The Tale of the Body Thief (Vampire Chronicles Series #4)

The Tale of the Body Thief (Vampire Chronicles Series #4)

by Anne Rice

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Overview

In another feat of hypnotic storytelling, Anne Rice continues the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles that began with the now classic Interview with the Vampire and continued with The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned.

Lestat speaks. Vampire-hero, enchanter, seducer of mortals. For centuries he has been a courted prince in the dark and flourishing universe of the living dead. Lestat is alone. And suddenly all his vampire rationale--everything he has come to believe and feel safe with--is called into question. In his overwhelming need to destroy his doubts and his loneliness, Lestat embarks on the most dangerous enterprise he has undertaken in all the danger-haunted years of his long existence.

The Tale of the Body Thief is told with the unique--and mesmerizing--passion, power, color, and invention that distinguish the novels of Anne Rice.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785727880
Publisher: Sagebrush Education Resources
Publication date: 10/01/1999
Series: The Vampire Chronicles Series , #4
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Anne Rice is the author of thirty-two books. She lives in Palm Desert, California.

Hometown:

Rancho Mirage, California

Date of Birth:

October 4, 1941

Place of Birth:

Rancho Mirage, California

Education:

B.A., San Francisco State University, 1964; M.A., 1971

Read an Excerpt

MIAMI—the vampires' city. This is South Beach at sunset, in the luxurious warmth of the winterless winter, clean and thriving and drenched in electric light, the gentle breeze moving in from the placid sea, across the dark margin of cream-colored sand, to cool the smooth broad pavements full of happy mortal children.

Sweet the parade of fashionable young men displaying their cultured muscles with touching vulgarity, of young women so proud of their streamlined and seemingly sexless modern limbs, amid the soft urgent roar of traffic and human voices.

Old stucco hostelries, once the middling shelters of the aged, were now reborn in smart pastel colors, sporting their new names in elegant neon script. Candles flickered on the white-draped tables of the open-porch restaurants. Big shiny American cars pushed their way slowly along the avenue, as drivers and passengers viewed the dazzling human parade, lazy pedestrians here and there blocking the thoroughfare.

On the distant horizon the great white clouds were mountains beneath a roofless and star-filled heaven. Ah, it never failed to take my breath away—this southern sky filled with azure light and drowsy relentless movement.

To the north rose the towers of new Miami Beach in all their splendor. To the south and to the west, the dazzling steel skyscrapers of the downtown city with its high roaring freeways and busy cruise-ship docks. Small pleasure boats sped along the sparkling waters of the myriad urban canals.

In the quiet immaculate gardens of Coral Gables, countless lamps illuminated the handsome sprawling villas with their red-tiled roofs, and swimming pools shimmering with turquoise light.Ghost walked in the grand and darkened rooms of the Biltmore. The massive mangrove trees threw out their primitive limbs to cover the broad and carefully tended streets.

In Coconut Grove, the international shoppers thronged the luxurious hotels and fashionable malls. Couples embraced on the high balconies of their glass-walled condominiums, silhouettes gazing out over the serene waters of the bay. Cars sped along the busy roads past the ever-dancing palms and delicate rain trees, past the squat concrete mansions draped with red and purple bougainvillea, behind their fancy iron gates.

All of this is Miami, city of water, city of speed, city of tropical flowers, city of enormous skies. It is for Miami, more than any other place, that I periodically leave my New Orleans home. The men and women of many nations and different colors live in the great dense neighborhoods of Miami. One hears Yiddish, Hebrew, the languages of Spain, of Haiti, the dialects and accents of Latin America, of the deep south of this nation and of the far north. There is menace beneath the shining surface of Miami, there is desperation and a throbbing greed; there is the deep steady pulse of a great capital—the low grinding energy, the endless risk.

It's never really dark in Miami. It's never really quiet.

It is the perfect city for the vampire; and it never fails to yield to me a mortal killer—some twisted, sinister morsel who will give up to me a dozen of his own murders as I drain his memory banks and his blood.

But tonight it was the Big-Game Hunt, the unseasonal Easter feast after a Lent of starvation—the pursuit of one of those splendid human trophies whose gruesome modus operandi reads for pages in the computer files of mortal law enforcement agencies, a being anointed in his anonymity with a flashy name by the worshipful press: "Back Street Strangler."

I lust after such killers!

What luck for me that such a celebrity had surfaced in my favorite city. What luck that he has struck six times in these very streets—slayer of the old and the infirm, who have come in such numbers to live out their remaining days in these warm climes. Ah, I would have crossed a continent to snap him up, but he is here waiting for me. To his dark history, detailed by no less than twenty criminologists, and easily purloined by me through the computer in my New Orleans lair, I have secretly added the crucial elements—his name and mortal habitation.

