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Taltos (Lives of Mayfair Witches) Mass Market Paperback – March 31, 1996

4 out of 5 stars 234 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Mayfair Witches Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Cutting-edge gene mapping intertwines with ancient mysteries in this continuation of Rice's series of novels about witches and the supernatural. A "taltos" is the superhuman result of the crossbreeding of two human witches who possess an extra chromosome; almost a monster, the creature is capable of beastly behavior fuelled by an extraordinary sex drive. In Lasher , the eponymous offspring of Michael Curry and Rowan Mayfair of the New Orleans Mayfair witch clan proved to be just such a mutant; before he was slain, he repeatedly raped his own mother, siring a little "goblin" daughter, Emaleth. This new novel features a second taltos, also fathered by Curry, but mothered by a 13-year-old sexpot niece of Rowan's named Mona, who is herself the most powerful witch of the Mayfair clan. Other plot elements involve renegade members of the secret order of Talamasca, who want to kidnap and crossbreed two taltoses; a 200-year-old taltos from New York named Ashlar, who is posing as a toy-industry magnate specializing in dolls; and a dwarf called Samuel from the witches' holy glen in Donnelaith, Scotland. Pulsing with a persisent sense of foreboding, the novel is soggy with meandering, atmospheric prose that verges on softcore porn. And, as usual, what happens in the book is clearly less important to the author than the number of chills she can send down readers' spines. She has not lost her touch. 600,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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: Lives of Mayfair Witches (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (March 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345404319
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345404312
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,109 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

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ashlar Templeton is the last of an ancient race called the Taltos. Tall, handsome and born full-grown, these beings were eradicated by mankind centuries ago. Ash has lived for hundreds of years, since the Taltos were converted to Christianity in the 13th century, disguising himself, and hiding the history of his kind to escape annihilation. He longs for a Taltos mate so he can perpetuate his race. He contacts Rowan Mayfair, the reigning Mayfair witch, and her husband Michael Curry in 20th century New York. Ash knows that one of his race, Lasher, had been haunting the Mayfair family for hundreds of years, and was recently brought into the real world of man, made into flesh and bone, and then destroyed soon after. Rowan and Michael were the parents of two Taltos, now dead. Ash relates the history of his people to the couple. Ashlar's particular story, a tale of survival through the ages, is one of the strongest and most fascinating parts of this novel.

Meanwhile, Rowan's niece, Mona Mayfair, discovers she is pregnant with a Taltos fetus, fathered by Michael, Rowan's husband. (Don't ask...you'll have to read what happened!). She runs away with her cousin, Mary Beth Mayfair, to protect her unborn child. There are many who would kill the Taltos baby in the blink of an eye. Mary Beth, the country cousin from the Bayou, is absolutely delightful and provides some comic relief in an intense narrative.

Ashlar then discovers that the Talamasca, a group of scholars who have studied and chronicled occult happenings for centuries, is rife with corruption. Aaron Lightner, a dear friend of Rowan's and Michael's, is murdered by a renegade faction of the order who want to keep the history and legend of the Taltos secret.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If this book is taken as a stand-alone novel (which is difficult to imagine, as interwoven with its two prequels as it is), it deserves three stars. If this book is taken as part of the Mayfair Witch series, it deserves no stars. Therefore, I'm compromising and giving it two.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the book as a stand-alone? Beautiful writing counts for it; Anne Rice is ever the talented author, and that shows through even here, in the weakest of her books I've read to date. Mesmerizing settings, interesting characters, mystery, enchantment, the touch of the *outre*, sensuality, age and history--yes, those are all here too. They're more tally marks on the 'pro' side of the ledger. However, they can't really make up for the rushed, illogical ending, the consistency errors within the book itself, the disruption of plot and story caused by the constant jumping about from one set of protagonists to the other, and surreal pacing. It's as though someone took most of the ingredients for a very good supernatural novel and mixed them with a few drops of castor oil, resulting in something that may be edible (or in this case readable), but leaves one vaguely uncomfortable and uncertain that it was such a good idea.

That's nothing compared to its failings as the end of the Mayfair Witch saga, however.

If you adore the change that began in _Lasher_, where the Mayfair history and the Mayfairs themselves showed signs of becoming secondary to the mystery of the Taltos, you might like this book just fine. Because that's what we get here, multiplied tenfold. There isn't really much about the Mayfair witches this time. Rowan is *present*, but almost insignificant; Mona is a key part of the plot, but... she doesn't seem much like Mona anymore.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The more I think on it, the more I feel cheated. I opened the pages of this book hoping to read more about the Mayfair witches. More about their powers. More about the ghosts and the personalities that I fell in love with in the first two books.
Instead I got drivel. Things happen for no apparent reason but to set events in motion. (Just ask Aaron, he'll tell you... oh nevermind, he can't.) Characters behaved erraticly (One moment Mona was child genius, the next she was a whiny unbalenced child afraid her new toy will be taken away. Michael is now a stereotypical pervert.) Plot points were tossed right out the window. (Taltos have no souls, they are reincarnated, then they don't and they aren't. They leave no remains, then they do. Consistancy is important.) Even Ash's story was dry and didn't draw you in like the voice of Julien or Aaron in the previous books.
But the worst part is that this book leads you to a point where you almost don't care one way or another what happens in the end. Ash is a pity figure. Morrigan is a child with tantrums and seems even more insane than Lasher. If they breed, the Taltos could destroy humans, or they might not. Or they'll receate their island paradise. Or live in the glen. Or man might discover them start another slaughter. Or they'll help mankind. Or. What? It's just a little too vague to make you FEEL anything. No fear, no happiness for them, no amazement (for it was so predictible) just a sense of:
Oh. OK. Oh. That's the end.
OH! if only this one could be rewritten. The Mayfairs were so brilliant a concept that my heart breaks that this is part of the series. Better to have been a stand alone idea.
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