Book: Merrick

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Series: Book 7 of the Vampire Chronicles
Author: Anne Rice
Publisher: Random House Large Print

At the center is the beautiful, unconquerable witch, Merrick. She is a descendant of the gens de colors libres, a cast derived from the black mistresses of white men, a society of New Orleans octaroons and quadroons, steeped in the lore and ceremony of voodoo, who reign in the shadowy world where the African and the French—the white and the dark—intermingle. Her ancestors are the Great Mayfair Witches, of whom she knows nothing—and from whom she inherits the power and magical knowledge of a Circe.

Into this exotic New Orleans realm comes David Talbot, hero, storyteller, adventurer, almost mortal vampire, visitor from another dark realm. It is he who recounts Merrick’s haunting tale—a tale that takes us from the New Orleans of the past and present to the jungles of Guatemala, from the Mayan ruins of a century ago to ancient civilizations not yet explored.

Anne Rice’s richly told novel weaves an irresistible story of two worlds: the witches’ world and the vampires’ world, where magical powers and otherworldly fascinations are locked together in a dance of seduction, death, and rebirth.


Just when you thought it was safe for a bloodsucker to go out in the dark in New Orleans, along comes Merrick Mayfair, a sultry, hard-drinking octoroon beauty whose voodoo can turn the toughest vampire into a marionette dancing to her merry, scary tune. In Merrick, Anne Rice brings back three of her most wildly popular characters—the vampires Lestat and Louis and the dead vampire child Claudia—and introduces them to the world of her Mayfair Witches book series.

It is Louis who brings about the collision of the fang and voodoo universes. Louis made Claudia a vampire in Rice’s classic Interview with the Vampire, in which she was destroyed, and now he’s obsessed with raising her ghost to make amends and seek guidance from the beyond. (Claudia physically resembles Rice’s young daughter who died of a blood-related illness. Rice nearly died of a diabetic coma in 1998, and writing Merrick turned her excruciating recovery into an exhilarating burst of creativity).

Vampire David Talbot lobbies Merrick to call Claudia’s spirit and slake Louis’s guilt, but Talbot winds up in the grip of an obsession with the witch. You see, Talbot, unlike most vampires, lived 70 years as a human, so his sexual response to humans is still as strong as his blood thirst. Merrick can cast spells to make men crave her, and Talbot is tormented. After she reads his palm, he muses, “I wanted to take her in my arms, not to feed from her, no, not harm her, only kiss her, only sink my fangs a very little, only taste her blood and her secrets, but this was dreadful and I wouldn’t let it go on.”

The secrets of Merrick are dark and sensuous, but the book is a romp animated by Rice’s feeling of coming back to life through the magic of a literary outpouring. The narrative flashes back to the past, to an Indiana Jones-ish adventure in a Guatemalan cave, and to scenes from many other Rice novels. It may be helpful to read Merrick with the Rice-approved guidebooks The Vampire Companion and The Witches’ Companion at hand.

After many books, Rice’s grand Vampire Chronicles tale was in peril of getting long in the tooth. Merrick Mayfair’s magic represents an infusion of fresh blood. —Tim Appelo

Barnes and Noble

Merrick is bewitching—Anne Rice is in top form with this novel of witches and vampires. In the sultry world of Rice’s New Orleans, the almost-mortal vampire David Talbot, of the notorious Talamasca, meets Merrick, the sensual Mayfair witch. Lestat, Louis, and other Rice favorites make appearances in this tale. This novel is Rice’s ultimate marriage of her bestselling witch and vampire story lines—and it should not be missed.

Anne Rice has earned literary accolades and international fame for her darkly sensual novels featuring magical worlds and otherworldly creatures. Whether it’s vampires, witches, or body thieves, Rice’s characters are among the most unforgettable in literary history. And now, with the release of her latest novel, Merrick, Rice brings all of her worlds together and resurrects (in one case, in the most literal sense) some of her most memorable characters, including the vampires, Lestat and Louis. The star of this latest tale is a new member of the Mayfair witch clan: Merrick, a beautiful woman with incredible powers.

Merrick, a descendant of a little-known African-American branch of the Mayfair family, is raised in New Orleans by her godmother, Great Nananne, a powerful voodoo woman. Merrick is only eight when her Great Nananne dies. Eventually Merrick is found and cared for by the then-mortal David Talbot and his friend Aaron, both of whom have connections to the Talamasca. But David’s connection to this beautiful creature, who he comes to love with an intensity that is both frightening and puzzling, is lost when he falls victim to the body thief and, later, to Lestat.

As Merrick grows, so do her powers, including her ability to raise the spirits of the dead. It is this particular power that leads vampire David Talbot to seek her out, hoping she can help Louis, who has become despondent with guilt over the role he played in young Claudia’s conversion to vampirism and subsequent death. Louis is desperate to know that Claudia’s soul is at peace and that she forgives him. But when Merrick tries to bring back Claudia’s spirit, all hell breaks loose.

This is classic Rice at her best, exploring the moral and philosophical quandaries of the undead and showing how utterly human they are despite their inhuman makeup. The spirit-conjuring scenes are spooky and chilling, and the plot leaves the door wide open for a sequel that promises to be even more exciting than any of its predecessors. —Beth Amos

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