Servant of the Bones

ISBN: 0345389417
ISBN 13: 9780345389411
By: Anne Rice

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About this book

Having created fantastic universes of vampires and witches, the incomparable Anne Rice now carries us into new realms of the mystical and the magical --- and into the presence of a dark and luminous new hero: the powerful, witty, smiling Azriel, Servant of the Bones. He is a ghost, demon, angel --- in love with the good, in thrall to evil. He pours out his heart to us, telling his astonishing story when he finds himself --- in present-day New York City --- a dazed witness to the murder of a young girl and inexplicably obsessed by the desire to avenge her.Azriel takes us back to his mortal youth in the magnificent city of Babylon, where he is plucked from death by evil priests and sorceresses and transformed into a genii commanded to do their bidding. Challenging these forces of destruction, Azriel embarks on his perilous journeys through time --- from Babylon's hanging gardens to the Europe of the Black Death to Manhattan in the 1990s. And as his quest approaches its climatic horror, he dares use and risk his supernatural powers in the hope of forestalling a world-threatening conspiracy, and redeeming, at last, what was denied him so long ago: his own eternal human soul.

Reader's Thoughts


Run, do not walk to the nearest trashcan and deposit it at the bottom. Don't put it on top of the trash because some homeless person might accidentally read it. His life is already pretty sad. We don't need to make it worse.It's about a genie locked inside a pile of bones. The story is told in the same interview format as "Interview with a Vampire". There's a homoerotic undertone throughout the book which I found quite tedious.


The story about Azrael in Babylon is beautiful, but I suppose Anne Rice is attempting to validate the Book of Enoch which is apochryphal by including a prophet named Enoch among the exiles in Babylon. The Enoch mentioned in the Old Testament is Methuselah's father from a much earlier generation. This is a minor point. Most readers probably will not notice. The contemporary plot line didn't have the impact that it might have had because it reminded me of other similar scenarios I've seen in other novels.

Kevin Wellen

Original story in Bablyonian times of a Jewish boy who is turned into a bound spirit to serve ancient wizards/witches.


Servant of the Bones, 1996 – Anne Rice, USAThe fantasy novel is worth reading and somewhat exceptional – because it is fantasy with a strong element of history – passing through the ages, beginning in old Babylon, moving to Greece, the Middle Ages and ending in New York of our times.The main figure is Azriel, a young man who under magical circumstances is changed into an immortal spirit who passes through various places and ages but is servant to that person who is in possession of the casket containing Azriel's bones.The novel also contains elements of Jewish history. In New York Azriel takes revenge on the murderer of a young Jewish woman, thereby being involved into the machinations of a Jewish religious leader with worldwide followers and a fortune of billions who plans to take over the rule of the world.Fantasy and history, ending in a crime thriller.


** spoiler alert ** This started out as a five-star book for me. Already after the first few pages, I was ready to give it the highest rating. I was immediately fascinated by the story, by the characters. I like stories that build on history, as long as they don’t get too long-winded about it, which this one didn’t. The historical aspects were really only background, with the main story springing from the imagination of the author. However, I do have to admit that there were a couple of passages that summarized human history that I skipped over because they were preachy. Yeah, yeah, we know about how terribly humans have destroyed the environment, etc. That was not the point of the story, and didn’t need to be in there. Those were only really short parts, though, so I can forgive them.As I got further into the story, though, several other things started creeping up on me that dampened my enthusiasm. The first was, I realized that this book was probably just a carbon copy of Rice’s famous Interview With the Vampire. I have never read that book, nor seen the movie with Tom Cruise, but I believe it is based on the same template: An immortal, supernatural being pours out his biography, along with the story of his struggle between good and evil tendencies, to a sympathetic listener who mainly remains in the background. Seen thus, as a sort of ‘spin-off’ (although not a sequel), the magic of the story is already slightly lessened. I was unable to admire the originality of the concept because it was no longer original.The second thing that bothered me was that although the book started out from the listener’s point of view, and his insights and reactions were an important part of the initial chapters, suddenly he was dropped completely and the entire remainder of the story, up to the last chapter, was solely from the speaker’s point of view. I felt that this turned the listener into nothing more than a gimmick to allow the speaker to pontificate -- which of course he was, but at the beginning at least, he was allowed his own opinions, and could have served as a counterpoint, devil’s advocate, or voice of reason at crucial points throughout the narrative. So I felt that the author had just let him go out of laziness, and his absence was felt.The thing, though, that I really didn’t like about this book, was the last third or so, especially the sex scene and the premise that Asrael’s (the protagonist and speaker) entire existence of over three millenia was forever changed and clarified by his ‘love’ for two women he met at the very end, one of whom he saw only for one second before she died, and the second one (her mother), whom he spent barely a single day with. He decided, seemingly on the spur of the moment and with nothing more than a brief glimpse into each of their eyes, that he loved them so completely and utterly that his entire character was changed, and the meaning and course of life made clear in those instants. Gag.Also, details like... why was it so important that Esther wasn’t Gregory’s biological daughter? It was mentioned over and over again, but the point was never made clear. In fact, if she had been his biological daughter, her murder would have made more sense. Or the whole thing with Asrael’s will: On the one hand, he was supposed to be in some way subject to the will of his summoner, yet he was able to act completely independently of them, even to kill them, despite them telling him not to. But maybe that’s just me being dense. In any case, things like that that didn’t seem to make sense or be consistent also lessened my pleasure in this book.All in all, though, it was a good story, it definitely kept my interest, the characterizations were consistent and vivid, and the climax was, although not entirely surprising or innovative, satisfying and tied up all the loose ends.

