First edition cover
|Cover artist||Cumaean Sibyl by Domenichino|
|Series||The Vampire Chronicles|
The Mayfair Witches
|Published||October 28, 2003|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|LC Class||PS3568.I265 B63 2003|
|Preceded by||Blackwood Farm|
|Followed by||Prince Lestat|
Blood Canticle is a 2003 horror novel by American writer Anne Rice, which incorporates the new characters from her novel Blackwood Farm with those from her previous Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches series. The novel was originally intended to conclude the saga of Rice's famed vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, but in March 2014 she announced a sequel titled Prince Lestat.
Narrated by Lestat, Blood Canticle finds young Mayfair witch and heiress Mona wasting away, victim to a mysterious disease brought on by the birth of her daughter. As the novel plays out, Mona and her guardian, Rowan Mayfair, reveal more and more about the powerful genetic plague that has haunted the Mayfairs for generations: their connection to the Taltos, an advanced species of human to which both women have given birth. Mona and the young vampire Tarquin "Quinn" Blackwood are in love. Lestat turns a dying Mona into a vampire so that the lovers can be together forever, also knowing that if Quinn had done it himself, he and Mona could not have delighted in sharing their most intimate thoughts as most vampires are capable of doing. It is an oft-articulated rule within Rice's Vampire Chronicles that "Fledgling" vampires and their "Makers" are forever unable to read each other's minds.
While trying to prevent Mona's family from discovering her transformation, Lestat falls in love with Rowan; secretly, she pines for him as well. As Mona adjusts to her new power, Lestat enlists the ancient vampire Maharet to help find Mona's Taltos child. Lestat, Quinn and Mona arrive at the remote island colony of the Taltos, but instead of finding a secluded utopia they discover that years of criminal intrigue and civil war have taken their toll. The remaining Taltos join the Mayfair clan at their New Orleans Mayfair Medical Center where they safely learn and grow and be together as a family.
Mona and Quinn are taken by Khayman to be properly instructed in the ways of vampirism by Maharet and Mekare. Rowan seeks out Lestat, half in love with him but torn by her love for her husband Michael; exhausted by her life, she requests that he give her the Dark Gift. Lestat declines, pained though he is, because she is a guiding force for the Mayfair family and he cannot take her away from it.
After Blood Canticle received many "virulently negative reviews" from readers on Amazon.com, Rice responded on the site with "a blistering 1,200-word defense" of the novel. Compelled to speak out because many of the postings included personal attacks on her writing ability, health and state of mind since her husband's 2002 death, Rice added that she had received many emails of support from fellow writers who had also felt "savaged and trashed" by Amazon.com reviews.
- Wheat, Alynda (October 31, 2003). "Book Capsule Review: Blood Canticle (2003)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- Flood, Alison (March 11, 2014). "Anne Rice revives much-loved vampire for new novel Prince Lestat". The Guardian. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- Kellogg, Carolyn (March 10, 2014). "Anne Rice brings back her vampire antihero with Prince Lestat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
- Lyall, Sarah (October 14, 2004). "Fan power takes on new meaning". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on March 3, 2009. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
- Husband, Stuart (November 2, 2008). "Anne Rice: interview with the vampire writer". The Telegraph. Retrieved August 10, 2014.