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Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice

Memnoch the Devil (1995)

by Anne Rice

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After stalking and killing Roger, a ruthless but enthrallingly passionate mobster, Lestat is approached by his ghost. Roger's ghost asks him to take care of his daughter Dora, a devout and popular television evangelist, whom he wants to spare from embarrassment. At the same time, he is becoming increasingly paranoid that he's being stalked by a powerful force. Lestat and his companions try to protect her "church" from the fact that her father was a killer.

Eventually, Lestat meets the Devil, who calls himself "Memnoch". He takes Lestat on a whirlwind tour of Heaven, Hell, and the main epochs in the evolution of the universe. The tour offers a retelling of the entirety of biblical history from the devil's point of view, in an effort, by Memnoch, to convince Lestat to join him in a noble quest. In his journey, Memnoch claims he is not evil but merely working for God by ushering lost souls into Heaven. Lestat is left in confusion, unable to decide whether or not to cast his lot with the Devil.

After the tour, Lestat believes himself to have had a major revelation. Among other things, he believes that he has seen Christ's crucifixion and that he has received Saint Veronica's Veil. He has also lost an eye in Hell. He tells his story to Armand, David Talbot, and Dora, who have joined him in New York. Dora and Armand are deeply affected upon seeing the veil. Dora takes it and reveals it to the world, and Armand goes into the sun and immolates himself in order to convince people that a miracle has occurred.

At the end of the novel, Lestat and David go to New Orleans. There, Maharet returns Lestat's eye to him, along with a note from Memnoch. This note reveals that Memnoch may have been manipulating Lestat to serve his own agenda. Lestat then loses control of himself and Maharet is forced to chain him in the basement of the St. Elizabeth's convent, which is owned by the vampires, so that he will not hurt himself or others. When he is at last released, Lestat enters a prolonged coma on the floor of St. Elizabeth's (in which he remains for the next installment of the Vampire Chronicles).

Although the novel fits in the The Vampire Chronicles storyline, the vast majority of it consists of the "tour" Memnoch gives Lestat of Heaven, Hell, and of the cosmology and theology behind it all.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
By the time I got to this book by Rice, I was quite disappointed because it seemed to me she'd become quite preachy and stopped having fun with her stories. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Very good reading. ( )
  RBeene | Mar 20, 2015 |
Deep. ( )
  JorgeCarvajal | Feb 13, 2015 |
After writing the two best novels in her Vampire Chronicles, Anne Rice puts out a dud in this fifth installment. In this novel, the Devil, Memnoch, recruits Rice’s vampire bad boy Lestat, to fight God. Perhaps the premise was too far reaching for an effective novel, but the novel had too much backstory, and not enough actual story. Too much of the novel focuses on the story of creation and Memnoch’s fall from grace as an angel, who believes his damnation happened because he refused to accept that human suffering should be part of God’s plan. God and the Devil often take human form and get into philosophical debates. Meanwhile, Lestat is just there for the ride, more of a passive observer than an active participant.

This is the point in Anne Rice’s writing of her Vampire Chronicles that she starts to lose her way. Her previous novels were gripping and intriguing. This one really falls flats. The novel is overwritten. She could tell the same story with far fewer words and it would be much tighter. Lestat, normally entertaining and intriguing loses his luster. Not one of Anne Rice’s better novels.

Carl Alves – author of Blood Street ( )
1 vote Carl_Alves | Dec 20, 2014 |
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What God Did Not Plan On. Sleep well, Weep well, Go to the deep well As often as possible. Bring back the water, Jostling and gleaming. God did not plan on consciousness Developing so Well. Well, Tell Him our Pail is full And He can Go to Hell. Stan Rice 24 June 93
The Offering. To the somethingness Which prevents the nothingness Like Homer's wild boar From thrashing this way and that Its white tusks Through human beings like crackling stalks And to nothing less I offer this suffering of my father. Stan Rice 16 Oct 93
For Stan Rice, Christopher Rice and Michele Rice. For John Preston. For Howard and Katherine Allen O'Brien. For Katherine's brother John Allen, Uncle Mickey and for Uncle Mickey's son, Jack Allen, and all the descendants of Jack. And for Uncle Marian Leslie, who was in Corona's Bar on that night. With live for you and for all our kith and kin this book is dedicated
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345409671, Mass Market Paperback)

The fifth volume of Rice's Vampire Chronicles is one of her most controversial books. The tale begins in New York, where Lestat, the coolest of Rice's vampire heroes, is stalking a big-time cocaine dealer and religious-art smuggler--this guy should get it in the neck. Lestat is also growing fascinated with the dealer's lovely daughter, a TV evangelist who's not a fraud.

Lestat is also being stalked himself, by some shadowy guy who turns out to be Memnoch, the devil, who spirits him away. From here on, the book might have been called Interview with the Devil (by a Vampire). It's a rousing story interrupted by a long debate with the devil. Memnoch isn't the devil as ordinarily conceived: he got the boot from God because he objected to God's heartless indifference to human misery. Memnoch takes Lestat to heaven, hell, and throughout history.

Some readers are appalled by the scene in which Lestat sinks his fangs into the throat of Christ on the cross, but the scene is not a mere shock tactic: Jesus is giving Lestat a bloody taste in order to win him over to God's side, and Rice is dead serious about the battle for his soul. Rice is really doing what she did as a devout young Catholic girl asked to imagine in detail what Christ's suffering felt like--it's just that her imagination ran away with her.

If you like straight-ahead fanged adventure, you'll likely enjoy the first third; if you like Job-like arguments with God, you'll prefer the Memnoch chapters. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:37 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

In Anne Rice's extraordinary fifth novel of "The Vampire Chronicles", irresistible antihero Lestat encounters his most dangerous adversary--the mysterious being Memnoch, who claims to be the Devil. Ushered through the realms of Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell, Lestat must finally decide if he can believe in the Devil or God--and which, if either, he will serve.… (more)

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