Memnoch the Devil (The Vampire Chronicles, #5)

ISBN: 0679441018
ISBN 13: 9780679441014
By: Anne Rice

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About this book

Memnoch the Devil (1995) is the fifth novel in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series, following The Tale of the Body Thief. Some of the themes of this novel and in large part the title are re-borrowed from the old Irish gothic novel Melmoth the Wanderer. In this story, Lestat is approached by the Devil and offered a job at his side.

Reader's Thoughts


This is a theology book disguised as a vampire book. Anne Rice has always used vampires as surrogate "others" to describe very human feelings, desires, and questions; likewise she has always used vampires as a way to explore religion and the meaning of life. This installment of the vampire chronicles is over the line though. Clearly the themes of vital life-force and what a soul is are closely tied with the vampire legend as she has developed it. However, this book doesn't give a clear explanation of how vampires fit into the grand scheme of things or why this is a vampire chronicle. She also raises more questions than answers as to how this tale has meaning for the immortal stars of her chronicles. Rice's talent is for organizing story line and complex lineages, as she has done with vampires, spirits, and ancient peoples very cleverly. She capitalizes on that talent in Memnoch to describe the organization of heaven/hell and all associated supernatural beings.spoiler from here: Religions other than Christianity have a view point of a circular heaven and hell. That if you go far enough into hell, you arrive back in heaven. This is the tale that she works into Christianity. Rice has been searching for a "why" things happen through all of her vampire books. She struggles with this idea of the savage garden, that life is beautiful for it's chaos and that even things that are fundamentally horrible are beautiful at their core for their place in the big picture. This is essentially the theme of the book: should these horrible things that happen to people occur as part of the beauty of life, or should we be shielded from bad things as God's chosen sentient beings. This is the argument between Memnoch and God in this book. It's up to the reader to pull the answer together for him/herself.


...and the Catholic Church thought that The Da Vinci Code was blasphemy!! Well Mr. Pope and Bishops, wake up and smell the coffee!! Read it and weep.

Georgia Beyers

Due to the title this was one i've passed up a few times in favour of other books, but due to running out of Anne Rice material I was forced to read it, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised as usual by the authors ability to drag me from reality into her wonderful world of Vampire Lestat, a character that has become a firm favourite of mine. Not just a perfectly weaved tale but one that also makes you think deeply about the very nature of God and the devil, who were shown in a light unfamiliar to me. It made me question the stability and character of God until I came to my christian senses and remembered what a tricky little sucker the devil is. Hard to describe much more without spoilers but it's a great book that I would recommend highly to all lovers of Lestat and the marvellous Ann Rice.

Scarlet Black

I'd read this before a long time ago. It's the only signed Anne Rice book I have, so I keep it wrapped. But,I felt like reading it again.It was a little slower at the beginning than the other Vampire Chronicles, but still, as always, Anne Rice's use of vivid imagery sets such lushly detailed scenes and she creates great multi-faceted characters. It was enjoyable:)


I couldn't get past the second chapter. I liked the stories in books 1 and 2. Rice introduced so many colorful characters, who dealt with vampirism in different ways, that I was sure that she had a pile of good stories in wait. Unfortunately, when I picked up this book (thinking it was #3, not #5) I saw that she had taken the series in a different direction. Rather than show us how different humans adapted to the vampire life, she built up an increasing grand and complicated plot-line that has to be explained at the beginning of each book. Even worse, she extended the supernatural phenomena in her stories. This always bugs me --- when I read fantasy, I want a distinct fantasy with its own logic, so that we can then explore the implications of the fantasy. I can't stand it when the author constantly adds additional fantastic elements (e.g. the body thief)... as if vampires weren't interesting enough.

Sakura Koneko

This was the last Anne Rice book that I ever personally plan to read, because after reading this I went into a three month fit of depression.The events in this book were just so powerful and terrible in some cases that my mind couldn't take it. While I'm not going to say that I wouldn't recommend the book to people, I would at least put up the warning that a person may want to be weary about it if they aren't of any particular religion. Also, by the end of the book, Lestat had changed in many ways, and some terrible things had happened to him, making me feel horribly sorry for him, which was probably the oddest part of all.

