This article/writeup is released under the GNU Free Documentation License (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License), and is a verbatim copy/modified version of an article from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vampire_Chronicles as of 24/03/2004 WRITTEN BY ME, as allowed by that license.
The Vampire Chronicles are a series of novels by Anne Rice that revolves around the character Lestat de Lioncourt, a French nobleman made a vampire in the 17th century.
Anne Rice vampires are very different from classic vampires like Dracula, not being affected by the most usual weapons against standard vampires. They drink blood and kill humans in the process, but the need for blood gets smaller as the vampires get older. They can even drink animal blood, but human blood is preferred as more tasty. They are not afraid of garlic, crosses, religious symbols or silver and can't be killed with stakes. It is supposed that they can live forever, but vampires younger than a thousand years old can usually be killed by exposure to sunlight or fire. The millenia vampires are afraid that nothing - ever - will kill them, except for a total destruction of the vampiric species.
They don't change into bats nor cast spells, but some of the stronger, older ones do have the power to fly. Most of them also have the power to read thoughts of mortals and weaker vampires. They have extraordinary physical powers, like moving very fast (faster than human eyes can see). They also have extremely keen senses and are quite strong. They have many artistic qualities, like singing and theatre.
One of the main aspects of Rice's vampires is that they are all excessively emotional and sensitive, being easy prey to intense emotional suffering and aesthetic passions. They are usually very beautiful, as older vampires avoid making new ones out of old or ugly mortals.
The chronicles have a huge fan base since their beginning in the 70s, especially of the first four books, that feature Lestat in a prominent position. The latests books have been criticized for a lack of sparkle and the excitement brought on my the first books of the series.
ATTENTION: There are spoilers ahead
Interview with the Vampire
This is the book that began it all and it tells the story of Louis de Pointe du Lac, a French nobleman living in a Louisiana plantation. Louis allows himself to be interviewed by a reporter of the 20th century and tells the tale of his transformation. He was made a vampire by another Frenchman, the real hero of Rice's stories, Lestat de Lioncourt. Together, they lived for almost a century in New Orleans, bringing up the vampire child Claudia, saved by the vampiric blood from death by the plague.
The Vampire Lestat
This book tells the story of the infamous Lestat de Lioncourt by "his own words". The character talks to the readers and attempts to convince us not only that he actually exists, but also that he is not as bad as Louis portrayed him on Interview. It's a rich, sad tale of Lestat's love for the theater and Nicolas, a childhood friend. It also introduces the vampire Marius and explains Lestat's connection with Armand in Paris. Rice's tale includes a most interesting explanation for the existence of vampires and their version of Adam and Eve, Enkil and Akasha.
The Queen of the Damned
This is probably the most complex book of the Vampire Chronicles, introducing several new characters and splitting the narrative between them to form a scary image of the vampiric world. Lestat is once again the main character, having been responsible for the waking of Akasha from a sleep lasting a few thousand years. All the vampires are either forced or led to come together at his concert, in an attempt to prevent a world-wide catastrophe caused by the ancient being that Akasha is.
The Tale of the Body Thief
After the big epic that was Queen of the Damned, Rice gets back to the private story of Lestat and his dealings with a mysterious magician who wants to trade bodies with him. We meet again David Talbot, an elderly mortal belonging to the scholar order of the Talamasca, introduced in "Queen". His story get intertwined with Lestat's as they become friends and face the Body Thief.
Memnoch the Devil
This book turns to religion as Rice brings the devil, called Memnoch, on Lestat's trail. Being very ironic and cynical, Lestat does not believe Memnoch's claims of being the master of Hell. This all changes when the devil takes the vampire for a biblical ride.
Anne Rice takes a break from Lestat's tale in this book, turning to an ancient lover of Marius, called Pandora. This is her story and mainly the story of their relationship as a vampiric couple.
The Vampire Armand
This is the complete story of Armand, made by Marius and a very important character on the beginning of the chronicles, affecting Lestat's and Louis lives. A Russian religious boy is kidnapped and taken to Italy, where he is sold as a slave on a whorehouse of Venice. There he is called Amadeo and later is saved from death by the painter Marius, who makes him a vampire and is later on betrayed by Amadeo (Armand).
In this book Anne Rice brings together the vampires and the Mayfair witches of the Lasher series. We meet again Louis, Lestat and David. They are followed by the beautiful witch Merrick, who knew David when he was a mortal Talamasca man.
Vittorio, the Vampire
Not really related to the vampire chronicles classic characters, this books tells the tale of a young Italian nobleman who is abducted by a vampire coven in the middle of rural Italy.
Blood and Gold
This book is the life story of Marius, made a vampire by the celts before the fall of the Roman Empire. He had many lovers and produced many paintings during his travels on Europe and the East. Marius was the protector of Enkil and Akasha, until they are awakened by Lestat's rock music on the 20th century.