by Anne Rice
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: 5/6/89 (first publishing)
Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.
I decided to reread the book I read a million years ago (or so it seems) since I knew I wouldn't remember much. I actually read this series before I read any of the vampire series. Although I did have problems with Ramses in the beginning, he did win me over in the end. I felt that although Ramses grew throughout the years, his "affliction" of immortality sometimes made him prone to selfishness and gluttony. While these were problems and he was infuriatingly dense when it came to true love, he did finally learn after one HUGE blunder after another. Now you might think that this would make me not like the book, but the journey in his fascination in the new age as well as the secondary characters within really pulled me along in the book for a second time. It also made you hunger for the next book with a open ending. So happy that finally happened.
I give this one 4 stars. It was a fun reread and helped me remember how I saw it the first time and how things changed for me this time around. While I would have given it 5 stars before, I would say that the main reasons I removed a star is that I would have liked more emphasis on him as a counsellor he was to Pharaohs in the past rather than the bumbling researcher he was in the first book. Still, I really liked who he became in the end.
by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
Source: From publisher and NetGalley for review
Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.
Finally! Finally got to find out what happened after the ending of the last book. I was afraid there would be great leaps in the time and we would have to catch up again to what is happening like it often happens when large amounts of time go between books in a series. Plus this one was supposed to continue, then not and now it has! You can be relieved to know that this book starts right after the first book ended and so flows easily after my reread.
The biggest difference I felt was the "feel" of the book. While it still felt like the same author wrote it, it also felt more mature and a much fuller experience. It could be because the author has changed in how she writes or because her son has now come aboard and co-wrote it with her. Whatever the cause, it did flow a bit better for me than the first.
The adventure was still very interesting and I really liked that the history of the elixir was finally told as well as more about the other day-walker immortals that also roamed the earth. We got glimpses of tales of day-walker immortals in the vampire books but no information. While there are still some lingering questions, it does feel like a much better explanation and a much fuller history in the book.
I also enjoyed that questions were unanswered for the immortals themselves with Cleopatra and how she was resurrected and what or who she is now. The uncertainty of her future opens up the series to more books but even if the series ended with this one, it would be enough answers we could let it end in a more satisfying way than the first book.
I give this book 4 stars and I think this is a better book than the first. I would still suggest reading them in order as a large number of characters are established in the first book.