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The Tale of the Body Thief (Vampire Chronicles 4) (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Anne Rice

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6,68643559 (3.45)39
Member:Nymeth
Title:The Tale of the Body Thief (Vampire Chronicles 4)
Authors:Anne Rice
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1993), Paperback, 624 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Gothic and Horror

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The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice (1992)

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English (40)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
There are parts in this book where the story dragged just a little. But otherwise, the story is just as exciting, if not more exciting than the previous book. Only Lestat can do this thing and overcome it again, go back to the dark world that he started in. I loved it. I loved the interaction between Lestat and David most of all. If I remember correctly after this point in the series, I started to like the books less. I'm hoping with this reread of the series, I will like them more, but we'll see. I'm really really excited to read the newest book Prince Lestat. Soon. The series is recommended if you enjoy vampire literature. ( )
  Kassilem | Apr 19, 2016 |
At the beginning of the story, Lestat grows depressed and becomes remorseful because of his vampiric nature. Although he tries to limit his victims to murderers, serial killers and other criminals, he nonetheless caves into temptation once in a while and kills an "innocent" or someone who he feels does not necessarily deserve to die. Lestat also suffers from constant nightmares concerning his late "daughter," Claudia, for whose death he blames himself.

The "coven" of vampires formed at the end of The Queen of the Damned has long since broken up, and Lestat has become extremely lonely. Among his only remaining friends is the mortal head of the Talamasca Caste, David Talbot, who is seventy-four years old. Although Lestat has repeatedly offered David the Dark Gift, David has always refused to become a vampire and keep Lestat company through eternity. Lonely and depressed, Lestat goes to the Gobi desert at dawn in a half-hearted suicide attempt. When he does not die, he goes to David's home in England to heal.

A mysterious figure, Raglan James - the eponymous "Body Thief" of the story - approaches Lestat with what seems to be a cure for his ennui and depression. James sends Lestat several messages hinting that he has the ability to switch bodies. Eventually, he proposes to Lestat that the two of them trade bodies for a day. Against the advice of other vampires and David Talbot, Lestat jumps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, James has no intention of ever switching back, and Lestat is forced to scheme to regain his body.

Lestat nearly dies after becoming human again - his new body is wracked by pneumonia, which he ignores during a tour of Washington D.C. in the middle of winter. He is saved by the care of a nun named Gretchen. He enjoys a short love affair with Gretchen before she returns to South America, where she works in a convent, and Lestat sets out in search of his body.

Lestat seeks help from other vampires but is completely ostracized by them. Marius is extremely angry at him for leaving such a powerful body to a thief and refuses to help him. Likewise Louis turns him away when he asks Louis to make his new body into a vampire, arguing that Lestat ought to be happy to be human again and also calls him out on his previous writings, accusing him of altering his actual past in favor of one that portrays him heroically. Lestat's only ally is David Talbot.

Drawing from the Talamasca's resources on the supernatural, Talbot reveals that James was a gifted psychic who once joined the order, but was kicked out for constant theft. He is a kleptomaniac who enjoys stealing for the thrill of it — it is revealed that every single thing he owns, from his house to his body, was stolen or schemed for. However, he also has major psychological problems, and his life is a series of cycles — he gets rich by theft, then often ends up in prison. Dying of cancer several years before, James tricked the inmate of a mental institution into switching bodies with him, allowing him a type of immortality.

It is James' lack of imagination and petty thievery that allow Talbot and Lestat to track him down. Despite his newfound wealth and powerful new body, James continues to steal jewelry from people. He also makes a conspicuous show of his wealth, boarding the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, and draining victims of their blood along the ship's path. The pattern allows his pursuers to easily find him.

On the cruise ship, Lestat manages to regain his body with David's help, but the sun is rising as he performs the switch and he must immediately flee to a safe place in which to spend the day. When he awakes in the evening he finds that both James and Talbot have disappeared.

Lestat finds David in Florida and is surprised to find that his friend, despite his earlier protestations, now wants to become a vampire. However, while taking his blood, Lestat discovers a final trick — when forced out of Lestat's body, James took over Talbot's body instead of returning to his own. Lestat angrily attacks James, crushing his skull. The blow proves fatal - the injury damages James' brain and prevents him from leaving the dying body or trying to switch bodies before his current one dies.

