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

Carrie Slager

The Tale of the Body Thief is the fourth book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, but by this book, it seems like her heart wasn’t really in to writing it. While the premise of the novel is interesting enough and her descriptions are just as wonderful, it seems to lack the spirit and enthusiasm of the first three books. It seems as if she was pressured into writing a fourth book to capitalize on her series’ fame and that’s the worst reason for any author to write a book.Even though it feels like Anne Rice had to continue the series because of its immense popularity, Lestat is still as complex as ever and after being a vampire for so long, he struggles as a human. It’s amazing to see him struggle over things that normal humans do every day, like eating and going to the bathroom. Along the way he meets David Talbot, a former member of the supernatural secret society, the Talamasca. Together they discover that the man Lestat switched bodies with has no intention of switching back and they hatch a plot to get Lestat back in his proper body.I’ll add my usual warning: this is not a fast-paced novel. Yes, it has an interesting plot, but no, it is not a fast plot because The Tale of the Body Thief is a character-driven novel. Anne Rice has wonderfully sensual descriptions and a compelling writing style, but as with all of the books in the Vampire Chronicles, The Tale of the Body Thief contains explicit sex scenes and other mature content. I would recommend it for ages 14 and up.I give this book 3/5 stars.

Sofia Teixeira

Esta obra é, sem dúvida, das melhores de Anne Rice. Pelo menos das que li até hoje. Lestat é uma personagem que ficará para sempre gravada na minha memória. Quando pensamos que ele já ultrapassou todos os limites que podia, enganamo-nos redondamente!Lestat fartou-se de ser vampiro! E quando descobre a existência de um 'ladrão de corpos' não resiste à tentação de querer voltar a ser humano! De querer voltar a sentir a luz do sol no seu rosto, de sentir o sabor da comida e de fazer amor com um homem ou uma mulher. Mas como é que pode confiar o seu corpo, com todos os seus poderes, a um ladrão sem escrúpulos que faz tudo pelo gosto de tomar posse do que não lhe pertence? Que garantias tem ele de, se a experiência correr mal, voltar a ter o seu corpo de volta?Uma personagem que volta a aparecer e que é fundamental no meio desta trama toda é David Talbot. Este é o general superior da Talamas, o grupo que estuda e documenta actividades paranormais. Depois do contacto anterior com Lestat em que se tornou seu amigo, David continua a negar a Dádiva Negra que este tanto lhe deseja dar. Quando Lestat lhe conta sobre o seu plano de se tornar humano, David avisa-o que não pode confiar de maneira nenhuma no ladrão de corpos.Claro que as coisas acabam por dar para o torto e quando Lestat vai ter com Louis, já na sua forma humana, este nega-lhe qualquer ajuda e apenas David está disposto a ajudá-lo. Lestat enquanto humano passa por situações que nos apertam o coração. Chega a estar numa agonia de tal forma que já só deseja o seu corpo antigo de volta, sem conseguir sequer dar valor ao que ele pensava que ia dar.Um livro de uma acção estonteante, cheio de aventuras e experiências que sinceramente me surpreenderam, levando-me a uma leitura extremamente compulsiva. Gostei muito.Originalmente publicado em:

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


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.


I love dark stories and I've heard all the hype about this series, but this wasn't what I expected. It was dark, yes, but in a devilish/occultic kind of way. Made me very uncomfortable as a "Christian" (I'll go with that title for the sake of argument). That said, here are the pros and cons:Pros:1. Intriguing narrative that pulls you in2. A thoughtful story with suspense and er, events (sadly, there's not much action)3. An "evil" vampire's view of the world (though I expected more evil, he was much too caring; seemed incongruous)4. Super powers, yay! 5. I enjoyed the last chapter, though I would have liked more sadism, ha!6. A female author did a splendid job of writing from a man's POV, methinks7. (view spoiler)[Suicide (hide spoiler)]8. (view spoiler)[I also loved that one wonders if Claudia is actually haunting him or if he's just going slightly insane from grief/guilt. (hide spoiler)]Cons:1. Er, rape.2. Too much sex overall. I mean I do understand that a man is generally preoccupied with sex, but perhaps it could have been more subtly incorporated (with less "members" and "triangles".) Blegh.3. (view spoiler)[Nun loses virginity. Made me go: What. The. Hell. (hide spoiler)]4. Stupid decisions by main character, which would be fine if something more was done with it. But it was all rather boringly predictable with little in the way of plot twists.5. I expected more blood drinking, but perhaps there's more of that in the previous books? As someone who enjoyed the Twilight stories despite the sparklays and has witnessed many memes comparing these superior vampires to those inferior ones - I have to ask: (view spoiler)["Lestat is GAY?!?!" Well, bi at least. (hide spoiler)]I doubt I'll read the rest of this series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


• I thought that this is by far Anne Rice’s best description of Lestat’s true character. Everything he did in this book was exactly what I would expect someone who is supposed to be so selfish and evil to do. Throughout the rest of the books Rice tries so hard to tell you that Lestat is really not good, that he can do evil things, and she tries desperately to make him into this anti-hero. This is the first book where I think she does a really good job of it. This makes me want to read more about Lestat. In Queen of the Damned, it seemed like she tried to tell a story while telling us all about her vampires’ history. I think that if she would have either done one or the other, the result would have been good, but as it turned out, both the story and the history faltered. This was purely a story. A list of interesting and suspenseful events that kept me interested.

