THE MUMMY or Ramses the Damned

Here, Rice varies the seasoning for her famous dish: the damnation of immortality. Her new tale, a kind of B-picture novel, is a cross between Karloff's The Mummy, a comic strip, and a gothic romance. Rather than the cloth-of-purple-velvet of the first Lestate novel (Interview with a Vampire), Rice herein spools out gauzy underwriting whose thinness just bastes her story to the page. The virgin heroine is Julie Stratford, the sought-after daughter of a retired shipping magnate who has taken up his hobby full-time: Egyptology. On page one her father discovers the cursed tomb of Ramses the Second—who somehow has been entombed in a site inscribed with Roman and Greek and Egyptian hieroglyphs from the period of Cleopatra—a thousand years after the death of Ramses! Indeed, Ramses, who mastered the elixir of immortality, would return to life from time to time to help out a bewildered Pharaoh when Egypt was in trouble. Unfortunately, he fell for Cleopatra, but she only wanted him to grant immortality to Antony. Now Julie's father is murdered by her besotted rotter of a cousin, who uses a poison from the tomb, and Julie becomes independently wealthy. She takes Ramses' casket (on its way to the British Museum) to her fancy London home—where Ramses springs back to health to save Julie from her murderous cousin. Ramses is superhumanly intelligent, strong, royal, and indestructible, and Rice dangles Julie's virginity under his nose for better than half the book. Ramses' adventures in 1930's London are fairly amusing, as is his return to Cairo. When Ramses recovers the body of Cleopatra from Nile mud and gives her corpse the elixir, he awakens a monster who is nonetheless Julie's chief rival (Julie and Cleo meet in the powder room at the opera). Should Julie drink the awful elixir and join Ramses in the damnation of immortality? There is no question about Rice losing any fans with this lightsome, almost chirpily horrorless horror romance: she won't. Meanwhile, more adventures of Ramses are planned.

Pub Date: June 1, 1989

ISBN: 0345369947

Page Count: -

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1989

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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