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The Tale of the Body Thief (Vampire Chronicles) Paperback – December 13, 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 301 customer reviews
Book 4 of 11 in the Vampire Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's been said that Vladimir Nabokov's best novels are the ones he wrote after starting a failed novel. Anne Rice wrote The Body Thief, the fourth thrilling episode of her Vampire Chronicles, right after she spent a long time poring over that most romantic of horror novels, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, to research a novel Rice abandoned about an artificial man. Perhaps as a result of Shelley's influence, The Body Thief is far more psychologically penetrating than its predecessors, with a laser-like focus on a single tormented soul. Oh, we meet some wild new characters, and Rice's toothsome vampire-hero Lestat zooms around the globe--as is his magical habit--from Miami to the Gobi desert, but he's in such despair that he trades his immortal body to a con man named Raglan James, who offers him in return two days of strictly mortal bliss.

Lestat has always had a faulty impulse-control valve, and it gets him in truly intriguing trouble this time. On the plus side, he gets to experience romance with a nun and orange juice--"thick like blood, but full of sweetness." But Lestat is horrified by an uncommon cold, and his toilet training proves traumatic. He's also got to catch Raglan James, who has no intention of giving up his dishonestly acquired new superpowered body. Lestat enlists the help of David Talbot, a mortal in the Talamasca, a secret society of immortal watchers described in Queen of the Damned.

The swapping of bodies and supernatural stories is choice, and there's even a moral: never give a bloodsucker an even break. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Rice's fourth Vampire Chronicle--a 14-week PW bestseller and a BOMC main selection in cloth--depicts the tormented vampire Lestat's struggles with immortality. An enchanting tale of body-switching, necromancy and betrayal, set in New Orleans, Miami and Paris.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

More from Anne Rice
Whether imagining a world of vampires or recreating the life of Jesus Christ, Anne Rice is known for her innovative and compelling bestsellers. Visit Amazon's Anne Rice Page.

Product Details

  • Series: Vampire Chronicles (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (December 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345419634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345419637
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,547 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

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on September 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I wonder why _The tale of the Body Thief_ didn't get the same success as _Interview_ or _The Vampire Lestat_.
The story is strong and original: Lestat, bored of his immortal and static life, accepts to exchange his supernatural body with a rascal, named Raglan James. Thus Lestat can experience human life: food, drinks and, for the first time, sex.
His love affair with the young waitress is an enchanting piece of literary skillness. We see Lestat enjoying sex with the reluctant girl -but his real problem is not the girl's unwillingness, it is the relation with his new mortal body!
The romance with the nun is less convincing: Lestat could have chosen something less complicated for his spiritual evolution.
But that doesn't matter: the immortal vampire experiences human life, he is attracted by it, but finally prefers to return to his originale condition. No sweat, no hunger, no bad smells, no problems....
Of course, Lestat will have to face the treacherous and unfaithful Raglan James for returning to his original state. But this is not very important: I think that in the seconda part of the book the most interesting scene is Lestat's visit to the waitress, to beg her pardon. Something very human and sweet, a very significant moment in Lestat's development from _Interview with the vampire_ Miss Roce's style is at its best, vivid and intriguing.
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Format: Hardcover
Of The Vampire Chronicles, this is my absolute favourite. They are all magnificent books, but this one is a bit different than the others. It focuses even more on Lestat, his mistakes which always leads him into great adventures, and on his friendship with David Talbot.
When the story begins, Lestat is tired. He is not sure whether or not he wants to live. Infact, he tries to take his own life, but fails. This doesn't make him feel any better...
Then this Raglan James comes forward, and gives Lestat an offer; he wants them to switch bodies...
For three days, Lestat could be human again, if he agrees to the offer given by Raglan James. Of course, it would be irresponsible to let a human use a body as strong as his, Lestat thinks, but still he is tempted. Well, Lestat isn't known for always being responsible and thinking about the consequences, and so he accepts. And what happens? Raglan James escapes with his new vampire body, and Lestat is stuck inside a human body. Some way, he has to get his own body back...
This book is truly brilliant, it has everything! As soon as you start reading, you're stuck. I read it in two days, almost without eating or sleeping during the time. You really fall in love with Lestat, and his neverending mistakes.... Read this book, you will not regret it!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is undeniably entertaining. The whole 'Lestat can't even handle everyday aspects of being a human' had me laughing out loud at times, and was a wonderful characterization on the part of Anne. However, I can't help but feel that this novel didn't drag me into its narrative so wonderfully as the first three books in this series. The writing seemed to have lost that...indescribably beautiful flow. The breathtaking mixture of gothic tragedy, horror and romance so notable in its predecessors remains, for the most part, aloof, and at times it feels like you are reading a well-written piece of fan-fiction rather than part of the Vampire Chronicles. I also had real problems with the character of David. Granted, he was mildly intriguing in 'Queen of the Damned', but now he just appears as yet another character in what had been a wonderful cross-section of characters created in the first few novels. He also annoyed me because the excellent love-hate relationship between Louis and Lestat, something that this series is infamous for, was often ousted for his ramblings on God. Enough! In fact, this character so bored me that I have to draw on points raised by some of the other reviewers-- you end up hoping desperatley that Louis, Armand or one of the others will show up again. And that's the thing; the scenes between Louis and Lestat are so entertaining, so insightful that when Lestat leaves to return to David, you just groan and think 'here we go again'. This novel is good for two things-- firstly, as an insight into the tragedy of growing old, of the waste of life, (so wonderfully linked to Yeats's 'Sailing to Byzantium') and also if you are just in the mood for a comic-book type of adventure.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Just when we thought Lestat's tale was over, we meet him yet again in another autobiography of sorts. Lestat tells us of more blunders and muck ups all delivered with his infamous witty, charm and extravagant vanity.
Lestat is being followed by a presence that he cannot name. This presence has followed him for some time until it makes himself known. A man gives Lestat snippets of stories and makes vague remarks to Lestat which he is more than willing to write off..determined to end his immortal existence.
This man tells Lestat that he has great psychic powers and can switch bodies with him so than Lestat may once again know what it is to be mortal.
Lestat is famous for his adventures and journeys both physical and mental. I suppose when your immortal your free to muck things up as much as you'd like because you have all the time in the world to make it right.
I had truly thought the worst for our friend Lestat in this book, but he has shown me that he is ever the same miserable, cunning, vain and determined creature that we met in the first book.
Lestat really messed things up in The Tale of the Body Thief, which he will tell you, and I'm sure in the next book I'll get to see the aftermath of this adventure. Does Lestat ever learn from his mistakes? I feel this book showed us no, he may never learn.
Lestat is one of those characters that you love to hate. They annoy you to no end, but you still love the ride they take you on at the same time. Always full of surprises our Lestat..now on to the next book..
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