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Memnoch the Devil (The Vampire Chronicles) Mass Market Paperback – May 28, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

The fifth volume of Rice's Vampire Chronicles is one of her most controversial books. The tale begins in New York, where Lestat, the coolest of Rice's vampire heroes, is stalking a big-time cocaine dealer and religious-art smuggler--this guy should get it in the neck. Lestat is also growing fascinated with the dealer's lovely daughter, a TV evangelist who's not a fraud.

Lestat is also being stalked himself, by some shadowy guy who turns out to be Memnoch, the devil, who spirits him away. From here on, the book might have been called Interview with the Devil (by a Vampire). It's a rousing story interrupted by a long debate with the devil. Memnoch isn't the devil as ordinarily conceived: he got the boot from God because he objected to God's heartless indifference to human misery. Memnoch takes Lestat to heaven, hell, and throughout history.

Some readers are appalled by the scene in which Lestat sinks his fangs into the throat of Christ on the cross, but the scene is not a mere shock tactic: Jesus is giving Lestat a bloody taste in order to win him over to God's side, and Rice is dead serious about the battle for his soul. Rice is really doing what she did as a devout young Catholic girl asked to imagine in detail what Christ's suffering felt like--it's just that her imagination ran away with her.

If you like straight-ahead fanged adventure, you'll likely enjoy the first third; if you like Job-like arguments with God, you'll prefer the Memnoch chapters. --Tim Appelo

From Publishers Weekly

Rice has made a career out of humanizing creatures of supernatural horror, and in this fifth book of her Vampire Chronicles she requests sympathy for the Devil. Having survived his near-fatal reacquaintance with human mortality in The Tale of the Body Thief (1992), the world-weary vampire Lestat is recruited by the biblical Devil, Memnoch, to help fight a cruel and negligent God. The bulk of the novel is a retelling of the Creation story from the point of view of the fallen angel, who blames his damnation on his refusal to accept human suffering as part of God's divine plan. Rice grapples valiantly with weighty questions regarding the justification of God's ways to man, but their vast scope overwhelms the novel's human dimensions. God and the Devil periodically put on the flesh of mortals, and too often end up sounding like arguing philosophy majors. Meanwhile, the ever-fascinating Lestat, whose poignant personal crisis of faith is mirrored in Memnoch's travails, becomes a passive observer, dragged along on trips to Heaven and Hell before being returned to Earth to relate what he has witnessed. Though Rice boldly probes the significance of death, belief in the afterlife and other spiritual matters, one wishes that she had found a way to address them through the experiences of human and near-human characters, as she has done so brilliantly in the past. One million first printing; BOMC and QPB main selections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Vampire Chronicles (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (May 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345409671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345409676
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (623 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. Anne has spent more of her life in California than in New Orleans, but New Orleans is her true home and provides the back drop for many of her famous novels. The French Quarter provided the setting for her first novel, Interview with the Vampire. And her ante-bellum house in the Garden District was the fictional home of her imaginary Mayfair Witches.

She is the author of over 30 books, most recently the Toby O'Dare novels Of Love and Evil, and Angel Time; the memoir, Called Out of Darkness;and her two novels about Jesus, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana. (Anne regards Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana as her best novel.) ---- Under the pen name, A.N. Roquelaure, Anne is the author of the erotic (BDSM) fantasy series, The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. Under the pen name Anne Rampling she is the author of two erotic novels, Exit to Eden and Belinda.

Anne publicly broke with organized religion in July of 2010 on moral grounds, affirming her faith in God, but refusing any longer to be called "Christian." The story attracted surprising media attention, with Rice's remarks being quoted in stories all over the world. Anne hopes that her two novels about Jesus will be accepted on their merits by readers and transcend her personal difficulties with religion. "Both my Christ the Lord novels were written with deep conviction and a desire to write the best novels possible about Jesus that were rooted in the bible and in the Christian tradition. I think they are among the best books I've ever been able to write, and I do dream of a day when they are evaluated without any connection to me personally. I continue to get a lot of very favorable feedback on them from believers and non believers. I remain very proud of them."

Anne is very active on her FaceBook Fan Page and has well over a million followers. She answers questions every day on the page, and also posts on a variety of topics, including literature, film, music, politics, religion, and her own writings. Many indie authors follow the page, and Anne welcomes posts that include advice for indie authors. She welcomes discussion there on numerous topics. She frequently asks her readers questions about their response to her work and joins in the discussions prompted by these questions.

