The Vampire Chronicles continue with Anne Rice's spellbinding new novel, in which the great vampire Marius returns. The golden-haired Marius, true Child of the Millennia, once mentor to The Vampire Lestat, always and forever the conscientious foe of the Evil Doer, reveals in his own intense yet inti- mate voice the secrets of his two-thousand-year existence. Once a proud Senator in Imperial Rome, kidnapped and made a
Alfred A Knopf
1 His name was Thorne. In the ancient language of the runes, it had been longer-Thornevald. But when he became a blood drinker, his name had been changed to Thorne. And Thorne he remained now, centuries later, as he lay in his cave in the ice, dreaming. When he had first come to the frozen land, he had hoped he would sleep eternally. But now and then the thirst for blood awakened him, and using the Cloud Gift, he rose into the air, and went in search of the Snow Hunters. He fed off them, careful never to take too much blood from any one so that none died on account of him. And when he needed furs and boots he took them as well, and returned to his hiding place. These Snow Hunters were not his people. They were dark of skin and had slanted eyes, and they spoke a different tongue, but he had known them in the olden times when he had traveled with his uncle into the land to the East for trading. He had not liked trading. He had preferred war. But he'd learnt many things on those adventures. In his sleep in the North, he dreamed. He could not help it. The Mind Gift let him hear the voices of other blood drinkers. Unwillingly he saw through their eyes, and beheld the world as they beheld it. Sometimes he didn't mind. He liked it. Modern things amused him. He listened to far-away electric songs. With the Mind Gift he understood such things as steam engines and railroads; he even understood computers and automobiles. He felt he knew the cities he had left behind though it had been centuries since he'd forsaken them. An awareness had come over him that he wasn't going to die. Loneliness in itself could not destroy him. Neglect was insufficient. And so he slept. Then a strange thing happened. A catastrophe befell the world of the blood drinkers. A young singer of sagas had come. His name was Lestat, and in his electric songs, Lestat broadcast old secrets, secrets which Thorne had never known. Then a Queen had risen, an evil and ambitious being. She had claimed to have within her the Sacred Core of all blood drinkers, so that, should she die, all the race would perish with her. Thorne had been amazed. He had never heard these myths of his own kind. He did not know that he believed this thing. But as he slept, as he dreamt, as he watched, this Queen began, with the Fire Gift, to destroy blood drinkers everywhere throughout the world. Thorne heard their cries as they tried to escape; he saw their deaths in so far as others saw such things. As she roamed the earth, this Queen came close to Thorne but she passed over him. He was secretive and quiet in his cave. Perhaps she didn't sense his presence. But he had sensed hers and never had he encountered such age or strength except from the blood drinker who had given him the Blood. And he found himself thinking of that one, the Maker, the red-haired witch with the bleeding eyes. The catastrophe among his kind grew worse. More were slain; and out of hiding there came blood drinkers as old as the Queen herself, and Thorne saw these beings. At last there came the red-haired one who had made him. He saw her as others saw her. And at first he could not believe that she still lived; it had been so long since he'd left her in the Far South that he hadn't dared to hope she was still alive. The eyes and ears of other blood drinkers gave him the infallible proof. And when he looked on her in his dreams, he was overwhelmed with a tender feeling and a rage. She thrived, this creature who had given him the Blood, and she despised the Evil Queen and she wanted to stop her. Theirs was a hatred for each other which went back thousands of years. At last there was a coming together of these beings-old ones from the First Brood of blood drinkers, and other
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