The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice

The Mummy by Anne Rice(Cover picture courtesy of The Towering Pile.)

Ramses the Great lives…

Reawakened in opulent Edwardian London, he becomes Dr. Ramsey, expert in Egyptology and member of a group of jaded aristocrats with strange appetites to appease.  But searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, burn in his immortal soul.  For he has drunk the elixir of life and is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied.  And his most intense longing of all, a great love undiminished by the centuries, will force him to commit an act of unspeakable horror….

I’ve read a lot of Anne Rice’s books, but The Mummy is my absolute favourite, no question about it.  It has the perfect mix of tragedy, romance, history and emotion that Anne Rice pulls off so well, without any extra flab added to the story.  Compared to her other novels, The Mummy is incredibly short, with my version only being 398 pages.  Believe me, they read fast!

Maybe I’m a bit biased because I’ve always loved ancient Egypt and have been fascinated by Ramses the Great.  I’m not necessarily an admirer of him, but he does play a significant role in history and did have an interesting life.  Well, Anne Rice brings him to life in The Mummy and he is as charming, well-spoken and lecherous as one would expect.  But he also has a soft side, which is what makes it so easy for Julie and readers to fall in love with him.  Julie herself has a few too many modern sensibilities for the era, but she is an interesting character because she is so strong.  She’s the perfect match for Ramses.

Anne Rice showcases exactly what it is that makes people want to devote their entire lives to the study of Egyptology.  If you haven’t fallen in love with Egypt by the time you finish The Mummy, you likely never will.  I didn’t even catch any glaring historical inaccuracies.  Sure, some things were changed around if you believe in the traditional Cleopatra story, but Anne Rice presents a compelling alternative that makes sense in the context of the story.  Her vivid descriptions reveal the passion she has for ancient Egypt and that enthusiasm continues throughout the entire novel.

Her later Vampire Chronicles works seemed to lack heart, but The Mummy certainly does not.  It’s fresh, a fitting retelling of the very old, generally cliché shambling mummy coming back from the grave story.  Of course it has fantastical elements, but I don’t think they’ll be overwhelming for people who don’t normally read fantasy.  Anne Rice achieved perfect balance in The Mummy and it’s a book I would highly recommend to anyone.

Warning: This is an Anne Rice book.  Of course there are explicit sex scenes and gore that could be offensive to young or sensitive readers.  I would personally not recommend The Mummy for anyone under 14, but everyone matures at different rates.  Use your common sense when buying books.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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