The Tale of the Body Thief (The Vampire Chronicles, #4)

ISBN: 0679405283
ISBN 13: 9780679405283
By: Anne Rice

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About this book

In a new feat of hypnotic storytelling, Anne Rice continues the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles that began with the now classic "Interview with the Vampire" and continued with "The Vampire Lestat" and "The Queen of the Damned." Lestat speaks. Vampire-hero, enchanter, seducer of mortals. For centuries he has been a courted prince in the dark and flourishing universe of the living dead. Lestat is alone. And suddenly all his vampire rationale - everything he has come to believe and feel safe with - is called into question. In his overwhelming need to destroy his doubts and his loneliness, Lestat embarks on the most dangerous enterprise he has undertaken in all the danger-haunted years of his long existence. "The Tale of the Body Thief" is told with the unique - the mesmerizing - passion, power, color, and invention that distinguish the novels of Anne Rice.

Reader's Thoughts

Gary Galehouse

She's way too in love with her own writing at this point. Takes ten pages to describe the front of a mansion. In the words of the great Casey Kasem: Ponderous man, f'ing ponderous.

Fangs for the Fantasy

Lestat has become thoroughly disillusioned with his life as a vampire. Isolated, bored and generally dissatisfied he tries to end it all – which doesn’t work out as planned given his incredible power levelWhen someone makes him an offer he can’t refuse, though he really really really should as multiple people tell him. But since when has the Brat Prince listened to the advice of others?He agrees to the Body Thief’s proposal – he will swap his incredible vampiric body for that of the Body Thief’s human one – letting Lestat experience humanity while the Body Thief, Raglan, a deeply unsavoury character, plays around with Lestat’s amazing powersIt does not go well.I love that Lestat becomes human and hates it! Especially since this follows both Louis and Lestat playing the “woe, I wanna be human!” game – and since Louis is probably responsible for an entire genre worth of vampires moodily staring into the night and cursing their immortal super powers. I love how perfectly Lestat sums up just how much better it is to be a vampire, how awesome being a vampire is, how incredible his powers are – and no, getting to see the pretty sunshine does not make up for having to do all the nasty organic things that he hasn’t had to deal with for the best part of two centuries. I love how gross he finds the daily life of being a human. I love how hard he finds it, how painful, how difficult.Yes, he looks hellaciously whiny when he complains to Louis about it, but it is a powerful moment – Lestat (and Louis) have reached such a power level that being human is beyond their conception. The struggles of humanity are insurmountable tortures to Lestat because he is so separated from them.The real world parallels for this are many and deep (for example, the number of extremely privileged, wealthy people putting marginalised cultures, experiences et al on shiny pedestals without even beginning to understand what it actually means to be those people) and it’s an extremely well maintained theme throughout.Are there things about being human Lestat likes? Yes. Is being a vampire an inherently lonely experience? That’s extremely clear as the human Lestat makes his connections (which fall apart when he becomes a vampire) but it has become clear over and over (and is overtly stated in this book) that the few remaining vampires in the world simply cannot get along for any great length of time. Of course there are attractions, but those can only be realised by ignoring a huge wealth of pain and hardship and difficulty that being a human brings compared to the vast abilities of vampiredome.While I generally find the endless philosophical debates in this series incredibly, painfully dull, I actually really liked Lestat and Gretchen (not so much the fever dreams) with their delving into what is goodness, what makes a life worthwhile, what is a good life. It’s a big, meaty, thought provoking topic which was handled quite well – albeit long windedly. I also liked Gretchen’s point about her celibacy – she views celibacy as a way of ensuring all of her life can be dedicated to helping others without the ties or distractions of a relationship. As her growing preoccupation with her celibacy and desire to have sex grew, she recognised that as a distraction in and of itself and therefore the moral choice was, basically, to scratch the itch. It’s a fascinating moral viewpoint – the whole conversation really works (except for the repetition).I like the development of the antagonist as well, for all his cunning his flaws are written large – and there’s a lot of thought gone into the whole concept of stealing a body; after all, would we really know how to move a body that is a different shape from our own? Let alone a body with super powers? I imagine, given Lestat’s incredible abilities, the only sensible response at controlling that power for the first time is some kind of terror – like a new driver suddenly behind the wheel of a Maserati.Then there’s the negative. Firstly, the standard problem I’ve complained about with every book in this series – this book doesn’t need an editor, it needs to be assaulted by a drunk man with a chainsaw who’ll just chop huge chunks of it away quite randomly. Again, this book could have been half, a third as long as it actually is. We had a lot of random Claudia hallucinations that just seem to be there to fill up space. Lestat begins the book all suicidal which we’re told about at length, including his suicide plan… he then gets over it. After an interminable amount of time bemoaning his existence and trying to end it all, he decides he’s done that now and moves on – the whole thing feels like a painfully pointless way to give Lestat a tan.In fact, the whole beginning of the book is like some kind of test of reader dedication to see if they have the mettle to keep reading. Beyond the Claudia hallucinations, unnecessary recaps and random not!suicide, we have a truly horrendously long conversation between David and Lestat that covers nothing of any real relevance – except maybe to try and tell us that these two are bestest buds ever, even though none of the books felt the need to develop that. Oh and Lestat kills serial killers and romances and kills old people for some unknown reason which, despite having zero plot relevance, required so many many many pages to describe. I also have a repeated notes with a growing number of exclamation marks saying “ENOUGH WITH THE BLOOD REMBRANDT!” I think a full quarter of the beginning of this book is spent on utter pointlessness.Unfortunately this book moved Lestat from a character I found somewhat intriguing to one I found infuriating in the extreme. If something were to brutally murder Lestat I wouldn’t feel sad, I would smugly declare he got what was coming to him.Lestat has the impulse control of a small child – no, small children show greater restraint. And not just in agreeing to Raglan’s deal – but in the end with David, in his interactions with Louis, most of what he did as a human, his early book angst, in fact, just about everything Lestat does, he does on a whim with little to no thought of the consequences. And he always has (Claudia is a classic example).I could handle that – if he learned. If for one millisecond he learned. If he once decided to plan or consider or look back on his past mistakes or if he showed even a modicum of character growth. He doesn’t. Ever.Read More


