Taltos (Mayfair Witches Series #3)

Taltos (Mayfair Witches Series #3)

by Anne Rice

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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When Ashlar learns that another Taltos has been seen, he is suddenly propelled into the haunting world of the Mayfair family, the New Orleans dynasty of witches forever besieged by ghosts, spirits, and their own dizzying powers. For Ashlar knows this powerful clan is intimately linked to the heritage of the Taltos.

In a swirling universe filled with death and life, corruption and innocence, this mesmerizing novel takes us on a wondrous journey back through the centuries to a civilization half-human, of wholly mysterious origin, at odds with mortality and immortality, justice and guilt. It is an enchanted, hypnotic world that could only come from the imagination of Anne Rice . . .

Praise for Taltos

Taltos is the third book in a series known as the lives of the Mayfair witches. . .Their haunted heritage has brought the family great wealth, which is exercised from a New Orleans manse with Southern gentility; but of course such power cannot escape notice . . . or challenge . . . Rice is a formidable talent. . . . [Taltos]is a curious amalgam of gothic, glamour fiction, alternate history, and high soap opera.”The Washington Post Book World

“Anne Rice will live on through the ages of literature.”San Francisco Chronicle

“An intricate, stunning imagination.”Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Spellbinding . . . mythical . . . Anne Rice is a pure storyteller.”Cosmopolitan

“Beautifully written.”Kirkus Reivews (starred review)

“Her power of invention seems boundless. . . . She has made a masterpiece of the morbid, worthy of Poe's daughter. . . . It is hard to praise sufficiently the originality of Miss Rice.”The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345404312
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/1996
Series: Mayfair Witches Series , #3
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 60,546
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.84(h) x 1.23(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

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


Rancho Mirage, California

Date of Birth:

October 4, 1941

Place of Birth:

