RAMSES THE DAMNED by Anne Rice

RAMSES THE DAMNED

The Passion Of Cleopatra
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An ageless Egyptian pharaoh and his band of immortal friends (and enemies) descend on England on the eve of the Great War in a sequel co-authored by mother and son Rices.

In Anne Rice’s The Mummy (1989), Ramses II, known as the Great, whose long reign ended in the 13th century B.C.E., was resurrected in 1914 by English shipping magnate and archaeology dilettante Lawrence Stratford—or, more accurately, reawakened. After ingesting a special elixir, Ramses had become immortal. The earmarks of immortality include insatiable hunger (without gaining weight), capacity for alcohol (sans drunkenness, addiction, and/or liver damage), inexhaustible sexual prowess, and physical invulnerability. Not to mention that it turns your eyes blue. Occasionally, even immortals need a rest, so they secret themselves in a dark place, a pharaoh’s tomb, say, and wait for sunlight to rouse them again. Now the toast of London as Reginald Ramsey, Egyptologist, Ramses has shared the forever potion with his beloved, Julie, daughter and only heir of his now deceased discoverer. Elsewhere, assorted characters of varying longevity are slouching toward a stately home where Julie’s former fiance (no hard feelings), Alex, is hosting an engagement party for Julie and "Ramsey." Cleopatra, whose mummified remains, on display in the Cairo Museum, Ramses had revivified with a few drops of the elixir, is understandably perplexed, being the only immortal raised from actual death. Bektaten, monarch of an ancient African civilization, invented the elixir; she’s after Ramses because she suspects he stole the formula. Seeking the pure blend, not the bowdlerized version they ingested, are the fracti, hangers-on of Bektaten’s archenemy Saqnos, who live only 200 years and hope to extend their sell-by date. Complicated? Definitely, as is the plot to kidnap Julie at the party and the mind-meld that enmeshes Cleopatra and Sibyl Parker, a successful American writer of Egypt-themed pulp fiction. Once the party is in progress, the clashing immortals generate a modicum of excitement, though not enough to justify the copious expository front-loading and preachy dialogue.

Despite its perks, immortality can, apparently, be a bore.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-101-97032-4
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Anchor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2017




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