Four new novels land on the charts from veteran players, including R.A. Salvatore's second book in the Hunter's Blades Trilogy, The Lone Drow, published by Wizards of the Coast. The first installment, The Thousand Orcs, spent two weeks on our list last October.

Two of the new arrivals are from Knopf. Anne Rice's 25th book, Blood Canticle, was a natural for October 31, as it continues her exceptionally successful Vampire Chronicles series. A second printing (16,000 copies) has already been ordered to supplement the book's 300,000 initial run, and Rice has been very visible on TV, radio and in print.

Excellent reviews, including a starred one in PW ("a gorgeous stately novel"), paved the way for Nobel laureate Toni Morrison's Love, launched with a 400,000-copy printing.

That was the same figure that launched Robert Ludlum's The Tristan Betrayal, the seventh book published under his name since his death in March 2001. Don't know how many more Ludlums St. Martin's has up its sleeve, but the author's posthumous oeuvre is close to matching the after-death output of L. Ron Hubbard and V.C. Andrews.

—With reporting by Dick Donahue