinced, that there does exist beyond this a spiritual world--a system whose workings are generally in mercy hidden from us--a system which may be, and which is sometimes, partially and terribly revealed. I am sure--I know. . . that there is a God--a dreadful God--and that retribution follows guilt, in ways the most mysterious and stupendous--by agencies the most inexplicable and terrific; --there is a spiritual system--great God, how I have been convinced!--a system malignant, and implacable, and omnipotent, under whose persecutions I am, and have been, suffering the torments of the damned!

What do you think of that?

I am myself rather mortally struck by it. I don't think I am prepared to speak of our God as "dreadful" or our system as "malignant," but there seems an eerie inescapable ring of truth to these words, written in fiction but obviously with much emotion.

It matters to me because I suffer under a terrible curse, quite unique to me, I think, as a vampire. That is, the others don't share it. But I think we all--human, vampire, all of us who are sentient and can weep--we all suffer under a curse, the curse that we know more than we can endure, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, we can do about the force and the lure of this knowledge.

At the end, we can take this up again. See what you make of my story.

It's early evening here. The brave remnant of my father's highest tower still rises boldly enough against the sweetly star-filled heavens for me to see from the window the moonlighted hills and valleys of Tuscany, aye, even as far as the twinkling sea below the mines of Carrara. I smell the flowering green of the steep undiscovered country round where the irises of Tuscany still break out in violent red or white in sunny beds, to be found by me in the silky night.

And so embraced and protected, I write, ready for the moment when the full yet ever obscure moon leaves me for the hideaway of clouds, to light the candles that stand ready, some six, ensconced within the thick ruggedly worked silver of the candelabra which once stood on my father's desk, in those days when he was the old-style feudal lord of this mountain and all its villages, and the firm ally in peace and war of the great city of Florence and its unofficial ruler, when we were rich, fearless, curious and wondrously contented.

Let me speak now of what has vanished.

Table of Contents

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Vittorio the Vampire (New Tales of the Vampires Series #2) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 132 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the first book in the New Tales Of The Vampire series,Pandora,and I really enjoyed that storyline(it included of course the references to Lestat throughout the book).I decided to go and pick up Vittorio to see how that was and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I usually enjoy Anne Rice's novels and can read them in just a few days.They are usually gripping and extremely entertaining but this book wasn't that gripping and was very tiresome to read.I could put the book down and go on with other things and not worry about reading what happens next because it would take to long to get to the point. Usually Mrs.Rice does a great job with her novels but this one just wasn't that great.Now don't get me wrong,it had it's moments and that's why I am giving it a recommendation and it had a lot of history so if you are into reading a history book then you'll love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read each of the Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles but this, in my opinion, was the best. My sister gave me the book as a Christmas gift and when I got home, I made myself a cup of coffee and starting reading it. I couldn't stop and ended up reading all through the night, finishing the next morning. I've never done that with a book before or since, but with Vittorio, I just didn't want to stop.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me start by saying that I am an avid fan of Anne Rice's, and I must say after reading mostly all of the Vampire Chronicles this one is by far the BEST BEST BEST!!!!!!!!! Such a pleasure to take a turn from the modern New Orleans and venture into the lush and beautiful Florence. Great reading I would defiantely recommend this book TOUCHE' Ms Rice you have truley out did yourself on this one
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of Anne Rice but after Armand I grew tired of her Vampire books..then came Vittorio. By far the best book she has ever written, let me say that again. The BEST book she has EVER written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a fabulous story from beginning to the end. The further I gotten into the story it felt like I was in a trance. I enjoyed the history of it so much. The characters were great too. I'd recommend anyone to read Vittorio because it is a masterpiece. Anne Rice has touched gold with this tale.
thioviolight on LibraryThing 8 months ago
It was nice revisiting the vampires of Anne Rice, and though Vittorio is not as good as the earlier Vampire Chronicles, I still enjoyed it more than later books like Merrick. I enjoyed reading Rice's lush descriptions and loved the Italian setting of the novel. It was great for a little escape.
PigOfHappiness on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A bit strange as Vittorio is a somewhat new character to the series, however, enjoyable nonetheless. Appropriate for high school and beyond.
tanisha364 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Such a disappointment. Anne Rice is usually so clever. This book is not memorable at all. I can't believe that Anne Rice wrote such a dull and boring story. It wasn't creative at all and I kept waiting for the plot and the characters to get better, but sadly they never did. Upon finishing the last page, I found myself saying "That's it?? What crap!"I know Anne Rice to be better than this and I'm convinced that she wasn't 100% into this story or idea, otherwise it would have been much better. Try any other book by her and I'm sure you'll be pleased, but I wouldn't waste my time with this one.
Anagarika-Sean on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not bad. Mrs. Rice is a wonderful writer.
sdtaylor555 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not my favorite in the series, but a good read.
dakobstah on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Although it will never hold the same place in my heart that "Interview with the Vampire" does this book is the best written of all of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. It is shorter but more carefully edited and tightly plotted. This book restored my faith in the Vampire Chronicles in the wake of "The Vampire Armand." A must-read for all Anne Rice fans, especially those who feel that some of her later works are a bit too sprawling and tired.
Aloel on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Educated in the Florence of Cosimo de' Medici, trained in knighthood at his father's mountaintop castle, Vittorio inhabits a world of courtly splendor and country pleasures -- a world suddenly threatened when his entire family is confronted by an unholy power.In the midst of this upheaval, Vittorio is seduced by the vampire Ursula, the most beautiful of his supernatural enemies. As he sets out in pursuit of vengenace, entering the nightmarish Court of the Ruby Grail, increasingly more enchanted (and confused) by his love for the mysterious Ursula, he finds himself facing demonic adversaries, war and political intrigue.Against a backdrop of the wonders -- both sacred and profane -- and the beauty and ferocity of Renaissance Italy, Anne Rice creates a passionate and tragic legend of doomed young love and lost innocence.
ragwaine on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Too short, not enough characters, not enough plot. Good writing.
MoiraStirling on LibraryThing 11 months ago
THIS novel is a commercial. A very gruesome, silly, why-didn't-I-turn-the-channel, commercial. I found myself deconstructing the plot and unraveling the characters, which is NOT something you want to be doing when want to be caught up in the world portrayed. This is actually on level with Pandora, I think. (Please note: that is not a compliment.)
surreality on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Plot: A weak and very constructed plot with occasionally gaping holes. Most of the story simply isn't believable, in particular the relationship of Ursula and Vittorio that is expected to carry most of the plot. The book feels very unfinished and does not reach a true ending. Characters: A completely new cast of vampires, but none of them are interesting in any way. Characterization is skipped over whenever it doesn't concern religious or sexual issues, and even there it is done crudely. No love was involved when these characters were created. Style: The plot is too weak to carry the story, and the descriptions weigh it down further. The setting in Renaissance Italy could have been so much more interesting than it is if it had been fleshed out a little more. The religious aspect is not as heavily enforced as in later books, but it is enough to suffocate the writing. Plus: Occasional nice writing. No re-telling of past books. Minus: The book fails to generate any interest whatsoever. Turning the last page is done with a faint feeling of relief that the boredom is finally over. Summary: It's not really part of the Vampire Chronicles, and needs to be read only for completion's sake.
vampyredhead on LibraryThing 11 months ago
New tales of the vampires series. This book proves again no one writes vampire stories like Anne Rice. A soulful, sensual book. A very entertaining read.
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