Rancho Mirage, California


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

Read an Excerpt

It had snowed all day. As the darkness fell, very close and quickly, he stood at the window looking down on the tiny figures in Central Park. A perfect circle of light fell on the snow beneath each lamp. Skaters moved on the frozen lake, though he could not make them out in detail. And cars pushed sluggishly over the dark roads.
To his right and his left, the skyscrapers of midtown crowded near him. But nothing came between him and the park, except, that is, for a jungle of lower buildings, rooftops with gardens, and great black hulking pieces of equipment, and sometimes even pointed roofs.
He loved this view; it always surprised him when others found it so unusual, when a workman coming to fix an office machine would volunteer that he’d never seen New York like this before. Sad that there was no marble tower for everyone; that there was no series of towers, to which all the people could go, to look out at varying heights.
Make a note: Build a series of towers which have no function except to be parks in the sky for the people. Use all the beautiful marbles which you so love. Maybe he would do that this year. Very likely, he would do it. And the libraries. He wanted to establish more of these, and that would mean some travel. But he would do all this, yes, and soon. After all, the parks were almost completed now, and the little schools had been opened in seven cities. The carousels had been opened in twenty different places. Granted, the animals were synthetic, but each was a meticulous and indestructible reproduction of a famous European hand-carved masterpiece. People loved the carousels. But it was a time for a spate of new plans. The winter had caught him dreaming.…
In the last century, he had put into material form a hundred such ideas. And this year’s little triumphs had their comforting charm. He had made an antique carousel within this building, all of the original old horses, lions, and such that had provided molds for his replicas. The museum of classic automobiles now filled one level of the basement. The public flocked to see the Model Ts, the Stutz Bearcats, the MG-TDs with their wire wheels.
And of course there were the doll museums—in large, well-lighted rooms on two floors above the lobby—the company showcase, filled with the dolls he’d collected from all parts of the world. And the private museum, open only now and then, including the dolls which he himself had personally cherished.
Now and then he slipped downstairs to watch the people, to walk through the crowds, never unnoticed, but at least unknown.
A creature seven feet in height can’t avoid the eyes of people. That had been true forever. But a rather amusing thing had happened in the last two hundred years. Human beings had gotten taller! And now, miracle of miracles, even at his height, he did not stand out so very much. People gave him a second glance, of course, but they weren’t frightened of him anymore.
Indeed, occasionally a human male came into the building who was in fact taller than he was. Of course the staff would alert him. They thought it one of his little quirks that he wanted such people reported to him. They found it amusing. He didn’t mind. He liked to see people smile and laugh.
“Mr. Ash, there’s a tall one down here. Camera five.”
He’d turn to the bank of small glowing screens, and quickly catch sight of the individual. Only human. He usually knew for certain right away. Once in a great while, he wasn’t sure of it. And he went down in the silent, speeding elevator, and walked near the person long enough to ascertain from a score of details that this was only a man.
Other dreams: small play buildings for children, made exquisitely out of space-age plastics with rich and intricate detail. He saw small cathedrals, castles, palaces—perfect replicas of the larger architectural treasures—produced with lightning speed, and “cost effective,” as the board would put it. There would be numerous sizes, from dwellings for dolls to houses which children could enter themselves. And carousel horses for sale, made of wood resin, which almost anyone could afford. Hundreds could be given to schools, hospitals, other such institutions. Then there was the ongoing obsession—truly beautiful dolls for poor children, dolls that would not break, and could be cleaned with ease—but that he had been working on, more or less, since the new century dawned.
For the last five years he had produced cheaper and cheaper dolls, dolls superior to those before them, dolls of new chemical materials, dolls that were durable and lovable; yet still they cost too much for poor children. This year he would try something entirely different.… He had plans on the drawing board, a couple of promising prototypes. Perhaps …
He felt a consoling warmth steal through him as he thought of these many projects, for they would take him hundreds of years. Long ago, in ancient times as they called them, he had dreamed of monuments. Great circles of stone for all to see, a dance of giants in the high grass of the plain. Even modest towers had obsessed him for decades, and once the lettering of beautiful books had taken all his joy for centuries.
But in these playthings of the modern world, these dolls, these tiny images of people, not children really, for dolls never really did look like children, he had found a strange and challenging obsession.
Monuments were for those who traveled to see them. The dolls and toys he refined and manufactured reached every country on the globe. Indeed, machines had made all sorts of new and beautiful objects available for people of all nations—the rich, the impoverished, those in need of comfort, or sustenance and shelter, those kept in sanitariums and asylums which they could never leave.
His company had been his redemption; even his wildest and most daring ideas had been put into successful production. Indeed, he did not understand why other toy companies made so few innovations, why cookie-cutter dolls with vapid faces lined the shelves of emporiums, why the ease of manufacture had not produced a wilderness of originality and invention. Unlike his joyless colleagues, with each of his triumphs he had taken greater risks.
It didn’t make him happy to drive others out of the market. No, competition was still something he could only grasp intellectually. His secret belief was that the number of potential buyers in today’s world was unlimited. There was room for anyone marketing anything of worth. And within these walls, within this soaring and dangerous tower of steel and glass, he enjoyed his triumphs in a state of pure bliss which he could share with no one else.
No one else. Only the dolls could share it. The dolls who stood on the glass shelves against the walls of colored marble, the dolls who stood on pedestals in the corners, the dolls who clustered together on his broad wooden desk. His Bru, his princess, his French beauty, a century old; she was his most enduring witness. Not a day passed that he didn’t go down to the second floor of the building and visit the Bru—a bisque darling of impeccable standards, three feet tall, her mohair curls intact, her painted face a masterpiece, her torso and wooden legs as perfect now as they were when the French company had manufactured her for the Paris market over one hundred years ago.
That had been her allure, that she was a thing for hundreds of children to enjoy; a pinnacle had been reached in her, of craft and mass production. Even her factory clothes of silk represented that special achievement. Not for one, but for many.
There had been years when, wandering the world, he had carried her with him, taking her out of the suitcase at times just to look into her glass eyes, just to tell her his thoughts, his feelings, his dreams. In the night, in squalid lonely rooms, he had seen the light glint in her ever-watchful eyes. And now she was housed in glass, and thousands saw her yearly, and all the other antique Bru dolls now clustered around her. Sometimes he wanted to sneak her upstairs, put her on a bedroom shelf. Who would care? Who would dare say anything? Wealth surrounds one with a blessed silence, he thought. People think before they speak. They feel they have to. He could talk to the doll again if he wanted to. In the museum, he was silent when they met, the glass of the case separating them. Patiently she waited to be reclaimed, the humble inspiration for his empire.
Of course this company of his, this enterprise of his, as it was so often called by papers and magazines, was predicated on the development of an industrial and mechanical matrix which had existed now for only three hundred years. What if war were to destroy it? But dolls and toys gave him such sweet happiness that he imagined he would never hereafter be without them. Even if war reduced the world to rubble, he would make little figures of wood or clay and paint them himself.

