In a swirling universe filled with death and life, corruption and innocence, this mesmerizing novel takes us on a wondrous journey back through the centuries to a civilization half-human, of wholly mysterious origin, at odds with mortality and immortality, justice and guilt. It is an enchanted, hypnotic world that could only come from the imagination of Anne Rice.
Rice has now completed a trilogy that began with The Witching Hour (1990) and continued with Lasher. This saga, which could easily keep Rice busy for years to come, is about a race of giants, the Taltos, that grow to their full size within hours after their births. In this installment, Rice has lightened up a bit, leaving all the bloody eroticism of her earlier books for more inventive, less wrenching situations and more amusing and sympathetic characters. Rice fans will still find lots of faked arcane history, sex, hocus-pocus, conspiracy, and weirdness, but there's tenderness here, even thoughtful allegory, and a comprehensible plot. Unlike Lasher, this novel's Taltos is ancient and kindly. Calling himself Mr. Ash, he poses as a reclusive billionaire, an immensely tall and romantically handsome genius who mass-produces dolls and toys and lives chastely within the cocoon of great wealth. But Ash, actually Ashlar, is haunted by centuries-old memories of the brutal abuse of his race by humans. He wonders if he's the only survivor and barely acknowledges the faint hope of finding a female Taltos. Meanwhile, all kinds of violent events have taken place among the witchy Mayfairs of New Orleans. Rowan has survived Lasher's siege only to learn that her pretty but naughty, redheaded 13-year-old cousin Mona is pregnant with Rowan's husband's child. Ashlar and the Mayfair witches end up joining forces to thwart whoever is murdering their mutual friends, only to discover that Mona has a surprise for everyone. Rice's loyal disciples will be pleased.
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