Blood And Gold
by Anne Rice, fantasy (2001)
Knopf, $26.95, ISBN 0-679-45449-7

For people who is new to Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles saga, I think I'll let you know that the back story of Queen Akasha, whose name keeps popping up in Blood And Gold, is found in the good Queen Of The Damned (the book, not the movie). This story overlaps a little in the beginning with the vampiress Pandora's story in Pandora, and a little when it comes to Armand's story in the The Vampire Armand.

Come to think of it, if you're new, don't bother. This book is actually pretty pointless, except maybe to help the author finance some extensive renovations in her new house or something. Blood And Gold may be Marius the Wanderer's story, but it offers no new hindsight or insight into this vampire's personality. Newbies will be lost. That I can say with some certainty.

Like the author's more recent Vampire books, vampires nowadays don't do fun stuff anymore like becoming a rock star, giving interviews, or having orgies. No, they meet in a place, they sit down, and they spend hours talking about Those Old Days. An old vampire, Thorne also known as Throwaway Plot Device, meets up with Marius, guardian of Akasha and her hubby, maker of Lestat, He Who Loves Everybody (or so I get the impression from the number of times he utters the word "love"), Faithless Boyfriend, Two-Timing Fickle Moron, and Just Plain Cipher. They then indulge in a chit-chat session where Marius tells of his story, where during the Roman days he met the vampires Mael and Pandora, then onwards to the New World where he will met Lestat, Maharet, Armand, blah blah blah, on the present day where the author proceeds to assassinate the characters of Maharet, Mekare, Pandora, and even Marius. These vampires, by the last page, have turned into pathetic, whiny, teary gits. And Marius' treatment of both Pandora and dumb girlie Bianca is borderline abusive in the emotional manipulation way.

And how did Pandora, who is pretty amazing in her own story, end up this teary, pathetic, and whiny?

Can someone tell me what happened to Big Bad Maharet?

And what is Thorne thinking when he lets Maharet does what she did to him?

But, on the bright side, bonus points must be given for the complete absence - in person - of that joyless fiend David Talbot, the egomaniac Lestat, Louis the Bore, and that pathetic Jesse creature. And it's nice to see that Anne Rice actually remembers the character of Daniel. Maybe she actually took time to reread her own Queen Of The Damned before writing this book.

Blood And Gold is very readable, but Marius is an observer, not a participant, for too long in his own story, and when he does act, he turns out to be a completely emasculated whiny bob. Is there a point of this book? I don't know, but it's a pleasant - if pointless - way to spend an afternoon. Well, hope Ms Rice buys something nice and shiny with her royalty from this book.

Rating: 73

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