Customer Reviews

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Taltos 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 183 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The beginning of this book has a very slow start, and there is a lull when new characters are introduced into a third (and final) book in a series. However, I found myself frantically turning pages through the last two thirds, and half begging when I came down to the last 50 pages that it wouldn't end. All in all, the ending is as 'happy' as I can imagine an Anne Rice book can be. I felt this book was a little rushed and not quite as well organized and researched as the previous novels in this series. But as a true Anne Rice fan, I hope she does another in this series, and I must commend her poetic discriptives. Phases from her books haunt me for weeks after I finish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome. I think that it rocked. I love Anne Rice's work and she gets more creative every times she writes. And HELLO, for those who want a #4 book to this series, you have to read BLOOD CANTICLE, it mixes, the Mayfair family, the taltos, and the vampire chronicles together. Get it and read it, I promise you'll be satisfied!
Guest More than 1 year ago
along with Lasher,this is by far the best book Ive ever read. I fell in love with the Taltos, i was spellbounded by the book. But i really wish that i knew what hapenned next.
Mike Walter More than 1 year ago
A good end to the series. Left me wanting a little more. But thats not a bad thing. So glad I read all three books. Definitely an Ann Rice fan now!
turlisa More than 1 year ago
The Mayfair Witch series is by far my favorite books of all time. They are incredible and it leaves you wanting more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i have been a fan of anne rice since i first read interview with the vampier, and i think taltos is the best in the mayfair witches series! explaines who the taltos r and y rowan did what she did to her daughter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was very moving. It was not as intriguing and mysterious as the 1st book, the Witching Hour or as explosive and edgy as the 2nd sequel, Lasher. But it contain an extremely touching story within a tragic storyline. I can see how some might consider it too tame.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I positively loved this book. I loved the history that it gives on the taltos. I don't think that it missed a thing. I hope that more books come from this series!!! I can't wait to read this entire series again. Thanks Anne Rice! Keep writing!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as good as the first two.
litalex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read it during my 'obsessed with Anne Rice' phase. It's a typical Anne Rice book, with lush, beautiful prose, and thank the gods, the plot actually does move along pretty fast. A good read and a more than adequate ending to the Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy.
mbertsch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was good, but in contrast with the first book, getting a little strange. I was forcing myself into reading this end of this book. I was getting confused.
chase4720 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taltos is the third book about the Mayfair witches for Anne Rice. I have mixed feelings about the book. The first two books, The Witching Hour and Lasher, while extremely interesting they took forever to get through. That said the story was so well developed that I felt compeled to read the second and the third just to find out what happens to the characters. Taltos was great because it moved faster and I didn't feel like I was stuck trying to finish it. However, after the first two books I feel cheated because there wasn't as much investment in the characters and story. I would read taltos to wrap up some of the Mayfair's story, but don't expect it to be as good as the first two books. I feel like in order to speed it up and get through Rice sacrificed some of what makes her books so wonderful.
AnnieHidalgo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Check it out, it's Bella's baby - ten years before Twilight. Or at least the race to which she ought to belong. Hmm, I wonder if Meyer read this one? Much better writing than Twilight. If you are not a fan of odd and somewhat melodramatic settings, you are not a fan of Anne Rice. Thankfully though, this is before she entered her extremely weird phase, from which, as far as I know, she has yet to return - the one dating from about Pandora on. If you liked her earlier work, or enjoy both the supernatural and a little romance, you will probably like this one. Or if you are a Meyer fan, and wonder what to read next, you should definitely try Anne Rice. I'd probably start with The Vampire Lestat or The Witching Hour, though.
Anagarika-Sean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taltos revealed some important things. Still, it's not as great as The Witching Hour.
HenryG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