A simple trick for a dark god who can read minds. Through his blood-soaked dreams I found him . And tonight the pleasure will be mind of finishing his illustrious career in a dark cruel embrace, without a scintilla of moral illumination.

Ah, Miami. The perfect place for this little Passion Play.

I always come back to Miami, the way I come back to New Orleans. And I'm the only immortal now who hunts this glorious corner of the Savage Garden, for as you have seen, the others long ago deserted the coven house here—unable to endure each other's company any more than I can endure them.

But so much the better to have Miami all to myself.

I stood at the front windows of the rooms I maintained in the swanky little Park Central Hotel on Ocean Drive, every now and then letting my preternatural hearing sweep the chambers around me in which the rich tourists enjoyed that premium brand of solitude—complete privacy only steps from the flashy street—my Champs Elysees of the moment, my Via Veneto.

My strangler was almost ready to move from the realm of him spasmodic and fragmentary visions into the land of literal death. Ah, time to dress for the man of my dreams.

Picking from the usual wilderness of freshly opened cardboard boxes, suitcases, and trunks, I chose a suit of gray velvet, an old favorite, especially when the fabric is thick, with only a subtle luster. Not very likely for these warm nights, I had to admit, but then I don't feel hot and cold the way humans do. And the coat was slim with narrow lapels, very spare and rather like a hacking jacket with its fitted waist, or, more to the point, like the graceful old frock coats of earlier times. We immortals forever fancy old-fashioned garments, garments that remind us of the century in which we were Born to Darkness. Sometimes you can gauge the true age of an immortal simply by the cut of his clothes.

With me, it's also a matter of texture. The eighteenth century was so shiny! I can't bear to be without a little luster. And this handsome coat suited me perfectly with the plain tight velvet pants. As for the white silk shirt, it was a cloth so soft you could ball the garment in the palm of your hand. Why should I wear anything else so close to my indestructible and curiously sensitive skin? Then the boots. Ah, they look like all my fine shoes of late. Their soles are immaculate, for they so seldom touch the mother earth.

My hair I shook loose into the usual thick mane of glowing yellow shoulder-length waves. What would I look like to mortals? I honestly don't know. I covered up my blue eyes, as always, with black glasses, lest their radiance mesmerize and entrance at random—a real nuisance—and over my delicate white hands, with their telltale glassy fingernails, I drew the usual pair of soft gray leather gloves.

Ah, a bit of oily brown camouflage for the skin. I smoothed the lotion over my cheekbones, over the bit of neck and chest that was bare.

I inspected the finished product in the mirror. Still irresistible. No wonder I'd been such a smash in my brief career as a rock singer. And I've always been a howling success as a vampire. Thank the gods I hadn't become invisible in my airy wandering, a vagabond floating far above the clouds, light as a cinder on the wind. I felt like weeping when I thought of it.

The Big-Game Hunt always brought me back to the actual.

Track him, wait for him, catch him just at the moment that he would bring death to his next victim, and take him slowly, painfully, feasting upon his wickedness as you do it, glimpsing through the filthy lens of his soul all his earlier victims—

Please understand, there is no nobility in this. I don't believe that rescuing one poor mortal from such a fiend can conceivably save my soul. I have taken life too often—unless one believes that the power of one good deed is infinite. I don't know whether or not I believe that. What I do believe is this: The evil of one murder is infinite, and my guilt is like my beauty—eternal. I cannot be forgiven, for there is no one to forgive me for all I've done.

