June 23, 2011

The Lives of the Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice

An ancient spirit. A family of witches. Incest & intrigue. Anne Rice & New Orleans.

The saga starts with Suzanne Mayfair, the first in the long line of witches, summoning an ancient spirit, Lasher in Donnelaith, Scotland before being burned at the stake. Lasher promised to watch over her line in exchange for them helping him eventually turn to flesh again. Lasher believed that the Mayfairs are strong enough to do this with the hopes of eventually bringing his offspring into the world.

We follow the female line of Suzanne Mayfair and how they eventually became one of the most prominent and wealthy family in New Orleans. But their bloodline is spiced with murder, deception, seduction, rape & incest, and intrigue done with Lasher's ministration and manipulation. The Witching Hour provides the very exciting history of this indomitable family, they are not your usual type of witches armed with wands and spells. Their "witchcraft" is in the form of telekinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, supreme cunning and intelligence to name a few. 

In Lasher, the spirit finally became flesh after centuries of waiting with the help of Rowan Mayfair. Anne Rice weaves a story about an ancient line of people called the Taltos that lived in Donnelaith, Scotland. They would breed, give birth and grow to full adulthood in a matter of hours. When the Romans came, they ravaged their village, copulate with them but failed, causing their females to die or give birth to dwarves. Lasher believed that he is the spirit of St. Ashlar, the last King of the Taltos who converted to Christianity and had everyone who did not turn to the true faith get burned at the stake including his wife.

The series closes with Taltos. We meet the real Ashlar, now a toy mogul who lives in New York. He hears that there have been sightings of other Taltos until he met with Rowan Mayfair who also gave birth to another Taltos by Lasher. If you're familiar with her other series, The Vampire Chronicles, you'll read about the Talamasca, David Talbot and Mona Mayfair pre-vampirism. The story concludes with Ashlar running off with another Taltos from the Mayfair line to Scotland where they presumably lived happily ever after.

This is old school Anne Rice. The series has some very straightforward steamy scenes that can sometimes make your head spin leaving you saying "Say what now?" classic Anne indeed. Rice is such an amazing writer, I often feel like I'm being taken on a tour in the streets of New Orleans from the Garden District down to the French Quarter. She's able to capture the eras that she writes about, I almost feel like I'm watching the scene instead of reading it. These books are very good reminders why she's one of the most beloved postmodern writer in the paranormal, goth and erotic genre.

I believe that one of the reasons why her writing is so provocative pre- return to Catholicism is because she takes on issues that are considered taboo. Like for example, in Mayfair Witches, incest and murder are some of the subtexts that color the series. At times one would feel like it was written without a hint of conscience, the deviousness were considered "necessary evils" as a means to a desired end. Justified. Matter-of-fact. She writes about these things in a very direct way, challenging our fragile moral gauge, but still we tread on, we read until the story ends leaving us wanting for more.

Ms. Rice, I understand that you went back to the Catholic faith and there's nothing wrong with that. We all need to believe in a power greater than us. However, I hope that you can dig up your alter-ego from the grave and write more stories like this. The world is in need of hardcore paranormal stuff. We need a trend-setter that sets the bar higher. A piece that not just entertains but provokes our fickle tastes and dexterous minds. Something that will prompt us to DEMAND something great and not settle for ordinary books that are just riding the wave.


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