COMMISSIONED BOOK REVIEW
With its ornate packaging and neo-gothic graphic design, the audio book version of Anne Rice’s immortal trilogy, “The Vampire Chronicles” is eerily enticing in its own right. But lift the casket-like lid, slide the first tape from its ghostly sleeve and you’ll find yourself immersed in the hypnotic realm of the undead.
Part One, “Interview with the Vampire,” opens with a seductive nonchalance as F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus) purrs, “I was a twenty five year old man when I became a vampire and the year was 1791.” And so our ultimate anti-hero, Louis, begins the elaborate retelling of his long, tortured life as a vampire. Winding through the ages we follow Louis and his undying mentor, Lestat, from New Orleans to Paris as they feed on humans, whet their carnal appetites, and uncover a vast underworld of vampire brethren.
Part Two, “The Vampire Lestat” brings us up to date, with Lestat waking from his earthen slumber to join the ranks of rock superstardom before sitting down to share the tale of his own haunting initiation into the vampire world. Michael York (Cabaret) uses his wonderfully fluid, cosmopolitan voice to add a dash of sly humor to this fast-paced, satisfying blend of sex, blood, and rock and roll.
Part Three, “The Queen of the Damned,” takes us back, way back, all the way to ancient Egypt to expose the origins of the vampire way. Narrating in eerily serene and gracious tones, Kate Nelligan (The Prince of Tides) escorts us gently down a bloody path of immortal desires, while David Purdham (Ryan’s Hope) gives the voice of Lestat a wistful quality, tinged with an evil relish that exposes the master vampire’s sanguine tastes.
Anne Rice has continued her Vampire Chronicles beyond these three novels, but that shouldn’t make this collection any less tempting to either the undead initiate or vampire expert alike.