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.

Mary Marmalady

** spoiler alert ** At the end of Queen of the Damned, I was annoyed that Lestat had to go bother some human I didn't care about. But I guess it's okay since Lestat needs a human friend in this story. I liked this story because it gave an outsider's look into being human. I didn't buy the rape scene and thought Rice should have talked even a little more about the cold but if sunlight is really the only thing vampires miss about being human, why aren't there more vampires? As the story went on, Lestat seemed to like being human more and more. I measured his progress by how little or then how much he likes his food. It goes from sawdust to flavorful. And yet being human isn't enough for Lestat and he has to quit this experiment. If anyone would help Lestat become a vampire again, I should think he would know that the very worst vampire to ask is Louis. He's weak anyway. Wouldn't Lestat have asked Armand? This was a pretty good read. The only thing I didn't like was that Lestat now knows vampires can swap bodies with humans and he doesn't offer to repeat this experiment with Louis. The whole time I was reading this book, I was waiting for Louis to become human again. If any vampire truly wants to go back, wouldn't Louis? I don't think Anne Rice considered this possibility while writing this book, otherwise she could have them both think of this possibility and both know that Lestat will never offer it because he's too selfish to let Louis go. If Lestat had gone to Louis in his human body and instead of asking Louis to make him a vampire, asked Louis to trade bodies, this would be a very different story. Louis refusing to make another vampire and Lestat refusing to make a humn of a vampire might have been an interesting standoff.


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 absolutely loved the ending to Queen of the Damned. Now, I wonder if I should have stopped reading The Vampire Chronicles then. The Tale of the Body Thief is told by The Vampire Lestat, Rice's famous "brat prince". After the events of the last novel the few remaining immortals have disbanded and he now wanders the earth alone, again. He has befriended David Talbot, of the Talamasca, and constantly offers the old man the Dark Gift, which he always refuses. Depressed, lonely, and constantly haunted by visions of Claudia, he attempts suicide in the Gobi Desert.After his failed suicide attempt, Lestat returns to David home and heals. Later he's approached by Raglan James, a mysterious man who has being following him around the world. He offers Lestat an opportunity to be human again. A process which requires them to switch bodies. Lestat becomes convinced that it's the one thing he really wants.Despite the warnings of his friends, Lestat and Raglan come to and agreement to trade bodies for a day. However, Raglan has no intention of returning Lestat's immortal and powerful body, leaving him in a weakened state. After the Louis and Marius both refuse to help Lestat turns to David to reclaim his body.At first, I partially disliked Lestat in Interview with the Vampire. In The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned, he grew on me. In this book however, there was something about him I couldn't stand. I did love the book and the Rice writing is amazing, but it took a while for me to really get into the story. Not until Lestat went to see Louis did I get motivated to read more.


This was her best of the Vampire Chronicles by far! I read them all and the first, the second pretty good, the third (if that was Queen of the Damned) was getting better, but this one, was excellent. It kept you on the edge the whole time. I don't think you need the others to get into it.


** 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?


** spoiler alert ** Another great book in the Vampire Chronicles, and possibly one of my favourites so far...We already knew that Lestat is awesome; the petulant, selfish, petty and yet incredibly charming, intelligent and seductive vampire hero of the series, and through this book we must now add another descriptive - hilarious.Rice solves the problem of having a near invincible hero through a concept that I thought worked incredibly well; by having him take part in a trade - his body for that of a mortal man, for a period of 2 nights and a day, believing that the dream of vampires is to be reborn again as human. When the Body Thief (the guy he's traded with) promptly disappears (which, of course he was going to Lestat, you bloody idiot) Lestat finds it more a nightmare than a dream being stuck in such a fragile body and starts a desperate search for the fiend so he can recover his own and wreak revenge.Rice really has a firm grasp on Lestat's voice now and he's never less than entertaining (even while being a complete bastard), but never more so than during his period stuck in the mortal body. His complete wretchedness and fits of near hysteria every time he has to do something simple like walking on a rug (he could fall and smash his head open) or shaving his beard (he's bound to slit his throat), along with his temper tantrums (his arson attack on Louis' home during a fit of pique, and his protests of 'I'm the leader!' during the assembling of his new coven are just a couple of such great moments) had me guffawing loudly. It'll be extremely interesting to see how the dynamics of this new group play themselves out over the coming books (if they do at all), and I'm looking forward to them immensely.

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:

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