Blood and Gold
|Series:||Book 8 of the Vampire Chronicles|
|Publisher:||Random House Large Print|
Out of the pages of the Vampire Chronicles steps the golden-haired Marius, true Child of the Millenia, once mentor to the Vampire Lestat, always and forever the conscientious slayer of the evildoer, and now ready to reveal the secrets of his two-thousand-year-long existence in his own intense yet intimate voice.
Born in Imperial Rome, imprisoned and made a “blood god” by the ancient Druids, Marius is the baffled yet powerful protector of Akasha and Enkil, Queen and King of the vampires, in whom the core of the race resides.
We follow him through his tragic loss of the vampire Pandora, his lover and fledgling creation. Through him we see the fall of pagan Rome to the Christendom of Constantine, and the sack of the Eternal City by the Visigoths. We see him sailing to the glittering city of Constantinople.
Worlds within worlds unfold as Marius, surviving the Dark Ages and the Black Death, emerges in the midst of the Italian Renaissance to create magnificent paintings and a vampire—the boy Armand.
Moving from Florence, Venice, Dresden, Paris, and the English castle of the secret and scholarly order of the Talamasca, the novel reaches its dramatic finale in a jungle paradise where the oldest of the vampires reigns supreme.
Time heals all wounds, unless, of course, you’re a vampire. Cuts may heal, burns vanish, limbs reattach, but for the “blood god,” the wounds of the heart sometimes stay open and raw for centuries. So it is for Marius, Anne Rice’s oft-mentioned and beloved scholar. We’ve heard parts of his tale in past volumes of the Vampire Chronicles, but never so completely and never from his own lips. In Blood and Gold, Rice mostly (but not entirely) avoids the danger of treading worn ground as she fills out the life and character of Marius the Lonely, the Disenchanted, the Heartsick—a 2,000-year-old vampire “with all the conviction of a mortal man.”
Plucked from his beloved Rome in the prime of his life and forced into solitude as keeper of the vampire queen and king, Marius has never forgiven the injustice of his mortal death. Thousands of years later, he still seethes over his losses. Immortality for Marius is both a blessing and a curse—he bears “witness to all splendid and beautiful things human,” yet is unable to engage in relationships for fear of revealing his burden.
New readers to the Chronicles may wish for a more fleshed-out, less introspective hero, but Rice’s legions of devoted fans will recognize Blood and Gold for what it is: a love song to Marius the Wanderer, whose story reveals the complexities and limitations of eternal existence. —Daphne Durham
Barnes and Noble
Anne Rice writes grand romances in the traditional sense of the word, the Victor Hugo sense: novels with larger-than-life characters whose epic experiences sweep through all the great themes and emotions of life, death, love, passion, and loss, while also providing plenty of action.
Blood and Gold continues Rice’s Vampire Chronicles by taking up the tale of Marius, who was for centuries the guardian of Those Who Must Be Kept, and whose duty to the King and Queen of the Vampires caused him much pain, loss, and suffering. Marius, who originally appeared in The Vampire Lestat and has figured briefly in the majority of the Chronicles that have followed, was an aristocrat of ancient Rome before his conversion to the Living Death. Blood and Gold follows his lonely life through the ages, sweeping from Imperial Rome to Constantinople to Venice during the Renaissance (Botticelli makes a brief cameo appearance) to the present day. His passion for longtime companion Pandora (detailed in a book of the same name, although told from her perspective), results in his loneliness and a centuries-long search for her.
Blood and Gold is one of Rice’s finest achievements and has the added benefit of standing completely on its own for new readers. But those seeking the most complete picture of Marius will also want to revisit The Vampire Lestat, Pandora, and The Vampire Armand to understand how he’s viewed by those his life has touched. (Greg Herren)