Wednesday, October 26, 2005


The Gospel According to Anne Rice

That's right folks, I said it. The Gospel according to the queen of the occult! According to Newsweek she has taken some time off from writing her Vampire novels due to some illnesses that included a diabetic coma, surgery for an intestinal blockage, and the death of her husband due to a brain tumor. Apparently, during her time off she has returned to the Catholic Church, which she had left at the age of 18.

So, what is next for Anne?
"You may not want what I'm doing next."

Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will publish "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt," a novel about the 7-year-old Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. "I promised," she says, "that from now on I would write only for the Lord."

To write the books, there are three already lined up, she dug into the New Testament as well as other historical documents.

She can cite scholarly authority for giving her Christ a birth date of 11 B.C., and for making James, his disciple, the son of Joseph by a previous marriage. But she's also taken liberties where they don't explicitly conflict with Scripture. No one reports that the young Jesus studied with the historian Philo of Alexandria, as the novel has it—or that Jesus' family was in Alexandria at all. And she's used legends of the boy Messiah's miracles from the noncanonical Apocrypha: bringing clay birds to life, striking a bully dead and resurrecting him.

Rice's most daring move, though, is to try to get inside the head of a 7-year-old kid who's intermittently aware that he's also God Almighty. "There were times when I thought I couldn't do it," she admits. The advance notices say she's pulled it off: Kirkus Reviews' starred rave pronounces her Jesus "fully believable."
Yet in the novel's best scene, a dream in which Jesus meets a bewitchingly handsome Satan—smiling, then weeping, then raging—Rice shows she still has her great gift: to imbue Gothic chills with moral complexity and heartfelt sorrow.

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