At this point, Tale of the Body Thief reaches a false ending. Raglan James is dead. David has begun to enjoy life in his new, young body. Lestat returns to New Orleans, reunites with Louis, and begins to renovate his old house in the French Quarter. Above all, Lestat claims that he has finally come to accept his vampiric nature. However, Lestat then warns readers not to continue if they are happy with this ending.

Lestat then resumes the narrative, claiming that he has regained his "evil" nature, and decides to make Talbot into a vampire against his wishes, and despite the role Talbot played in saving his life when everyone else abandoned him. After having immortality forced upon him, David again disappears. Lestat looks for him for a while, but upon having no luck he gives up and returns to New Orleans — where to his surprise he finds that David has already contacted Louis.

Now that Louis and David - who both have valid reasons to dislike Lestat - have spoken with each other, they no longer feel dependent on Lestat or his friendship. While David claims that he's no longer angry with Lestat, he effectively usurps Lestat's position of leadership - he makes plans to visit Rio de Janeiro with Louis, but pointedly ignores Lestat's protests. Lestat then realizes that, despite all that happened, he is still alone, has failed to regain his "humanity," and that he has thrown away his only chance to make amends for his past misdeeds.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
This was a good one -- more actual story and less exposition than some of her stuff. Good basic story told at a decent pace. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 24, 2014 |
amazing, just like any other Anne Rice novel I've read. Makes me want to run to the store to buy the next one.
( )
  lisa.isselee | Sep 26, 2014 |
The most erotic of all the Vampire Chronicles (so far). The endless passion between David and Lestat kept me reading more than anything else. She handled their relationship beautifully. I don't know if I can pick a favorite of all the books I've read of her's so far, but I know I love this one just as much as the first three. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Riceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

The Vampire Chronicles (omnibus) by Anne Rice

10 Anne Rice Books: Interview with the Vampire, The Feast of All Saints, Tale of the Body Thief, Lasher, Taltos, Servant by Anne Rice

5 Titles in Vampire Chronicles By Anne Rice - Vampire Lestat - Tale of the Body Thief - Queen of the Damned - Merrick - by Anne Rice

9 Book Collection of Anne Rice: The Queen of the Damned, The Tale of the Body Thief, Interview With The Vampire, Memnoch by Anne Rice

THE Vampire Chronicles - 5 Titles - Interview with the Vampire - The Vampire Lestat - The Queen of the Damned - The Tale by Anne Rice

Collector's Set (5-Paperback Books): Taltos, The Tale Of The Body Thief, Queen Of The Damned, The Vampire Lestat, Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice

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Epigraph
Sailing to Byzantium
by W.B. Yeats

I.

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

II.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

III.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

IV.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.
Dedication
For my parents,

Howard and Katherine O'Brien.

Your dreams and your courage will be with me alll of my days
First words
The Vampire Lestat here. I have a story to tell you.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Original language

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 034538475X, Mass Market Paperback)

It's been said that Vladimir Nabokov's best novels are the ones he wrote after starting a failed novel. Anne Rice wrote The Body Thief, the fourth thrilling episode of her Vampire Chronicles, right after she spent a long time poring over that most romantic of horror novels, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to research a novel Rice abandoned about an artificial man. Perhaps as a result of Shelley's influence, The Body Thief is far more psychologically penetrating than its predecessors, with a laser-like focus on a single tormented soul. Oh, we meet some wild new characters, and Rice's toothsome vampire-hero Lestat zooms around the globe--as is his magical habit--from Miami to the Gobi desert, but he's in such despair that he trades his immortal body to a con man named Raglan James, who offers him in return two days of strictly mortal bliss.

Lestat has always had a faulty impulse-control valve, and it gets him in truly intriguing trouble this time. On the plus side, he gets to experience romance with a nun and orange juice--"thick like blood, but full of sweetness." But Lestat is horrified by an uncommon cold, and his toilet training proves traumatic. He's also got to catch Raglan James, who has no intention of giving up his dishonestly acquired new superpowered body. Lestat enlists the help of David Talbot, a mortal in the Talamasca, a secret society of immortal watchers described in Queen of the Damned.

The swapping of bodies and supernatural stories is choice, and there's even a moral: never give a bloodsucker an even break. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:02 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In 1992 Miami, the immortal vampire Lestat finds himself alone, yearning to regain his soul and to once again experience the joys and anguish of being human.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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