The unparalleled Anne Rice sweeps into a new era with Azriel, ghost, genie, demon and angel, who chooses to tell his unique story to a man he hopes will believe his fantastic tale.

His story begins in Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon, land of lush beauty and the Jew's captivity. As a young Jew in Babylon, handsome, educated and mesmerized by the Babylonian god Marduk, Azriel is sacrificed to the god, his body covered with gold until only his bones remain. He becomes a genie, the servant of the bones, bound to his master.

The priests and sorceress who use him are ill-prepared for Azriel's fierce devotion to good and to his people. He is pulled in two directions by his inner nature and those who would control him.

He journeys from ancient times through the centuries to present-day New York, confronting all that is evil.

In New York, Azriel watches the brutal murder of Esther Belkin, granddaughter of a world renowned Rebbe (leader of the Jewish orthodox sect known as Hasidism) and daughter of a television evangelist who is planning to take over the world. By avenging Esther's death, Azriel sets himself up to face the greatest evil he has ever known, Esther's father, Gregory Belkin.

Whether she is describing the ancient city of Babylon, or the darkness of medieval Europe caught in the throes of the plague, whether she whispers in Azriel's melodic voice or in the haunting sounds of the vampire Lestat, Anne Rice lures her readers into her world. Her seductive writing style hypnotizes you to read on, never wanting her tale to end.

In Azriel, she has created a complex character of human frailty and divine strength, who fights evil as he fights his own demons. Through Azriel and the fever-stricken scholar he has chosen to record his tale, Anne Rice explores the fine line between good and evil and how difficult it can be to make the best choice between the seduction of one and the lure of the other. (Sept., 387 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin