In The Vampire Armand, Anne Rice returns to her indomitable Vampire Chronicles and recaptures the
gothic horror and delight she first explored in her classic tale Interview with the Vampire (in which
Armand, played by Antonio Banderas in the film version, made his first appearance as director of the
Théâtre des Vampires).
The story begins in the aftermath of Memnoch the Devil. Vampires from all over the globe have
gathered around Lestat, who lies prostrate on the floor of a cathedral. Dead? In a coma? As Armand
reflects on Lestat's condition, he is drawn by David Talbot to tell the story of his own life. The narrative
abruptly rushes back to 15th-century Constantinople, and the Armand of the present recounts the
fragmented memories of his childhood abduction from Kiev. Eventually, he is sold to a Venetian artist
(and vampire), Marius. Rice revels in descriptions of the sensual relationship between the young and
still-mortal Armand and his vampiric mentor. But when Armand is finally transformed, the tone of the
book dramatically shifts. Raw and sexually explicit scenes are displaced by Armand's introspective
quest for a union of his Russian Orthodox childhood, his hedonistic life with Marius, and his newly
acquired immortality. These final chapters remind one of the archetypal significance of Rice's vampires;
at their best, Armand, Lestat, and Marius offer keen insights into the most human of concerns.