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

4.0 out of 5 stars 245 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.
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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 1.3 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 (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amanda M. Hayes on March 2, 2001
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
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
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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