The gilded adventures of Ramses the Damned, iconic creation of the legendary Anne Rice, continue in this breathtakingly suspenseful tale of a titanic supernatural power unleashed on the eve of war.
A pharaoh made immortal by a mysterious and powerful elixir, Ramses the Great became counselor and lover to some of Egypt’s greatest and most powerful rulers before he was awakened from centuries of slumber to the mystifying and dazzling world of Edwardian England. Having vanquished foes both human and supernatural, he’s found love with the beautiful heiress Julie Stratford, daughter of Lawrence Stratford, the slain archeologist who discovered his tomb. Now, with the outbreak of a world war looming, Ramses and those immortals brought forth from the mists of history by his resurrection will face their greatest test yet.
Russian assassins bearing weapons of immense power have assembled under one command: all those who loved Lawrence Stratford must die. From the glowing jewels at their necks comes an incredible supernatural force: the power to bring statues to life. As Ramses and his allies, including the immortal queens Cleopatra and Bektaten, gather together to battle these threats, Ramses reveals that the great weapon may have roots in an ancient Egyptian ritual designed to render pharaohs humble before Osiris, the god of the underworld. The resulting journey will take them across storm-tossed seas and into the forests of northern Russia, where they will confront a terrifying collision of tortured political ambitions and religious fervor held in thrall to a Godlike power. But the true answers they seek will lie beyond the border between life and death, within realms that defy the imagination of even an immortal such as Ramses the Great.
I am both stunned by the beauty of this novel and also heartbroken that it is published posthumously for Anne Rice. I am certain Christopher Rice will carry on the series but in my heart it will not be the same but I am glad I had the opportunity to read this second in the Ramses the Damned series.
It is simply superb. I remember the original, “The Mummy” and this novel not only carries forward the story but is infused with all the originality and expressiveness as that first book. It is a delight revisiting the old characters and a joy meeting the new characters. Ramses or Ramsey is as elegant and powerful a character with Julie his equal. I found Alexander, Cleopatra and the rest equally engaging, each with their own place in the story and their own voice. It follows directly on the footsteps of the last novel and does not leave out a single character from “The Passion of Cleopatra”.
As much as the characters is how the plot sweeps you up, the narrative occasionally switching viewpoints but only to add additional insight into the story and the characters. Those changes are easy to follow and only serve to make the novel even more engaging. The language is a pleasure to read and the way mortality and the afterlife is explored is unique. Anne and Christopher Rice use Egyptian religion and spirituality to explore how the soul survives and what it might mean if we could live forever. Is immortality a curse or a blessing? It is up to the reader to decide. I also think the unique form of immortality, so different from vampirism is what pulls me into the story and keeps me coming back for more. It is unique and the beauty of the novel is moving.
If you love any of the other works of Anne and Christopher Rice, especially “The Mummy” or “The Passion of Cleopatra”, I would recommend this book. I especially am glad I got the chance to read Anne’s words in what might be her last novel. If you want a change from her vampires, these are the novels that truly change up that dynamic and are unique. Yet, the characters and plot explore many of the same questions so if you like the Vampire novels, you will most likely love this as well.
Rating: 5 out 5 immortals.