_The Witching Hour_ is one of my favorite books, but I was so disappointed by both _Lasher_ and this sequel. They're both just muddled messes in my opinion. The Lasher/Taltos mythology is nowhere near as interesting as the Mayfair witches themselves. Mayfairs were the primary characters in TWH, but here they end up almost supporting characters.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hmmm. It's impossible to write about the plot in a coherent manner because there are several intertwining threads:As the title implies, this book is mainly about the Taltos--a race of beings we were introduced to in The Witching Hour. Ashlar is, or at least believes himself to be, the last of his kind. He's lonely, currently obsessed with dolls (collecting and manufacturing them), and when he discovers another Taltos has been seen, he drops everything to check it out.And of course there are the Mayfairs, as this is the last book of the Mayfair Witch trilogy. Rowan seems to be following in her mother's footsteps at the beginning of the book, though she's not quite as completely catatonic--she walks, eats, dresses herself, etc., but doesn't speak, communicate, or acknowledge the presence of others.The family seems to be turning to the 12-year-old designee of the legacy, Mona, who's pregnant with Michael's child.Then there's the Talamasca. There's corruption within the Talamasca: Aaron Lightner is killed, and his friend and contemporary Stuart Gordon is behind it, motivated by his plan to resurrect the Taltos race. He has a female Taltos, and he plans to find a male so they can mate.Contrary to the average opinions on Amazon, I enjoyed this more than I did The Witching Hour. The Taltos race was an interesting concept, and we got a lot more detail about them. (This was presumably also present in Lasher, but I haven't read it.) It also lacked a lot of the problems I had with The Witching Hour: it had a coherent plot--even if there were several threads, the story itself held together quite well; and while there were still a few tangential flashbacks, they weren't nearly as numerous or intrusive as those in The Witching Hour.However. I was completely creeped out by Mona, and not in the way you're creeped out by vampires or spiders, but in a lose-my-lunch kind of way. The nonchalant way an "affair" between a 12-year-old and a man in his 40s was handled pushed my squick buttons hard. The affair was bad enough, but that it was presented as normal.... Added to that is the fact that she's treated as the head of the family, and everyone defers to her. She's 12. T W E L V E. Not 18, not 16, not even 14--12. She's a child. Nope, just could not swallow this. As with the other witches in The Witching Hour, we're told she's very powerful, which might account for some of the attitude, if we ever saw any evidence of that power, which we don't.And then there was the stylistic choice that was seriously nails-on-the-chalkboard irritating. Mona becomes friends with her teenage cousin Mary Jane. I rather liked Mary Jane, but she talks like this: I'll get it, you rest there against that tree, that's the tree I told you about, the cypress tree, oldest one in these parts, you see this was the pond out there, the little pond???? You know??? Where the family would go rowing??? Here, take the lantern, the handle doesn't get hot.Grrrrr. Why use 3 and 4 question marks? One would do, really, to show the speech patterns. Just bugged the heck out of me. I'm not even going to mention the comma splices. Of course, if I'd loved the rest of the book, that would be a minor niggle.Though I liked it better than the first of the trilogy, even if Mona had been 16 or 18, I wasn't more than mildly interested in the story. Mona at 12 just made me disgusted.I have two more Anne Rice books in my TBR pile. They were, in fact, at the top, since they'd been random picks a while ago, but I'd postponed reading them until I read the earlier books (The Mummy and The Witching Hour). I picked up the next one to read--one of the vampire ones, I can't remember which--and found myself reading very skeptically, expecting to dislike it. So I put them both back on the bottom of the TBR pile until I get my annoyance with this series out of my head.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I disagree with the many other reviews which opine that this book is not any good. I continued to enjoy the tales contained in both Lasher and Taltos, and do not think that they detract from the excellent narrative that is The Witching Hour. I like that Rice has created an entirely new species about which to write, having possibly exhausted vampire lore. I am fascinated by the Taltos and extremely interested in reading about them further.
workgman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
loved the witching hour, not particularly found of the follow-ups.
sdtaylor555 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got pretty tired of Mona in this book. This one didn't live up to my expectations. It was good and I enjoyed it, but it could have been so much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At times, the writing seems tedious, but in a way it brings you closer to the emotions of the characters, anxious, anticipating, insatiable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Great way to end the trilogy...although it left me wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This entire series is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want more!