Table of Contents

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The Tale of the Body Thief (Vampire Chronicles Series #4) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 258 reviews.
Quan-Kun More than 1 year ago
While others found this their favorite among the vampire chronicles, I however, did not. I don't mind the change of pace, though the story itself seemed to fall short of my expectations. It certainly was not all bad, I actually found it rather enjoyable. In fact the more I read, the more I enjoyed it. Think of it as a "snowball effect," very slow starter. There were even times when I made myself read it though I didn't want to. By the time I was 3/4 through it I found it difficult to put down, all with a rather satisfying ending. If you enjoyed the chronicles, give this a read, it's Lestat in a whole new light.
Savannah Gill More than 1 year ago
This is the first anne rice book i read. Its good read it.
Landry More than 1 year ago
Happy to have this one in my library. Highly Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book, wish Anne would go back to her writing roots and produce more like this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't want to put it down! Could hardly wait to pick it back up!
hermit_9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This tale may be the beginning of Rice’s disinfatuation with The Vampire Chronicles. Although it is very well-written, it is not as enthralling as some of her earlier works. It reads like an unsuccessful attempt to break out of a formula. In short: not a bad book, but not very inspired either—like having plain scrambled eggs for breakfast.
myabut on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is book four of Anne Rice's vampire chronicles. Lestat exchanges his soul with a body snatcher named Raglan James and celebrates being human again, but quickly tires of it. He then hunts James to take back his vampire soul. I consider this 2nd to the best of the first four of her vampire chronicles to my mind.
MoiraStirling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lestat switches bodies with a body thief and becomes mortal again. Delectable...However, there is an unfortunate repeated use of the word "preternatural". I find the concept of David most interesting. Is this metaphorical for Rice's musings on reincarnation?
PigOfHappiness on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lestat goes on more extravagant adventures in this installment of the vampire chronicles. In this text, Lestat switches bodies in order to once again experience the joys of human mortality. A bit cheesy, although well written. Appropriate for high school and beyond.
LaurenGommert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even though it's not my favorite in the Chronicles, I appreciate the opportunity to witness Lestat out of his comfort zone. Usually an arrogant, pompous individual, Lestat trades bodies with a human and finds himself completely lost. Seeing Lestat struggle provides him with a depth we haven't seen from him before. Slow, drawn out, predictable...but worthy of a read.
Cats_Critters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really like this book, it is from Lesats point of view and is interesting. Lesat is being followed by a man, a human man, who offers him a chance to be human again. Against his friends wishes he takes the deal which leads to horrible results. This book has some small problems, but the last chapters 32 on really made me want to through the book at the wall the first time I read it. Now I understand it but it still upsets me.
susanbevans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The fourth book in the Vampire Chronicles (although you don't really need to read the previous 3 in order to read this one.) Lestat gets his wish and becomes human, for a time. Terriffic plot - new ideas - quite a tale!
AnnieHidalgo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite Anne Rices. I think her interestingness peaked in this book, and the two Lestat books on either side of it - The Vampire Lestat and Memnoch the Devil. Before that she was too straightforward, and after that too weird, but this hits the sweet spot in between. Lestat, always craving the new experience, trades bodies with a mortal. Unfortunately, when the time is up, the mortal doesn't want to give his body back.
Anagarika-Sean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's not my favorite of the series. Well written, though, and has a good plot.
StefanY on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While not quite up to the high level set by Interview With the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat, I feel that Tale of the Body Thief was more of a return to form from the slightly long-winded style of The Queen of the Damned. In the Tale of the Body Thief, we once again join the continuing adventures of Lestat but this time he's not doing ordinary every-day vampire things. No, in this novel, Lestat has decided that he might want to become mortal again because he misses the mortal experience of savoring every moment as it might be the last.I won't go into too much detail, but I thought that this was a really fun new direction for Lestat's character. It takes him away from his normal lack of concern with the impact of his actions on things around him and forces him into some tough situations. Rice also introduces us to some new characters along the way that I was really fond of and would like to see more of.All-in-all, I really enjoyed this entry into the Vampire Chronicles and found it refreshing compared to the relative heaviness of The Queen of the Damned.
rebeccaday1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a great book in the Vampire Chronichles, I lost interest after this book. I read Memnoch the Devil but didn't quite understand it and found it boring. She should have just eneded it here. I have thought about trying to re reading the the rest of th series but never get around to it.
vibrantminds on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The vampire Lestat once again resurfaces only this time to take on the body of an actual human being. He switches bodies with a human (Raglan James) in order to remember what it means to be human. Once in his new body he realizes that being human isn't what he thought it would be but instead of being able to switch back into his vampire body the once human, Raglan James, has stolen it and fled. Lestat is forced now to stay in his human body and the search begins to find his vampire body so he can make the switch back. The book was predictable but still a good read.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a brilliant and entertaining book! The Vampire Lestat is faced with the opportunity to become mortal again by trading bodies with a Thief. Will he ever get it back? After several tales set predominantly in the past, this new volume of the vampire chronicles is completely of the moment. Such a fascinating plot! What if a vampire could become human again? Would he want to remain so? What is it like for someone who has been free of all mortal necessities for such a long period of time to suddenly have to deal with bowel movements and shaving? And to have this happen to Lestat! Truly one of the best fictional characters I¿ve ever encountered.
emanate28 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lestat is still charming, but the ending made me throw down the book in disgust--it seemed like such a cheap trick by the author.
AlexTheHunn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this to be the most enjoyable of Rice's Vampire series after the Interview. I felt that Vampire Lestat and especially, Queen of the Damned got bogged down. Rice seemed to regain her abilities in this work.
vampyredhead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The 4th book in the vampire chronicals. Lestat becomes human again. A fun, exciting, soulful, epic adventure. No one knows vampires like Anne Rice.
sdtaylor555 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow, Anne Rice just keeps it coming. Great story. Lestat is my hero...in a bad kinda way :)
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