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Anne Rice fans will greet Pandora: New Tales of the Vampires, the first of her new vampire chronicles, as hungrily as the Fang Gang facing a fresh new neck. Our heroine, Pandora, a senator's daughter in Augustus Caesar's day, flees to Antioch when her family gets killed and discovers the antidote to stern Roman rationalism in the occult wisdom of the East. "Something attacked my reason," Pandora writes. "The very thing the Roman Emperors had so feared in Egyptian cults and Oriental cults swept over me: mystery and emotion which claim a superiority to reason and law."
Pandora gets her sexy vampire initiation at the fangs of handsome Marius (who later inducted Rice's famed vampire Lestat). Pandora tells how a nice Roman girl became a vampire in modern Paris, but mostly the book celebrates the sights and sounds (and philosophical bloodlettings) of the classical world. Pandora is more like Robert Graves's sublime I, Claudius than Rice's The Complete Vampire Chronicles.
Yet Pandora is a logical extension of Rice's work, and Pandora is a combination of her past vampire heroes and the nakedly, horrifyingly autobiographical heroine of Rice's 1997 novel Violin. Now, Violin is remarkably messy, but it captures the volcanic passion that erupts in her best work--Rice calls it "a study in pain." Pandora is really a dramatized debate between passion and reason, which Pandora calls "male reason." She teases her vampire mentor: "Marius guarded his delicate rationality as a Vestal Virgin guards a sacred flame. If ever any ecstatic emotion took hold of me, he [would] tell me in no uncertain terms that it was irrational, irrational, irrational!" (To hear how close Pandora's voice is to her passionate creator, listen to the 1997 audiocassette Interview with Anne Rice.)
Rice's research gives fresh blood to her storytelling. Even her chronic third-act problem scarcely slows down this brisk romp of a novel. Pandora has intellectual thirst as well as blood lust, and she conveys the high old time Rice obviously had imbibing historical lore. "It is fun to read these mad Gnostics!" exults Pandora in the early Christian era. It is also fun to read this mad Pandora. Anne Rice hasn't been this fun to read in years. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Although Rice bid goodbye to the vampire Lestat in Memnoch the Devil, her fifth novel in The Vampire Chronicles, she has not abandoned vampires altogether. Two installments are planned this year in her New Tales of the Vampires series, and in the first of these, the ancient vampire Pandora tells her story. Urged on by David Talbot?fledgling vampire, self-appointed chronicler and former psychic detective?Pandora documents in sophisticated detail her pre-vampire existence as the privileged daughter of a Roman senator. She's a curious character, first introduced in The Queen of the Damned, in which Marius described her as the Greek courtesan who seduced him into making her a vampire and helped him care for the vampire progenitors until strife forced them apart. Here, Pandora herself sets the record straight. Born early in Augustus's reign, the educated, spirited Pandora was no courtesan?though we do see her challenge the sexual mores of her moment. When Tiberius brings chaos to Rome, and dishonor and death to Pandora's family, she goes to Antioch and tries to solve the mystery of her compelling blood dreams about Egypt. There, she reunites with her childhood crush, Marius, and learns from him what it means to be a vampire. Along the way, we find little of Rice's trademark eroticism, but Pandora has long been one of her more elusive characters, so fans will relish this vivid rendering of her life and times. Random House audio.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The "autobiography" of the Vampire Pandora, who has appeared in "The Vampire Lestat" and "Queen of the Damned" as a minor character, is a fascinating... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004 by James Yanni
My grandmother handed me this book and told me to read it. She said she didn't like it, but thought I might. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2003
Read it, relish it & kiss Anne Rice's talent & abulity to stay in character bon voyage.
This one's spiffy for those who like both fantasy & History, she even did... Read more
This ranks as one of my favorite novels from the Vampire Chronicles. Pandora was an intriguing character from the moment Marius mentioned her in The Vampire Lestat. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2003 by Avid Reader
i absolutely love this book and recomend it to anyone and everyone!Published on Nov. 20 2003 by jacky
I found this book endlessly intoxicating and one of my absolute favorites from Anne Rice. I have just finished Blood Canticle and I am about to start reading all of Anne's books... Read morePublished on Nov. 9 2003 by Cristal Wrhel
Obviously Anne Rice's publishers would publish her weekly grocery lists if she submitted them in book form. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2003