Pandora by Anne Rice
Anne Rice, creator of the Vampire Lestat, the Mayfair witches and the amazing worlds they inhabit, now gives us the first in a new series of novels linked together by the fledgling vampire David Talbot, who has set out to become a chronicler of his fellow Undead.
The novel opens in present-day Paris in a crowded café, where David meets Pandora. She is two thousand years old, a Child of the Millennia, the first vampire ever made by the great Marius. David persuades her to tell the story of her life.
Pandora begins, reluctantly at first and then with increasing passion, to recount her mesmerizing tale, which takes us through the ages, from Imperial Rome to eighteenth-century France to twentieth-century Paris and New Orleans. She carries us back to her mortal girlhood in the world of Caesar Augustus, a world chronicled by Ovid and Petronius. This is where Pandora meets and falls in love with the handsome, charismatic, lighthearted, still-mortal Marius. This is the Rome she is forced to flee in fear of assassination by conspirators plotting to take over the city. And we follow her to the exotic port of Antioch, where she is destined to be reunited with Marius, now immortal and haunted by his vampire nature, who will bestow on her the Dark Gift as they set out on the fraught and fantastic adventure of their two turbulent centuries together.
Pandora by Anne Rice was written in 1998 and it is the first book in The New Tales of The Vampires series. This is the first Anne Rice book I have read since 2000, where I read Interview With The Vampire and part of The Vampire Lestat. I am so glad I have been finding near-mint conditions of her books at library book sales and started adding them to my collection over the last year. Her writing is on another level of gorgeousness. She writes with such poise, elegance, and mystique. And, from what I remember about her previous book(s) I read, Pandora is no exception to the wonders of her writing style.
One of the things I enjoyed so much about Pandora was all the history woven into the story. The story of Pandora’s past begins around 15 BC in the times of the Roman Republic. This story, however, is being told in writing as Pandora (in the “present” time) is writing her story in a letter that she was asked to produce by a younger vampire, David. In this letter he has asked her to talk about her mortal life and what led up to her change. Pandora tells us of her travels and her weird dreams/nightmares about blood drinkers and whatnot. Like many vampires we know, Pandora is “a morose, despairing immortal who initially wanted immortality but soon regretted her choice and turns into a dark, indifferent cynic.” In this book, we get to learn more about Roman times and religions, about Queen Isis, Osiris, and we get to learn a little more about some other vampires famous in Rice’s world like Akasha and Lestat. I think I am mostly impressed with Rice’s Roman research and how she found a way to put that into the story and keep me entertained.
Pandora’s story is full of what you would expect from Rice: hope, tragedy, love, death. I really enjoyed learning about Pandora and Marius and everything that happened between them.
If you are a fan of Anne Rice’s works, this is a no-brainer to pick up and continue your journey. If you are new to her world or returning after a long absence, then this book is quite nice to pick up and use to reacquaint yourself with her style and the world of vampires she has so wonderfully crafted. This one gets a 4 out of 5 stars from me and I am ready to add this woman to a list of authors whose complete bibliography I want to read!
About Anne Rice
Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. Anne has spent more of her life in California than in New Orleans, but New Orleans is her true home and provides the back drop for many of her famous novels. The French Quarter provided the setting for her first novel, Interview with the Vampire. And her ante-bellum house in the Garden District was the fictional home of her imaginary Mayfair Witches.
Anne is very active on her Facebook Fan Page and has over one million followers! She answers questions every day on the page, and also posts on a variety of topics, including literature, film, music, politics, religion, and her own writings. She welcomes discussion there on numerous topics.
She is the author of over 30 novels. Her first novel, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976 and has gone on to become one of the best-selling novels of all time. She continued her saga of the Vampire Lestat in a series of books, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles, which have had both great mainstream and cult followings. Interview with the Vampire was made into a motion picture in 1994, directed by Neil Jordan, and starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas. Anne’s novel, Feast of All Saints about the free people of color of ante-bellum New Orleans became a Showtime mini series in 2001 and is available now on DVD. The script for the mini series by John Wilder was a faithful adaptation of the novel. Anne Rice is also the author of other novels, including The Witching Hour, Servant of the Bones, Merrick, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle, Violin, and Cry to Heaven.
Her latest novel, Prince Lestat, is the continuation of the Vampire Chronicles, published on October 27, 2014. With the old queen of the vampires, Akasha, long dead, the Undead are in chaos all over the world. Rice’s fabled Brat Prince, Lestat, is the only immortal known by name to all vampires young and old and many appeal to him to come out of his long exile and bring order as wanton destruction plagues revenants in city after city around the globe. With a return of some of Rice’s most memorable characters, such as the melancholic Louis, the childlike Armand, the twins Maharet and Mekare, the former Talamasca scholar David Talbot, the ancient Romans Pandora and the noble Marius, and even Lestat’s distant mother Gabrielle, the reader will meet many new vampires, all of whom must cooperate in guiding the vampire kinship with technology and ritual toward the path of unity, building a new vampire kingdom in the modern world.