Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches are back (after Lasher, 1993), this time to help a lovelorn mystical being overcome a curse. Ashlar lives high above Manhattan, where he runs his hugely successful doll company. Ash is one of the Taitos, a race of tall, superintelligent, humanlike beings whose existence predates Western civilization. Ash unintentionally sold his race down the pike in a bloody and ill-fated attempt to embrace Christianity back in the sixth century, and he has since roamed the earth, doomed by his martyred lover's curse that he shall live forever loveless. Meanwhile, down in New Orleans, the Mayfair clan is still recovering from the unpleasantness chronicled in the last book, in which Lasher (who, it turns out, was a malevolent Taitos) raped Rowan Mayfair and almost killed her. Further complicating things is the pregnancy of nubile young cousin Mona, knocked up by Rowan's husband, Michael. But Rowan, being a Mayfair, shrugs off this latest incestuous episode and embarks with her hubby on an adventure in Europe to discover the root of the recent tumult. There they meet Ash, who is trying to find a fertile soul mate and put the Taltos house back in order. During their absence, Mona, after a gestation period of two weeks, gives birth to Morrigan, a Taltos born of recessive genes who walks out of the womb looking like Ann-Margret and possessing that famous Taltos intelligence. Seeing Mona's attachment to the apparently good Morrigan, Michael and Rowan reluctantly let this one live, hopefully to love, mate, and produce more...sequels. Like much of Rice's work, this is a beautifully written, if somewhat overwrought, story in which the action takes a good 150 pages or so to really start to hum. Still, this third (of a promised two, for those keeping count) Mayfair Witches novel clocks in at a "trim" 480 pages, which qualifies this as minute-Rice, certain to be hungrily devoured by her legions of fans.