This is one of my most favorite Anne Rice books ever, and I've read quite a few. The Tale of the Body Thief is one story I will never forget. Highly recommended. :)


I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. As an Anne Rice fan I was inclined to read this book (which I had previously entirely missed out in my reading) but I found that from the blurb on the back I was very disinterested and therefore it took me ages to get into it. Once I did however I found that it was exquisitely written and captivating much as I have come to expect of her novels. This book focuses on Lestat and how he chose to face his undead existence until of course meeting with Raglan James (the body thief). The book draws you to wonder what will happen should he partake of this offer and presents itself in an enticing way, though to see what he does you'll simply have to read it! The theme of the book does sound almost cringe-worthy but it is built up and made into essential reading, even from so much as the descriptions of the transitions of souls it is absolutely fascinating and the metaphors comparing god and faith into fire and flame. A truly wonderful descriptive piece.


I loved, 'The Tale of the Body Theif!' I simply loved, love Lestat de Lioncourt, my 'Bratty Prince!' He is almost like a child with his fearlessness, couriousity, and yes, even his fits of temper... And when given the opportunity to switch forms and become Mortal once more, despite the dangers and warnings against it, for the span of 24 hours, how can he resist?! Now, when the 'Body Theif' takes off, with his powerful and lovely form, and leaves him in this mortal body... That's when the fun begins. Seeking help and finding it, in the brilliant David Talbot, they begin their journey to recovering his true form. And, it's a journey I could not get enough of.

David B

Weary of immortality and longing for some form of redemption, the vampire Lestat impulsively accepts the offer of a sorcerer to exchange bodies for two days. It comes as no surprise that there is a double-cross, and Lestat is trapped in the body of a human. He enlists the aid of his friend David Talbot, an elite member of the Talamasca, a secret organization that studies supernatural phenomena. Together, they must find a way to unseat the wizard from Lestat's super powerful body and restore the vampire to his rightful shell.Like the previous book in the series, "Queen of the Damned," this one takes a while to get going. In fact, a full 200 pages pass before reflection and philosophy finally recede a bit and a plot begins to assert itself. Once it does, though, the book really takes off and turns out to be a terrific read with a surprising ending. I wish Anne Rice would get better at integrating her themes and her plots so that we could be spared these long, meandering prologues (however insightful they may be) before the action starts.


I really like this book, it is from Lesats point of view and is interesting. Lesat is being followed by a man, a human man, who offers him a chance to be human again. Against his friends wishes he takes the deal which leads to horrible results. This book has some small problems, but the last chapters 32 and on really made me want to throw the book at the wall the first time I read it. Now I understand it but it still upsets me.

