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An Anne Rice Primer: What to Read, Where to Begin

 

Cover detail, Interview With The Vampire © Penguin Random House

Anne Rice has written 35 novels and counting under her own name, as well as a couple of pen names. You might know her best for The Vampire Chronicles, but that’s only one part of the story. Rice has also written erotica, Christian fiction, and so much more. Here’s your guide to where to start exploring her diverse worlds.

  • The cover of the book Blood Communion

    Blood Communion

    A Tale of Prince Lestat

    If you’re the kind of reader who likes to start with an author’s latest book and work your way back, then you’ll want to pick up Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat. This is the story of  how Rice’s irrepressible vampire hero rose to lead the worldwide community of vampires, a tale centuries in the making. Fair warning: You might have some trouble following along, as this is the 13th book in the long-running series. 

     
  • The cover of the book Interview with the Vampire

    Interview with the Vampire

    Interview with the Vampire is the first volume in The Vampire Chronicles and for a lot of people, this is the book that put her on the map. An intensely dark, erotic tale set in 19th century New Orleans, Interview with the Vampire is the story of Louis: a troubled French plantation owner made a vampire by the demonic Lestat de Lioncourt. In my opinion, Interview with the Vampire is the only volume in The Vampire Chronicles that is really a horror novel, and its gothic atmosphere will haunt you for a long time after you’ve read the final page. 

     
  • The cover of the book The Vampire Lestat

    The Vampire Lestat

    If existential brooding and angst isn’t your thing, then you can probably get away with skipping Interview with the Vampire altogether. After all, Lestat is the main character for the rest of the series, and his story really begins in full with The Vampire Lestat. This novel is “written” by Lestat to respond to Louis’ version of their time together, but it is more than just a simple retort: It is a memoir in full, and sets the stage for the books to come. 

     
  • The cover of the book The Witching Hour

    The Witching Hour

    After The Vampire Chronicles, Rice’s best-known series is Lives of the Mayfair Witches: a multi-generational saga of a supernaturally gifted family and its relationship with the unseen world. The Witching Hour sees a young physician summoned from her life and career in California to her ancestral home in New Orleans. It is there that she discovers a dark presence whose fate is intertwined with her own. 

     
  • The cover of the book The Wolf Gift

    The Wolf Gift

    The Wolf Gift Chronicles (1)

    Vampires and witches aren’t your thing? Try The Wolf Gift, Rice’s take on the werewolf myth. Young journalist Reuben Golding survives an attack by a werewolf, only to become one himself. Unlike the werewolves you see in movies, Reuben is not a raging beast: He can control his bestial impulses to the point where he only targets evildoers. It’s a decidedly upbeat read for a werewolf tale (tail?), and is closer to a superhero story than a horror novel — not that there’s anything wrong with that!

     
  • The cover of the book The Mummy or Ramses the Damned

    The Mummy or Ramses the Damned

    A Novel

    Fine. No vampires, witches, or werewolves. Might I interest you in a mummy? The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned is the tale of an ancient Egyptian man resurrected in Edwardian London. It’s a slower read than Rice’s vampire novels, but The Mummy is a satisfying and wholly original take on what would otherwise be a familiar story.

     
  • The cover of the book Exit to Eden

    Exit to Eden

    Maybe you want something a bit spicy. If so, try Exit to Eden, a work of BDSM erotica set at an exclusive island resort where sexual submissives are matched with wealthy “masters” with a taste for the whip. It’s definitely not for everyone, and on that note, beware the 1994 movie adaptation starring Dan Akyroyd and Rosie O’Donnell — it’s for no one.

     
  • The cover of the book The Young Messiah (Movie tie-in) (originally published as Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt)

    The Young Messiah (Movie tie-in) (originally published as Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt)

    A Novel

    Rice was raised as a Roman Catholic, and her relationship with faith has changed over the years. Following a highly publicized reconciliation with the Church, Rice turned her efforts  toward writing religious fiction. The result was Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. Abandoning the hothouse prose stylings of her horror and erotic fiction, Christ the Lord is a comparatively straightforward look at a year in the life of the young Jesus.