In 1976, Anne Rice published Interview with the Vampire, and the world met Lestat for the first time. Ironically, Lestat is not the hero of this tale as he is the other books in this series. This is the story of Louis, how he became a vampire, and how he progressed through time in a vampire world. Lestat is portrayed as the antagonist in this tale. The reader is left hating Lestat and the evil that he shows to Louis.
The book begins when Louis takes a newspaper reporter aside and begins telling him a fascinating story about how he became a vampire. The Reporter is convinced that he is lying but decides to listen to the story anyway.
Louis begins his story in New Orleans, where Louis lives on a large plantation. After the death of his wife and child, Louis falls into a dark depression. He begins to seek death by hanging out in dark places. One night, Lestat finds him and gives him a choice “that he never had”. When Louis chooses life over death, Lestat turns him into a vampire.
Lestat moves his aging father into the plantation house. Lestat and Louis set out to explore the nigh live of New Orleans. Rice continues to cast Lestat in the role of heartless and uncaring villain. Louis is portrayed as the reserved, caring being. Louis is truly the hero of this story.
Lestat leads Louis through the streets of New Orleans, teaching him to hunt and feed on the criminals and the evil of the city. Louis becomes more and more distant and aloof. Lestat fears that Louis will leave. Eventually, Louis finds a small girl crying over the body of her mother who has died from the plague. Louis is overcome with hunger and drinks form the child. Lestat finds Louis with Claudia, the child, dying in his arms. Lestat gives Claudia his blood, making her a vampire. Now, the two have become a family of three.
The three vampires continue to hunt the streets of New Orleans. Claudia is a viscous killer trapped in the body of a child. She forms an alliance with Louis and the two begin plotting to kill Lestat. They poison Lestat and set the town house that they live in on fire. They leave Lestat for dead and make their escape to Europe in hopes of finding the other vampires.
Claudia and Louis travel through Europe with very little luck at finding other vampires like them. Most of what they find are more animal that human acting. They did not find any other vampires like them. They become sure that they killed the only other vampire like their self and he took all his secrets to the grave with him. Finally, they end up in Paris ,France and stumble upon the Theater des Vampires lead by the vampire Armand.
Armand decides he wants Louis as a companion but Louis is loyal to Claudia. In the end, Lestat returns and the vampires from the theatre kill Claudia for her part in trying to kill Lestat. Louis is devastated by the death of Claudia as revenge he locks all the vampires in the theatre and sets the place on fire. He watches the place burn to the ground then leaves Paris.
Louis continues to travel through Europe and explore the world. He finally ends up in New Orleans again. He stumbles upon a broken, aged Lestat. Lestat begs Louis to come back to him so that they can continue through the world but Louis refuses. Louis still blames Lestat for the death of Claudia and he wants nothing to do with him. He leaves Lestat at the old, falling down house eating rats and vermin. Louis continues on his way.
The entire story is portrayed as if Louis was relating his life story to a newspaper reporter. In the end, the reporter wished to become a vampire. Louis bit the reporter then leaves him lying there to show him that being a vampire was not something that the reporter really wanted.
Why is Lestat so evil? Why didn’t Lestat die in the fire in New Orleans? Who made Lestat? What was his connection with the Paris Vampires? These were just a few of the questions that I had while reading this book. However, this was just the first book in the series of stories featuring Lestat, Louis , and the other vampires. To fully understand, one has to continue on with the adventure.
Thanks, Judy, for sharing this book with us. In many ways, this book can be considered the beginning of the current popular culture fascination with vampires, and certainly Anne Rice is considered the Queen of the Undead. Happy Reading!