Her novel, "The Wolves of Midwinter," a sequel to "The Wolf Gift" and part of a werewolf series set in Northern California in the present time, will be published on October 15, 2013. In these books --- The Wolf Gift Chronicles -- Anne returns to the classic monsters and themes of supernatural literature, similar to those she explored in her Vampire Chronicles, and tales of the Mayfair Witches. Her new "man wolf" hero, Reuben Golding, is a talented young man in his twenties who suddenly discovers himself in possession of werewolf powers that catapult him into the life of a comic book style super hero. How Reuben learns to control what he is, how he discovers others who possess the same mysterious "wolf gift," and how he learns to live with what he has become --- is the main focus of the series. "The Wolves of Midwinter" is a big Christmas book --- a book about Christmas traditions, customs, and the old haunting rituals of Midwinter practiced in Europe and in America. It's about how the werewolves celebrate these rituals, as humans and as werewolves. But the book also carries forward the story of Reuben's interactions with his girl friend, Laura, and with his human family, with particular focus on Reuben's father, Phil, and his brother, Jim. As a big family novel with elements of the supernatural, "The Wolves of Midwinter" has much in common with Anne's earlier book, "The Witching Hour." Among the treats of "The Wolves of Midwinter" is a tragic ghost who appears in the great house at Nideck Point, and other "ageless ones" who add their mystery and history to the unfolding revelations that at times overwhelm Reuben.

In October of 2014, with the publication of "Prince Lestat," Anne returned to the fabled "Brat Prince" of the Vampire Chronicles, catching up with him in present time. This is the first of several books planned focusing on Lestat's new adventures with other members of the Vampire tribe. When the publication of "Prince Lestat" was announced on Christopher Rice's "The Dinner Party Show," a weekly internet radio broadcast, it made headlines in the US and around the world. "Prince Lestat" debuted at #3 on the New York Times Best Seller list and ran for nine weeks during the height of the competitive Fall-Winter season, with another week on the extended NYTBSL. ----

Anne's latest novel, "Beauty's Kingdom," is the fourth in her "Sleeping Beauty Erotica Series," and the first to be launched in hardcover. Though the first three novels were published in the 1980's under the pseudonym, A.N. Roquelaure, the name, Anne Rice, was added to the series in the 1990's. About her erotica, Anne has this to say: "I believe in the erotic imagination. I believe men and women have a right to write and read erotic fantasies. My goal with the "Sleeping Beauty" books is to provide the most authentic erotica that I can for those who share BDSM fantasies."

Anne's first novel, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976 and has gone on to become one of the best-selling novels of all time. She continued her saga of the Vampire Lestat in a series of books, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles, which have had both great mainstream and cult followings.

Interview with the Vampire was made into a motion picture in 1994, directed by Neil Jordan, and starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas. The film became an international success. Anne's novel, Feast of All Saints about the free people of color of ante-bellum New Orleans became a Showtime mini series in 2001 and is available now on dvd. The script for the mini series by John Wilder was a faithful adaptation of the novel.

In 2014, Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment optioned "The Vampire Chronicles" for a full reboot of the franchise.

Anne Rice is also the author of other novels, including The Witching Hour, Servant of the Bones, Merrick, Blackwood Farm, Blood Canticle, Violin, and Cry to Heaven. She lives in Palm Desert, California, but misses her home in New Orleans. She hopes to obtain a pied a terre in the French Quarter there some time in the near future.

Anne has this to say of her work: "I have always written about outsiders, about outcasts, about those whom others tend to shun or persecute. And it does seem that I write a lot about their interaction with others like them and their struggle to find some community of their own. The supernatural novel is my favorite way of talking about my reality. I see vampires and witches and ghosts as metaphors for the outsider in each of us, the predator in each of us...the lonely one who must grapple day in and day out with cosmic uncertainty."

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

138 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Slade on August 6, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have purchased this book over 10 times throughout my lifetime.
The reason for this was I wanted to give it to others so they can understand why it captured me so.
This book made me question a lot of things when I first read it about 15 years ago. It challenged what I thought I knew about religion, life, and everything anyone has ever told me was true. It led me down a path of spiritual enlightenment, questioning and self reflection that ultimately led me to a place where I finally feel at peace with such things. I feel this is much like Anne Rice herself has done throughout her life.