Andrés Laverde Ortiz

Leer sobre vampiros no es una nueva moda. Los vampiros no nacieron como una explosión de hormonas adolescentes, ni mucho menos del cine (aunque sea este el que nos haya dado las imágenes más vivas y majestuosas de ellos). Seguramente no muchos estuvieron de acuerdo con el ahora cliché del vampiro refinado y elegante que creó Polidori en su célebre relato “El Vampiro”, que luego pareció afamarse con la obra de Bram Stoker “Drácula”, inspirada en parte en la historia del conde Vlad Tepes. Pero juzgar a un lector simplemente porque lee un libro de vampiros es otra cosa.Terminé de leer la semana pasada “El Ladrón de Cuerpos” un libro que esperó muchos años para llegar a mis manos y que quise devorar desde que, casi de un tirón hace un par de años, terminé los primeros tres libros de la saga de ‘Crónicas Vampíricas’, me atrevo a decir, un clásico de la literatura contemporánea escrito por la muy preparada Anne Rice.Me encontraba leyendo las últimas páginas en un Transmilenio en Bogotá, cuando una señora que se sentó a mi lado no pudo evitar leer la contraportada de mi libro. Entonces, luego de un bufido parecido al de los toros (caballos si se quiere) la señora me suelta: “¿qué pasa que todos leen de vampiros? ¿Ahora todos quieren ser vampiros? ¿se quieren vestir como vampiros? ¿Usted también quiere dar susto? ¿Salir medio desnudo a la calle?”. La señora se baja del transporte y sigue hablando sola… está bien, me soltó todo eso de medio loca, pero ¿no han ido demasiado lejos los últimos escritores sobre vampiros?Si la señora y yo estamos de acuerdo en algo es en esto: los vampiros son hoy un fenómeno juvenil exagerado, que raya los límites de lo sensual para convertirlo en sexy (que no es lo mismo) y que, luego se convierten solamente en moda. No se imagina ella la cantidad de diálogos existenciales, descripciones fantásticas y trivialidades embellecidas que puede encontrar en los libros de Anne Rice, una experta en historia que además se toma el atrevimiento de crear vampiros “elegantemente sensuales” y no “vulgarmente sexys”.Volviendo al libro, una continuación de la saga que empezó en “Entrevista con el vampiro”, continúa con “Lestat el vampiro” y “La reina de los condenados” hasta llegar al título que nos compete, lo que inicia como una discusión existencial sobre “lo moral” en la vida vampírica, nos pasea luego por interesantes teorías sobre la existencia del bien y del mal, de Dios y el diablo, hasta convertirse en una cacería llena de experiencias sin ningún tabú sexual ni moral y detalles tan bien descritos que se hacen casi perceptibles.¿Vampiros que brillan y salvan adolescentes? No, nada de eso encontrarás en los libros de Rice, que explota la figura de Polidori y Stoker desde dentro, creando vampiros más introspectivos, reflexivos y, si se quiere, humanos, conscientes del error, la belleza, el caos y la divinidad, como no es imaginada desde Rimbaud.Una obra muy recomendada para las tardes lluviosas de Bogotá, y hasta para los domingos asoleados en el parque. Una obra que se queda y no que pasa por moda. Una que debe leerse en presencia de todas las viejitas locas del país.


Better than The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned. I can't really say what I liked about this one without giving away the plot of the story. However, once you realise what/who the body thief is, you know for sure that Lestat is going to put himself in danger - the daredevil that he is. The risk is well worth taking and this is a good read.


** spoiler alert ** I actually like this one. The nun Lestat hooks up with is thoughtfully characterized and interesting. I've always been intrigued by Rice's decision to have her say she sought out a lover because her "virginity had become an obstacle." I wonder how common an experience that is for the clergy?

