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

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: http://www.epinions.com/review/The_Ta...

Bonnie

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. :)

Barakiel

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"]>

Raquel

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.

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.

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.

Jenny

Lestat, Lestat, Lestat...you little devil, you. I liked this one even though I think I may need to take a little break from Ms. Rice because I did find that Lestat would go on and on. My husband swears that's the way it's been in every book but it never bothered me until this one. Well..I don't know if bothered is the right word...just a feeling of, ok...that's nice about the monkeys and all but really...can we get on with the story?? I really like the way she writes and felt the premise of the story was good. I liked the references to other pieces of literature...most of which I was familiar with. Very clever. I also did feel that this really was the story of lestat, even more than the Vampire Lestat. I felt that book was all about how he became a vampire and his adventure...but this was more about who LeStat was and the struggles he was going through in trying to 'find himself', for lack of a better term.

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.

Wendy

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.

Lisa

** 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.

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.

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.

Catt

Lestat takes a great leap of faith in this book. He resides in a mortal body, while his body is on loan and used for all kinds of nefairous deeds. He experiences all the human traits that we take for granted. The sunrise, the food, the smells and of course our weaknesses. i loved how Mrs. Rice explained the differences of our vision to that of the vampires. She really paints an interesting picture of mortality in this novel. But anywho, things take a turn for the worse when Lestat does not get his body back when arranged. He relies on his human friend David Talbot for aid. And what does he do in return? How does Lestat show his gratitude? It broke my heart a little to know that in the end, Lestat will always be a monster under the grace and the attitude. =0( But definitely a good read and a better book in the series.

Kara

This was her best of the Vampire Chronicles by far! I read them all and the first was..eh, 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.

Angie

This was one of my favourite Anne Rice books probably because she changes things a bit. The book is all modern day with no back history at all. That in itself is a first for this series. Lestat is bored. Bored of his life and bored of hanging out with the other vampires at Armand's place.He's approached by some guy and against all advice decides to body swap for a couple of days. He could fly!! Why would he want to be ordinary? Things obviously go wrong and he gets David from the Talamasca to help him get his body back. The book is lots of fun, Lestat is so cool and David who is a bit in love with him is a great addition to the book.This is lots of fun, Lestat as a human was amusing, I was laughing at a lot of his reactions. So I'd recommend this book, but I think you have to read them in order or there's no chance of understanding the characters.

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