If you are looking for a typical vampire novel, this isn't what you want. This is something much different and unexpectedly placed withing the vampire chronicles. The character of Lestat is the perfect creature to meet with the devil and go through this adventure however, and his unique lavish selfishness, and the depictions of hell and Memnoch's story about "the truth behind the devil" really conflict with Lestat at this point in the story. After the events of the Queen of the damned, where the main characters face creatures of unbelievable power and cruelty Memnoch the Devil offers readers another confrontation with the all powerful, and one that not only deeply affects the character, but the reader as well.

Not for the weak of will.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By D. Redd on April 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What does it take to enter the mythical Christian afterlife place called heaven? You have to forgive yourself and forgive the deity referred to as ‘God’ by the western peoples. This, to me, was the best of Anne Rice’s books in the Vampire Chronicles. Interview with a Vampire and Queen of the Damn (book not the silly movie) were also good, but Memnoch was the best. Mrs. Rice explores the mind of the deity called the Devil/Satan. It explores a plausible treatise on the Christian religion She explores purgatory and what it takes to cross into heaven. The brilliance of the two conditions, ‘forgive self and forgive god’, is demonstrated as it is truly the only two concepts it takes to worship the Christian god. Most Christians have to apologize for their god’s inactions and the way life goes. Then they have to forgive themselves of the guilt of all the things they have done. This is one of the best fictional accountings of Western, and especially the Catholic, dogma and beliefs and their failure to address the human condition. It will make you think. Bravo Anne Rice for that!
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78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Phrodoe on April 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Question: Why on earth should Rice (or any author) be expected to limit herself to writing one type of novel, in one style, on one note? For that seems to be what the negative reviews here seem to be insisting she do. A sampling of these would turn up such words and phrases as "it's boring," "this isn't a vampire novel," "this isn't Lestat," "it's out of character," "offensive," and many other such (let's be polite here) well-intentioned chidings...all of which sound rather put out, and many of which miss the point entirely.
First, let's take the notions that this isn't a vampire novel, that it isn't Lestat, and that his behavior is out of character, and dispense with them right off. One: It seems to me that this is a vampire novel, as it does have its share of vampires haunting the pages. Two: If you study the overall arc of Lestat's character, from Interview through to Memnoch, the overall effect is a softening of Lestat's hard, conscienceless demeanor -- The Tale of the Body Thief really brings this to the fore, in fact; read it again and see if I'm wrong. Memnoch's characterization of Lestat in my mind is perfectly in keeping with what's gone before. As to the idea that the characters do not act in keeping with their usual presentations in Rice's previous vampire novels, well, ask yourself this: If you met, in the span of a few hours, both God and Satan, and had your mind blown by both Heaven and Hell, AND had your entire belief system turned upside-rightside-inside-out, how rationally would YOU act? My guess is not very, and that was part of the point Rice was trying to make: we're far too comfortable in our various faiths, and that kind of complacency is very dangerous. We need to question more, Rice is saying.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Converse on August 16, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
So, after Lestat, the Brat Prince of Vampires, the James Bond of the Nosferatu, our defiant Lestat, has awakened the progenitor of the Vampire race and seen her apocalyptic vision, after he's learned what it is to inhabit the body of a mortal man, after he is again beautiful, enigmatic and anonymous (as in, not a world famous rock star), when he is again among the few remaining Vampires of the world...Lestat encounters The Devil. Please don't call him Beelzebub or Lucifer. Memnoch will do. And here Anne Rice embarks on something that would look like hubris if we didn't know that she went ahead and wrote novels about Christ essentially from Christ's point of view. Lestat, almost like Daniel Webster, is put in a position to judge the justice of Memnoch's case against the Almighty. He visits Christ during the Temptation, he meets G-d the Father and he sees Hell (or does he?). This novel is a question mark and it is through this evasion of certainty that Anne Rice negates the hubris for which she might otherwise be accused. We aren't certain, really, to what extent we can be credulous of the Devil (he is supposed to be the Father of Lies, whatever Claudia had to say on the subject). A lot of readers were uncomfortable with the ambiguity, but I found so many images in this novel haunting, beautiful and worth considering. On my first visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, having read this novel, I could not stop picturing the tableaux Anne Rice painted there. I don't know if it's destined to be one of the great works of literary worth or theological depth, but it is a beautiful and artistic novel meant to make you question everything. After all, that's exactly what the Devil wants, isn't it?
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