When Anne Rice fans are asked which of her books they feel most passionate about — whether positively or negatively — the answer is almost invariable: Memnoch the Devil. Acting as a bit of a precursor to Rice’s Christian fiction novels of the mid-00s, this book is tonally out of step with the previous Vampire Chronicles (save for, perhaps, Interview With the Vampire, as this too has the ‘feel’ of an interview in spots) And seems to be cause for great joy, and disgust, in many readers.
Lestat wants to know the will of God, and the Devil: what are their purposes for him? Which does he serve? What is Heaven, what is Hell, what is the true story of creation, where and why is purgatory? These questions and more Memnoch, Lestat’s guide of the spiritual regions, are answered. This one is steeped in biblical and evolutionary history; I found it fascinating but can understand those who can’t get on with this book.
Perhaps more than anything, this novel is remembered for the infamous scene in which Lestat feeds on the bleeding crucified Christ. That moment, I think, sums up this book well. This certainly isn’t for all readers, but I had a great time. This book offered up questions I often find myself pondering and will continue pondering for time to come. The idea of an imperfect, foolish God and a tricky, boastful, but generally well-natured Devil (or Memnoch) is intriguing . . . not to mention the concept of what Hell really is. But I won’t spoil that!
I’m totally addicted to this series now and am blowing through the books. I don’t want it to end.