Eddie Black

I got this one autographed at a signing in Little Rock, Arkansas. I could barely speak as Anne signed it and had to go lay down on the floor between some bookshelves. HA!


As a bit of a diversion from the regular vampire lore, in The Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice we are taken to the hay days of a crowed chaotic Babylon. At times rambling on in non-essential dialogue this story is rich in detail and character development not to mention vivid descriptions of places and people long past. A very long time ago a young boy sacrifices himself for the Jewish community in Babylon under the impending rule of King Cyrus. His reward is to live forever on as a powerful spirit neither completely alive and certainly not dead. Passed on from master to master Azriel eventually ends up in modern day New York where he becomes a pivotal component in the plan of a mad mastermind set on bringing about his version of the End of Days.Before all that however we travel with Azriel and we see through his eyes the world as it once was. All this we are told by Azriel himself as he re-told it to Jonathan a writer who trapped himself for the winter in a remote lodge surrounded by miles of snow. The setup of an old tired spirit telling his life's story to a listener who has the power to write it all down appropriately is perhaps not a novel one, but it certainly works in this case. Although the story starts out very slowly with lots of re-starts, as Azriel puts in more and more detail, right around the middle of the novel things start to pick up and accelerate towards the ending.After thousands of years of being immortal and mostly omnipotent, Azriel is confronted with a situation he can't change. He can't prevent the death of a young girl, something we later read has many more personal repercussions for our 'hero' dead or alive. The more he tries the less he seems to have a grip on his physical world around him and he can't prevent those around him he cares about to not perish at the hands of baser minds. Or can he? We are treated here to a well thought out and well told story on humanity as experienced by a being far from human. At times dragging on and at times too fantastical for its context, this novel his highly entertaining and engrossing.


I have never been so happy to finish a book in my life. Ok that's probably not true. In fact I think The School on Heart's Content Road was probably worse. I only read this book because it is for one of my book clubs. For this book club whoever is hosting gets to choose the book. The person hosting May's book club is a sci-fi/fantasy fan, which is so not my genre at all. She offered us 3 choices of books and this seemed the most mainstream, so it got the most votes. I sincerely wish I had voted for something else. It's not just that this book wasn't my cup of tea, it was that it was extremely boring and very long at almost 400 pages. I don't even have the heart to recap the plot of this book. I'm sure you can find a summary of it somewhere if you want. We'll see if anyone else in my book club found it more engaging than I did.

Michael Barnett

I started reading all of Anne Rice's vampire books, then started with the Mayfair Witches, which for the most part, enjoyed thoroughly. After a while, however, I was wanting something more. After all, how many times can you re spin books with the same central theme? Then I found Servant of the Bones. I have always loved historical epics, and beginning the story in Babylon, during the Jewish captivity there, was not only brilliant, but very well written. Miss Rice has always, not only done much research for her books--including this one--but she is then able to tell a story, making the reader feel as if he is really there with the main characters. Being a Christian, when I first realized she had ventured into the land and time of Daniel, I was wondering if she would rewrite history, but she did not. Miss Rice tells the story of Azriel, a young Jew, who is there during the conquest by Cyrus the Persian. He is then betrayed by his own people for a perceived greater good, and suffers a horrible death. A Jewish witch commands his spirit to go into the bones, and from then until the present, he can only be summoned from the bones by powerful magic. This may seem like a simple story, but the central theme is can Azriel' soul ever go to heaven, since he was made this powerful spirit against his will? I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historically beautiful times, and someone who roots for the underdog.


Admittedly, I didn't finish this book. I read 60 of 360 pages and found it more tortorously boring and overly descriptive. I think the book was laced with a sleep aid.

