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

3.7 out of 5 stars 669 customer reviews
Book 5 of 11 in the Vampire Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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: 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 (669 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #143,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Just when I thought that this series couldn’t get any deeper, MEMNOCH THE DEVIL became the next book to read in this incredibly deep, rich and complex vampire mythology. I had previously heard from some reviewers that the previous book in this series, THE TALE OF THE BODY THEIF, is where the series begins to take a turn for the worse and that this book is where it all bottomed out and became virtually unreadable and to those reviewers I ask: ‘Did we read the same books??’

If those reviewers were looking for a straight up vampire novel, then yes, they were most likely disappointed then for that aspect. If the highly religious read this book and are the type that can’t separate their personal beliefs from reading a work of fiction, then yes, they were also probably highly offended by this book and would in turn not find any kind of enjoyment out of it either.

MEMNOCH THE DEVIL is a controversial work, without question, as it takes us on an examination of the Christian religion, with Lestat being the central character that is faced with his grandest moment yet of self reflection and questioning of everything he ever thought true in his 200+ years of existence as the Devil himself takes him through the story of God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell and creation.

Do I agree with the views in this book? Do I think this book is a revelation of what is REALLY going on in the spiritual world? The answer to both of those questions would be no. I do however think that Anne Rice wrote an extraordinarily deep work of fiction, so deep that if one finds themselves open-minded enough, it may in fact place some imaginative wonder into your thinking about just how little we really know of the afterlife, creation, how we got here etc; the likes of which you may have never pondered before.
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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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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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