Anne Rice is bringing back Ramses the Damned in her latest novel ‘Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra’ only this time her son Christopher has been on board as the co-author. It is their first novel working together on a project and picks up where the last installment left off in 1914 as Dr. Reginald Ramsey is working in London. We quickly learn that his ex-lover Cleopatra is still alive and is working to bring him down. The stakes are high though as the pair are working against one another to find discover “the secret of the Elixir of Life.” If things couldn’t get worse, they come across another immortal. A queen who is older than both of them and has knowledge and power beyond their means. Including knowledge of the potion which gave them both their immortality.
While many fans might prefer updates on where the Rice family currently is in pre-production of their ‘Vampire Chronicles‘ television series, this is great news for fans of her other work that have been dying for a new installment.
As a bonus, thanks to EW, we also have a pretty extensive excerpt from the novel which you can read right here:
How can I bear this burden any longer? How can I endure the loneliness anymore? Yet I can not die. Her poisons can not harm me. They keep my elixir safe so that I may dream of still other Queens, both fair and wise, to share the centuries with me.
“We are being followed, my queen.”
She had not been a queen for centuries, but her two loyal servants still referred to her as such. Both men flanked her now as they approached the great stone city of Jericho on foot.
They were the only members of her royal guard who had refused to take part in an insurrection against her. Now, thousands of years after freeing her from the tomb in which she’d been placed by her traitorous prime minister, these former warriors for a lost kingdom remained her constant companions and protectors.
It was their companionship that mattered most. She knew a loneliness which you could never fully describe to another being, a loneliness she had long accepted but she feared might one day destroy her.
There was very little else from which she needed to be protected. She was immortal, and so were they.
“Continue to walk,” she commanded quietly. “Do not pause.”
Her men obeyed. They were close enough to the city to smell the spices coming from the market just beyond the stone walls.
She towered over most people, but her servants were both taller than she by almost half. To her right walked Enamon, with his proud but bent nose, broken in an ancient battle between tribes who had long since died out. Aktamu was on her left, his round, boyish face out of place atop his lean, muscular body. They hailed from no specific lands; immortality had made the world their home. But today they dressed as traders from Kush, in skirts of leopard skin that shifted over their long legs, with broad golden sashes stretched over their bare, muscular chests. Her swaddling of blue robes allowed her slender arms to move free. The walking stick she used was a show for mortals. She did not tire or require rest as they did.
The road before and behind was clear of wagons in this moment, and so it was no surprise the three of them had drawn notice from someone outside the city gates, and yet to hear Enamon tell it, this attention was sustained, and suspiciously so.
When Bektaten looked back over one shoulder, she saw the spy.
His skin was a few shades lighter than her own, the same color as those who inhabited the city ahead. He stood a good distance up the barren hillside off to their left, swaddled in robes and latticed by the frail shade from an olive tree. He made no attempt to conceal himself. His stance and position were a warning, a threat of some sort. And his eyes, they were as blue as those of the men with whom she’d traveled for centuries.
They were as blue as her own.
They were eyes changed by the elixir she had discovered thousands of years before. A discovery that had caused her kingdom’s fall.
Is it him? Is it Saqnos?
The memories of her prime minister’s betrayal would never fade, no matter how long she walked the earth. The raid he’d staged upon her quarters with members of her own guard. His demands that she hand over the formula she had discovered quite by accident, the one that had allowed a flock of birds to fly above the palace in endless circles without ever tiring.
Saqnos, handsome, thoughtful Saqnos. She had never seen anything like the transformation that had overtaken him all those centuries ago. And it had only worsened when he saw her eyes, once brown, had turned startlingly blue.
That there was a substance on this earth that could abolish death, and that she had consumed it without consulting him, these facts had driven him mad with a thirst for power.
If he had simply asked for it, if he had not betrayed her, would she have handed it over without question?
There was no telling now.
With the spears of her own men raised against her, she had refused.
Despite the great strength afforded by her transformation, the royal guard numbered enough men to overpower her. They dragged her to the rock tomb Saqnos had already prepared. And during this humiliation, the architect of her fall raided her quarters and even her private work chamber for every vial of the elixir he could find. Immediately he distributed them to his soldiers. But he did not find the precious formula itself, for she had taken care to scatter the ingredients among her other tonics and powders.
It was then that his plan went to ruin.
Clearly, they are able to capture the same feeling from the previous work while writing together. Now to see if they’ll be able to weave the same magic throughout the entire novel though I suspect fans are going to be quite pleased with this installment.
Are you looking forward to Anne Rice returning to Ramses? Excited to see what collaborating with her son will have produced? Share your thoughts below!
‘Ramses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra’ will be available for purchase Nov. 21.
Stuart Conover is an author, blogger, and all around geek. When not busy being a father and husband he tries to spend as much time as possible immersed in comic books, science fiction, and horror! Would you like to know more? Follow him on Twitter!