Thursday, November 10, 2005

A New Light

Anne Rice

After 25 novels in 25 years, author Anne Rice hasn't published a book since 2003's Blood Chronicle, the tenth volume of her best-selling vampire series. Many may have heard she came close to death last year, when she had surgery for an intestinal blockage, and also back in 1998, when she went into a sudden diabetic coma; that same year she returned to the Roman Catholic Church, which she'd left at 18. Many of Rice's fans also knew that Stan Rice, her husband of 41 years, died of a brain tumor in 2002.

"For the last six months," Rice said in a recent interview, "people have been sending e-mails saying, 'What are you doing next?' And I've told them, 'You may not want what I'm doing next'."

In any event, we'll all know soon now that Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, has come out with her latest offering titled Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord."

Rice knows Out of Egypt and its projected sequels—three, she thinks—could alienate her following; as she writes in the afterword, "I was ready to do violence to my career." But she sees a continuity with her old books, whose compulsive, conscience-stricken evildoers reflect her long spiritual unease. "I mean, I was in despair." In that afterword she calls Christ "the ultimate supernatural hero ... the ultimate immortal of them all."

Sounding like a complete writing "makeover" for Rice at this stage of the game, still it's something many are interested in seeing for themselves—whether it be for the best—or otherwise. So needless to say, I, too, am anxious to break open Rice's most daring book yet, and soon.

On a different note, it's certainly great to hear that she's feeling a lot better health-wise these days. All the very best, Anne.

Make it a good Thursday. Peace

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