The latest of the author's esteemed Vampire Chronicles is narrated by the vampire Lestat (the first time he's "spoken" since Memnoch the Devil) and begins where Blackwood Farms ended, centering on Lestat's search for redemption.

After encountering his faith (God) and his evil side (the devil), Lestat sets out to rediscover his goodness and sweep the world clean of evil. Along with the newly made Mona and Quinn Blackwood, Lestat goes to New Orleans to teach Mona about bloodquenching. En route, he is brought into Rowan Mayfair's (The Witches of Mayfair) life, and he falls head over heels in love. The attraction is mutual.

By bringing together the Vampire Chronicles, the Mayfair Witches and even the Taltos, Rice merges her many series into one to allow the fascinating Lestat to pursue his quest for purity and love. However, she doesn't quite hit the mark of believability that has been a hallmark of her novels.

Having been a Rice fan for over 28 years, I can forgive the fact that BLOOD CANTICLE is not as stunning, nor quite as powerful or unique, as her previous works. She still has the ability to stop me dead in my tracks with exquisite prose and an underlying sensitivity to the all-too-human desire for life, love, redemption and self-acceptance, and I will continue to read anything she writes just to be mesmerized by the beauty of her words and the emotions they elicit. (Nov., 320 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin