The news of Anne Rice’s passing in mid-December came as a shock to fans. Just into her 80s, Rice was still writing novels at a brisk pace; she had released six in the past 10 years, and her most recent, co-written with son Christopher Rice, was due to be published soon.
Contributor Michael Schaub recently spoke with Christopher about his mother’s legacy and how their unique literary partnership came about; that novel, Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris (Anker, February 1), is now in bookstores. Christopher is an accomplished novelist, with more than 20 novels written under his own name and the pen name C. Travis Rice.
Anne Rice is undoubtedly most famous for The Vampire Chronicleswho long before drew public attention to the undead Twilight or where blood† But she was equally adept at writing thrillers and adventure stories, always with a distinctively gothic tinge. We asked Christopher to recommend five books that he believes every fan should read. These are the titles he suggested.
The witching hour (1990): “In my opinion, this was Anne’s New Orleans masterpiece, brimming with authentic and emotional responses to returning to the city in 1988 after years of absence.”
angel time (2009): “When Anne first became a success, the television of the day—mostly conventional network dramas and movies of the week—had little to no effect on her. More recently, the finely crafted detective dramas of the streaming era became a profound influence. , and this exciting, time-traveling detective story was the result, a real page-turner and a thriller.”
cry to heaven (1982): “The novel that cemented her reputation as a serious practitioner of historical fiction, even as critics later disapproved of the supernatural elements in her work. There are no vampires or witches here, but the castrati of 18th-century Italy were a tribe of their own, and Anne’s exploration of them became a foretaste of the significant contributions she would make to queer literature and identity.”
The Mummy or Ramses the Damned (1989): “Rolling and fun and romantic, this was Anne’s tribute to the classic tales of H. Rider Haggard and Arthur Conan Doyle, and it snaps together with a kind of breakneck pace rare in Anne’s work. Over time, the mummy developed its own unique fan base aside from the vampires, which is why she invited me to write two sequels with her years later.”
The vampire Lestat (1985): “Interview with the vampire wasn’t written to be the start of a series, and Anne often said that Louis, the tormented protagonist, wasn’t strong enough to start one herself. That power lay with Lestat. The villain in the first book, in the second he’s turned into the daring ‘candy prince’ whose resistance to both human and vampire authority is transforming the vampire world.”
Tom Beer is the editor in chief†