Blood Communion is the fifteenth book in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles series. By this point in the series, Lestat has been proclaimed prince of the vampires and established a court in his father’s chateau in France. Most of the vampires are delighted by this situation and they come to pay him homage and even to live at court, but there are still a few renegade vampires who want nothing to do with the court.
The book begins with Lestat saying he is writing to the Blood Communion—the communion of blood drinkers. He reminds us that he wrote his previous books to document his and the other vampires’ stories, and also he writes again now because many vampire fledglings were not even born when he wrote his first books. As I read this, I thought how this book might be called The Gospel of Lestat because he is writing down his life story of how he has basically saved the vampires, all the years that he preserved Amel being included in them, Amel being the life source creature that allowed the blood drinkers to exist and which was present in Lestat for a while until it received its own body.
Blood Communion continually repeats what has happened in previous books to remind the reader of past events, but frankly, by this point, so many vampires are in the storyline that many of them I couldn’t remember at all. The number of characters and references to past events has become overwhelming, and I feel like the book needs a character list. Maybe an entire Who’s Who in the Vampire Chronicles volume is needed now.
The book is only 256 pages, and there are even a few pictures that take up some of that space. It is perhaps the shortest of the Vampire Chronicles, and not a lot happens in it, especially if one were to weed out all the flowery descriptive language Rice uses.
The only real plot is that the vampire Roshamandes is threatening the Court and the vampires want Lestat to destroy him. Before Lestat can act, Roshamandes attacks and kidnaps three vampires whom it is believed he kills. To make peace, Lestat agrees to be captured by Roshamandes (Spoiler Alert here). Lestat goes with Roshamandes, but before Roshamandes can hurt him, Lestat manages to fight him, eats his eyes, and destroys him with fire. The book goes on for another hundred pages after this, but that is the only moment of real action in it.
The remainder of the book is about preparing for a great ball that takes place in which the vampires come to pay Lestat homage, kissing his ring which depicts Medusa’s head on it. (Why a Medusa ring I don’t know. The symbolism, if any, was lost on me.)
At the end, the main purpose is summed up in Marius praising Lestat for giving his life for the Court by sacrificing himself in his battle with Roshamandes. The sense here is that Lestat is a type of Christ figure, willing to give his life for his friends. Now that the threats to the Court have been destroyed, Lestat has allowed his tribe to put aside hate and embrace each other. This reads like Lestat has conquered sin and allowed love to come into the world. Consequently, it is not surprising that Lestat is writing this book—it is his gospel about how all vampires can live in harmony—his preaching of love just as Christ preached love.
I admit the book falls a bit flat in its lack of any real storyline, but the depiction of Lestat as a Christ figure (Rice never comes right out and says Lestat is the Christ figure of the vampires, although it’s implied) is in keeping with Rice’s previous books. Its emphasis makes one feel like the story has finally come to a conclusion with peace and harmony among all the vampires. That said, Rice has not officially said this will be the last book, and knowing her, she will come up with more, but Blood Communion would work as a good finale to the series, which has, frankly, gone on long enough.
Tyler Tichelaar, PhD, is the author of King Arthur’s Children: A Study in Fiction and Tradition, The Gothic Wanderer: From Transgression to Redemption, The Children of Arthur novel series, and Haunted Marquette: Ghost Stories from the Queen City. Visit Tyler at www.ChildrenofArthur.com and www.GothicWanderer.com.