Alice Lee

I want to say that I loved this has so many of my favorite Anne Rice elements! The subject is also one close and dear to my heart - romantic reinterpretation of the devil. And in truth, I loved the ideas Anne presented, I loved the story Memnoch told, and I would have loved the novel itself if it wasn't so horribly written. Her penmanship slipped dramatically from the third (Queen of the Damned) of the installment to the fourth (Tale of the Body Thief, which, while not masterfully crafted, was a very fun read), and this fifth and supposedly final installment definitely continues the downward trend. By this point I've lost most of my infatuation with Lestat, as it is my personal opinion that Anne has turned him into a whiny, pathetic remnant of his once glorious self. So, to say that if the writing were actually good then I would've loved this novel even without Lestat's charm, is actually saying quite a lot of how brilliant Anne's interpretation of the devil is to me.

Megan Anderson

Awful.I almost didn’t finish the book, which is saying something because I ALWAYS soldier through books even if I don’t like them. I have enjoyed every previous book in the Vampire Chronicles. I probably wouldn’t have finished this one if I hadn’t brought it along with me during my 3 hour blood glucose test. The beginning of the book is fine, but the majority of the book is a monologue by Memnoch on Creationism. It isn’t that Rice’s take on the creation of the heavens and the earth and the battle between God and the Devil isn’t interesting. If you gave me a summery of it, I’d love it. But it just goes on and on while absolutely nothing happens. Very little plot, very little characterization. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed it as much if I hadn’t been reading it for three hours straight. I’m hoping the next one won’t be as awful.


Definitely better than the previous book, if only because what little plot there is, starts fast and quick. There are definitely some really weird moments (the "nethermouth" comment and some of the stuff about Memnoch). Also, if you are Christian, there may be some feeling that you are reading blasphemous words in some parts, especially the parts that make it seem that God is indifferent to human suffering and that only the devil cares about us. The ending was a bit weird, if only because I really was tired of the book by the very end and didn't really feel like reading much more of Memnoch or Lestat (who is my least favorite of Vampires). Still, a solid book with interesting ideas, though it's nowhere near as good as Queen of the Damned or The Vampire Lestat.

Jesse Colton

The fifth book in the Vampire Chronicles was slow to start, but once it picked up, it was impossible to put down. To be honest, Lestat doesn't even play the major role in this book, the title character of Memnoch does.(view spoiler)[Lestat spends the first few chapters stalking a victim named Roger, and then spends a very long time listening to Roger's life story, which somehow feels extraneous and doesn't provide much payoff for the reader, as Roger is a ghost, and the side-plots about a series of books by a man named Wynken De Wilde and the story of Roger's turbulent childhood and life of crime never develop into anything other than an introduction of his daughter.Throughout the opening of the story, Lestat is being stalked by a creature that eventually reveals himself to be the devil, and is in fact the same devil that David Talbot saw in a vision, revealed back in Tale of the Body Thief. He asks Lestat to come and be his assistant and his partner, and it's then that the story really begins.This book is an explanation of the underlying mythology of the Vampire Chronicles, down to the very center: it explains the creation of the universe. Memnoch explains in fascinating detail the history of God and the angels, the creation and evolution of the universe, his personal story of being cast out of Heaven, his reaction to his beloved God becoming Christ, his revulsion at the tormented spirits of the Earth who cannot enter Heaven, and the ultimate truth that though he opposes God, he ultimately wishes to praise, serve and love God in a way different than God himself would choose, and allow all the spirits of the dead to experience the joy of Heaven and the warmth and light of God.Memnoch's adventure makes up the bulk of the story, and once it begins, the other details of the book are forgotten, and Lestat simply becomes an outsider listening to Memnoch's fascinating tale. In the end, we're left wondering how much of it was real or not, it's implied that Memnoch may have genuinely been the devil or he may simply have been some other entity, and like in all spiritual matters, things are left open-ended and up to interpretation. The ending of the book sees Lestat finding himself at peace in his home, ready to fade away and end the Vampire Chronicles, though we all know that it was not at all the ending, but perhaps the ending of the first era.Ultimately, I left Memnoch the Devil satisfied, but a little annoyed at how little Lestat's story really had to do with the Memnoch's, as much of Lestat's narrative became inconsequential. As with all the other chronicles so far, Lestat had his meetup with Louis, with the normal observations about how beautiful he is and how much Lestat loves him, and David's character is expanded to show that he now has some history with Armand, however Memnoch is the star here, and while Lestat's story is interesting, there's not really a lot of payoff for reading it. (hide spoiler)]Still, Rice's extremely interesting take on Biblical history (from back in her atheist days, when he was looking at the Catholic spirituality as an outsider) is not to be missed, and I would recommend this book even to people who have never read any of the Vampire Chronicles, simply for Memnoch's extremely interesting tale, weaving together the classic Christian narrative with new ideas, and actually showing the classic devil as a sympathetic character while questioning the motivations and stubborn childlike attitude of God.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


I personally thought this was great book. I know the religious aspects seem to be rather off-putting to some and others think that Lestat was quite whiny and became extremely inconsistent when compared to his wicked nature in the previous works in this series. I, however, think it was quite imaginative of Rice to rewrite Christianity from the Devil's perspective. She morphed Christianity into a storyline and that was certainly very forward of her. She did a very good job with it.As for Lestat, there may be some truth to what others seem to be saying. He did seem very scared and confounded by a lot of what the Devil was saying, which is abnormal of him. But I think that lets us see a different side to Lestat. I mean, if Lestat was afraid, it must have certainly been a terrifying situation.

Joel Donald

i hate this book so much i wish i could give it zero stars. what a horrendous, filthy(not in a good way) piece of canine feces. i want to punch this book in the face! you may be surprised to hear i read this book 15 years ago and i'm still furious. Rice wrote some great books, the tale of the body thief was awesome, maybe my favorite of this series. this follow up makes me physically ill. i have never been able to read any of her books since, not even the good ones. the coolest thing about the vampire chronicles was the absence of religion. bringing that into it ruined it all for me. this book defecated the bed. if i saw this book in a dark alley i would slice its throat and cackle maniacally while pleasuring myself.


• This is the kind of book that if it isn’t done exactly correct then it doesn’t make any sense at the end. I guess Lestat is used by the devil and all that, but how does that fit in with anything that was shone to Lestat? Even if it is all lies, the question is why? If Memnoch or God or anyone needed to get the veil of Veronica out to the public there were many easier and less time consuming way to do it. Why waste all this time and answer no questions? Again, it just doesn’t make much sense. Rice does manage to raise a few philosophical questions about the nature of God and the devil. When you think about it, why would Satan want to be completely evil? He was a being created to be beautiful. Why would God create him if he knew he would rebel? Who knows?

Carrie Slager

I really didn’t see why so many people were upset about this novel until I actually read it a few times. Now, however, I can see why it has been deemed offensive—or even blasphemous—and why Anne Rice, now a born-again Christian has repudiated her Vampire Chronicles. Especially since this one. Memnoch the Devil doesn’t tell the conventional church-approved story of Satan’s fall from heaven. No, it is Satan, or Memnoch, who tells his side of the story.From a theological perspective, this is a very interesting book. In it, Anne Rice has combined both old and new Christian ideas from many denominations with a bit of Jewish theology. Memnoch’s justification for his rebellion reminds me very much of the character of Satan from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Without getting into all of the nasty little details, let’s just call this novel experimental theology and leave it at that, shall we? I’m not going to bring my personal beliefs into this review.From a less biased, more literature-focused perspective, Memnoch the Devil is not exactly the greatest novel ever written. Lestat is a cardboard cutout by now, the plot is slow and predictable and Memnoch is the only redeeming thing, character-wise. Memnoch is complicated, yet sympathetic in a bizarre way if you put your religious beliefs aside while reading this. But other than Memnoch, this novel doesn’t have much going for it.As usual, my warning: Memnoch the Devil contains mature content including bad language, explicit sex scenes and violence. Personally, I would not recommend it for anyone under the age of 14, but it really depends on the reader’s maturity level.I give this book 2/5 stars.

David B

In this volume, the weightiest and best of the Vampire Chronicles to this point, Lestat finally encounters the supreme beings of the Universe--God, the Devil, and the Angels. Memnoch escorts Lestat throughout the divine provinces and time itself as he explains his complicated relationship with God and humanity. Rice's take on the situation understandably upsets many religious readers, but if you can open yourself to her point of view, you will be treated to a fascinating journey that largely reconciles the presence of evil and injustice in a world created by a supposedly omnipotent and benevolent being. Vampire fans may also be disappointed by the way in which Lestat recedes into the background for major portions of the novel, but I felt that Memnoch was worthy of taking the spotlight.

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