Blood Communion

Anne Rice. Knopf, $27.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3264-6

A furious battle with an implacable enemy of the vampire Lestat energizes the plot of this new episode in Rice’s sprawling Vampire Chronicles. Upon returning to his court in France, vampire Prince Lestat is informed that the ancient vampire Rhoshamandes, bound by a truce forged following his murder of the vampire matriarch Maharet, is once again antagonizing members of the vampire hierarchy. When Rhoshamandes begins picking off members of the court one by one to avenge the death of his lover, the stage is set for a grisly final face-off between him and Lestat. As in Rice’s previous books, this story is distinguished by the sensuality with which she describes her vampires and their way of life. This installment stands out in particular for showing the transformation of Lestat, over time, from the brash “Brat Prince” to a lover and protector of those whom he now thinks of as “my people, my tribe, my family.” Fans old and new will find this book an effusive celebration of a saga now more than 40 years in the making. Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit. (Oct.)