The Vampire Armand (The Vampire Chronicles 6) by Anne Rice
The story begins in the aftermath of Memnoch the Devil. Vampires from all over the globe have gathered around Lestat, who lies prostrate on the floor of a cathedral. Dead? In a coma? As Armand reflects on Lestat’s condition, he is drawn by David Talbot to tell the story of his own life. The narrative abruptly rushes back to 15th-century Constantinople, and the Armand of the present recounts the fragmented memories of his childhood abduction from Kiev. Eventually, he is sold to a Venetian artist (and vampire), Marius. Rice revels in descriptions of the sensual relationship between the young and still-mortal Armand and his vampiric mentor. But when Armand is finally transformed, the tone of the book dramatically shifts. Raw and sexually explicit scenes are displaced by Armand’s introspective quest for a union of his Russian Orthodox childhood, his hedonistic life with Marius, and his newly acquired immortality. These final chapters remind one of the archetypal significance of Rice’s vampires; at their best, Armand, Lestat, and Marius offer keen insights into the most human of concerns. (Goodreads)
Lestat lies in a coma-like sleep in a chapel and while vampires gathers around him, Armand tells his story to David Talbot, Lestat’s former Talamascan fledgling. Armand takes us with him through his childhood in Kiev; from where he is kidnapped and sold to slavery, to Venice where Marius saves him and eventually gives the dark gift and to Paris where he led his Satanic Vampire cult.
Maybe I should start this telling that this was 4th or 5th time reading this and yep, I still love it! Armand’s always been my favourite so it’s no surprise I love this.
It’s been over 8 years since I’ve last read this, and long before I had even heard about blogs etc., so it was interesting to read it again. And it seems my book taste hasn’t changed since I was 15… And oh why it’s so hard to write about books you loved!
When Armand lived in Kiev as a child he painted beautiful icons and was meant to join the monks so he had pretty religious upbringing, which shows through his life and is constant theme through the book.
I’ve always loved the chapter where Marius takes Armand back to Kiev after turning him. He could let the past go little after meeting his family and his father who was such a huge presence in his life.
They didn’t have that many years together with Marius but it was a big part of his life when he was loved and (relatively) safe. And I was dreading to reach the part where it would all be ruined!
It’s been told in previous books that he was the leader of the vampire cult that imprisoned Lestat but now we see how he became part of it.
You can see the growing theme with Christianity on Rice’s books here and while I’m not even remotely religious it didn’t bother me. I love the writing style and the descriptive writing but that may not be to everyone’s liking.
Published: Arrow (1999)
Source: my own