Cyndy Aleo

Once upon a time, Anne Rice had an excellent series called the Vampire Chronicles. It began with Interview with the Vampire, where her "main" vampire, Lestat, is introduced, and continued her focus on the various adventures and mishaps of Lestat through this novel, The Tale of the Body Thief.::: Oh, That Silly Lestat. There He Goes Again :::The Tale of the Body Thief begins with the age-old question of the existence of God. Lestat, as usual, begins the narration, and the topic continues as he meets with the Superior General of the Talamasca, David Talbot. The Talamasca is a secret organization who studies all facets of the supernatural, from vampires to telekinesis, and David's friendship with Lestat is frowned upon by the rest of the group. Nevertheless, Talbot describes his own theory of a fallible God and a Devil who actually has the position in shifts with others, no one wanting to be the face of evil.Lestat sees himself as a form of the Devil, becoming evil when his mortality was sacrificed when he was made a vampire. Of course, The Tale of the Body Thief will give Lestat the opportunity to change all that; a man capable of swapping bodies at will offers Lestat the chance to experience a mortal body again. Protests from Talbot and Lestat's vampire compatriot Louis (the protagonist of Interview ignored, Lestat makes the deal with the mortal, Raglan James, and almost immediately realizes that his usual impulsivity has led to what might be the permanent loss of his body. In the mortal body, Lestat is horrified by what he considers to be the foul side of being human again almost immediately, and while in the body, he becomes ill, gets drunk, has sex, and finally turns to Louis for assistance, begging to be remade as a vampire. Louis, of course, refuses, seeing Lestat's folly as a chance for redemption, and Lestat turns instead to Talbot to formulate a plan to regain his own body.::: The Plot Thickens... And Goes Missing :::As much as I love the Vampire Chronicles, I hate Lestat. When they made the movie of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise playing the role, I was doubly annoyed, for a despised actor was playing a despised role. The arrogant, half-cocked antics of Lestat have always annoyed me, even when I loved the books, and The Tale of the Body Thief is no different. Both times I've read the book, I found myself wanting to slap Lestat silly for his stupidity, but without his stupidity there would be no book. None of the other vampires from the Chronicles would be so stupid as to hand over what is one of the most powerful vampiric bodies to a common thief, yet that is exactly what Lestat does, trusting that he won't be duped, even though the reader can see it coming from miles away.Still, the book is an excellent read. The beginning sections with the theories of God and Evil are intriguing, and the mere concept of someone who has has preternatural powers for centuries reverting to the ordinary humanity he has forgotten was a fascinating read, and Rice provides the reader with a very realistic vision of what that might be like.There are only two things that keep the novel from being truly superb. One is the addition of a nun Lestat meets in the hospital when the mortal body falls ill. While this interlude seems to be a vehicle for more discussion of morality, it seems beyond contrived (why would a volunteer nun take an ill man she doesn't know out of the hospital and bring him to her home?) and is just another excuse for Rice to add in one of her requisite number of sex scenes. The other is a feeling that somehow the question of whether or not there is a God got lost in the shuffle. After Talbot's description of "seeing" a conversation between God and the Devil in his past, I felt like by the end of the novel there might be some inkling of what this episode was, or some answer other than Lestat's own belief whether it was true. It all seems to rest in his contact with Gretchen, and it falls flat.The Tale of the Body Thief, nonetheless, is an excellent and entertaining read. For once, Lestat gets a bit of comeuppance for his arrogance, although that never seems to slow him down for long. The Tale of the Body Thief is still one of the better books in the Vampire Chronicles series. This review previously published at Epinions:


Lestat got in trouble, and became HUMAN! And wanted his Vampire body back! What a neat twist and insight into the character of this impulsive Lestat! Great read, and continuation of the vampire series, but different direction. Excellent read.


The major attraction of this book for me is what the nun tells the vampire. She says her aim in life is to make life better, even if she can only accomplish this for a few folks, despite the abundance of miserable, diseased, and hungry people in the world.


The first Rice novel I ever read. I was in Bari, Italy, waiting for the ferry to take me to Corfu, Greece. I was reading a hideously boring Candadian novel, and the young lady in line next to me was reading The Tale of the Body Thief. We switched books. I had never heard of Anne Rice. I fell in love with the book. Soon after, when I was in Sorrento a few weeks later, I was searching for any Rice books I could find. Her writing is lush. Reading this book was like wearing a mink coat inside-out i.e. you feel the soft luxurious fur on your skin. Lestat, the main character, is a very egotistical vampire, yet he is very amicable. The story is very interesting. It is a man hunt. Someone has tricked Lestat into switching bodies, so Lestat becomes a mere human. Lestat and his friend must find the "body thief". The action is not abundant and not thrilling. What attracts you to the story and keeps you reading is the language Rice uses and the character of Lestat. I highly recommend this book.

Carlos Lavín

My first read of the The Vampire Lestat was quite some years ago, I was somewhere around 15 at the time. I remember being delightfully amazed by this character, the sheer raw sensuality of his persona and of the way he conducted himself. Always wanting everyone to notice him, to fear him, to love him, and actually giving them all the tools required to do so.The torture of immortality is always a floating theme in Rice's books. So is the appreciation of everything thats fragile and beautiful for that, all of the vampires' love for humans and their mortality being a clear example of this. This book, however, takes it a little bit further.It wasn't just Lestat looking at mortals he fell in and out of love in a time lapse of 10 minutes, it was actually him living in man's flesh the fragility of it all. The torment of being an easy to break mortal, of having to actually do something with the short time span you get living. The anguish behind questions so fundamental like what can you do with your life to make it matter, how do you transcend, how to affect the big picture or does this big picture even matter at all.This book actually feels as an outsider looking into what it means to be human, to be fragile. To have human needs and to try and not find them disgusting. To be ever so confused as to what the best approach to this transcendance would be. It continually references parts of Goethe's Faust to keep on elaborating on to the questioning of the impossiblity that there is a god and a devil that actually exist as protrayed to us by religions such as the catholic.The "action" part (it's a vampire book after all) did seem to take a bit of low profile role on this one, giving us entire chapters of Lestat in his human form talking to some other human, most notably Gretchen or David, trying to figure it just what it all means.I understand some people that are going around saying it's a slow book. It is, very much so. And a lengthy one, I think it's as long as Queen of the Damned. I would, however, recommend not to let this move you away from this one, but to find the simple beauty of humans interacting that Rice presented us with this book.

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