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

ISBN: 034538475X
ISBN 13: 9780345384751
By: Anne Rice

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About this book

For centuries, Lestat --- vampire-hero, enchanter, seducer of mortals --- has been a courted prince in the dark and flourishing universe of the living dead. Now 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 ...

Reader's Thoughts

Soukyan Blackwood

Lestat in this particular book in fact reminded me of Lovecraft's beings. It made no sense for him to do some of the things, to express some of his feelings and to just... well, do what he did, and yet he did it and it made perfect sense. He claimed to be evil, and if you're blinded by love, believing he is not capable of truly doing something evil... It seems like he took it almost as a personal challenge to himself to defy these ideas of goodness and I loved it.


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.

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:


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. :)

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.


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.


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.

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


• 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.


I LOVED THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF. I loved that Lestat desires to feel sunlight. I loved how Lestat loves bread and orange juice. I loved Lestat for loving a woman. I loved Lestat for loivng Mojo. Oh, my! Mojo. My heart swelled when Rice comments that Mojo was to serve one purpose in the story's plot -- to provide companionship. I loved Lestat for wanting and needing and fighting for his rightful body because Lestat is meant to be a vampire. I loved that I met my dear dear Louie, the vampire, once again. I savored this tale, reading it slowly each night because I just did not want it to end.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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