Déborah Muñoz

Reseña completa y más en www.escriboleeo.blogspot.comAlgo me decía que me iba a decepcionar el libro y, como siempre, mi intuición no falló en lo más mínimo. Ya vuelve Anne a meterse en movidas metafísicas y religiosas realmente cansinas, dejando este libro a la altura del de Memnoch el diablo cuando podía haber sido mucho mejor. Está impecablemente escrito. La historia de Azriel y cómo se convirtió en El sirviente de los Huesos mola. La historia de cómo investiga la muerte de Esther mola. ¿El problema? La parte del medio, las innumerables descripciones de lo mal que está el mundo, las explicaciones religiosas que no terminan de gustarme, la contraposición del amor absoluto y del odio absoluto sin términos medios, las repeticiones continuas de los mismos conceptos… Vamos, un fiasco teniendo en cuenta lo que podía haber sido. Algo entretenido, pero que no pasará a mi memoria como las Crónicas Vampíricas (excepto el citado Memnoch el diablo) o Las Brujas de Mayfair.


I'm not sure why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I loved her Vampire Chronicles and this book seemed to follow the similar form: A interweaving of the history of the narrating character with the present situation they somehow find themselves in. Azriel, not an angel or demon but a powerful spirit, appears before Jonathan and then delves into his story, which leads to why he is in the present. Or maybe that's it; it felt like something I read before, but done with less care than the previous works. Of course they're major differences, such as Azriel coming from Babylon and his predicament of whether or not his soul, if it exists, truly belongs to himself, but I couldn't get into it until the story was in the present. It felt like a whole lot of deposition Azriel had to get through, which is maybe why it felt rushed? His personality only showed through toward the end, and that's when I could suspend that I was reading a novel and really get into the story. In the beginning I'm told that Azriel has a really laid back, cheery personality, but because he becomes the Servant of the Bones early on that barely gets a chance to shine through. It's only when he learns to love and forgive himself in roughly the last third of the book do I really believe it. Heck, I even laughed at some points of his narration.And maybe I couldn't get into the themes because they're themes explored in her older novels as well. Again, what intrigued me pertained to the latter half when discussions of human extermination, the greater good, and how convolution of the human mind surfaced. New themes, new ideas. The first half felt too plot driven, maybe?The writing as I stated earlier seemed a little rushed. At times, it also felt repetitive. I feel like a lot of the descriptions on how beautiful an individual is could have been chopped down since the point had gotten across in the first sentence. It might just be because I read too many of her earlier books. But overall, I wasn't as enthralled by this book than the others. It's still a decent read though!

Courtney Lake

Definitely one of Anne Rice's earlier works. Its not as refined as her later works but i do love her stream of consciousness narration style of her exotic creatures of the night. An enchanting story about a magic bound Babylonian boy who is cursed to serve the owner of his bones for thousands of years until he is finally freed from servitude to become his own master.

Shawna McKinnis

The Servant of the Bones falls into the Crunchy Vegetable category. It took me quite a while to really get into the story. In my quest to own and read everything Anne Rice, however, I endured and interspersed my stints of reading Servant with nice helpings of Ice Cream books. In the Servant of the Bones you meet the spirit Azriel as he tells his tale to the Professor and Author Jonathan. Azriel’s tale is one of great sorrow, fear, and in the end, love. You look at the human condition on a scale of an individual heart as well as on a global basis. Azriel’s tale spans thousands of years, but the culmination of his understanding is a modern thing with an intense climax. I hate spoilers, so I won’t give away too much, and I am sure you can find a more thorough review elsewhere on the web if that is what you crave. I am very glad I persevered. When I was about halfway through, I began to fall in love with the spirit Azriel, and plowed though the rest of the book rather quickly. Rice has such a talent for character development- by the time you are through the book you feel you have truly known the people you have read. While her books on the Mayfair Witches are still my favorites, I look forward to continuing my journey though the books of Anne Rice.


Al Tashchet. ♥Non saprei. Rispetto alle altre letture della Rice devo ammettere che questa mi ha lasciata abbastanza indifferente.Il suo modo di scrivere è il solito di sempre..forse è anche questo che ha appesantito la cosa.In ogni caso mi sembrava di leggere, soprattutto verso la seconda metà e poi la fine, uno di quei soliti libri apocalittici con l'eroe che deve muoversi per salvare il mondo.Inizialmente mi aveva affascinato e non poco, lo ammetto, perché le descrizioni del mondo antico sono sempre di una certa valenza per me..però poi mi è sembrato un'accozzaglia di eventi.Continuo a preferire la saga dei Vampiri. :)

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