Memnoch the Devil

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Memnoch the Devil (1995) is the fifth novel in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series, following The Tale of the Body Thief. In this story, Lestat is approached by the Devil and offered a job at his side.

Plot

After stalking and killing Roger, a ruthless but enthrallingly passionate mobster, Lestat is approached by Roger's ghost. Roger's ghost asks him to take care of his daughter Dora, a devout and popular television evangelist, whom he wants to spare from embarrassment. At the same time, Lestat has become increasingly paranoid that he's being stalked by a powerful force.

Eventually, Lestat meets the Devil, who calls himself Memnoch. He takes Lestat on a whirlwind tour of Heaven, Hell and retells of the entirety of history from his own point of view in an effort to convince Lestat to join him as God's adversary. In his journey, Memnoch claims he is not evil, but merely working for God by ushering lost souls into Heaven. Lestat is left in confusion, unable to decide whether or not to cast his lot with the Devil.

After the tour, Lestat believes himself to have had a major revelation. Among other things, he believes that he has seen Christ's crucifixion and that he has received Saint Veronica's Veil. He has also lost an eye in Hell. He tells his story to Armand, David Talbot and Dora, who have joined him in New York. Dora and Armand are deeply moved upon seeing the veil. Dora takes it and reveals it to the world, triggering a religious movement. Armand goes into the sun and immolates himself in order to convince people that a miracle has occurred.

At the end of the novel, Lestat and David go to New Orleans. There, Maharet returns Lestat's eye to him, along with a note from Memnoch that reveals Memnoch may have been manipulating Lestat to serve his own agenda. Lestat then loses control of himself and Maharet is forced to chain him in the basement of the St. Elizabeth's convent, which is owned by the vampires, so that he will not hurt himself or others.

Although the novel fits into the storyline of The Vampire Chronicles, the vast majority of it consists of Memnoch's account of cosmology and theology.

The novel follows up on claims made by David Talbot in The Tale of the Body Thief that God and the Devil are on better terms than most Christians believe. It also reinterprets biblical stories to create a complete history of Earth, Heaven and Hell that fit neatly with the history of vampires given in The Queen of the Damned.

Characters

  • Lestat: The main character of the story and the past three books, Lestat was created by a powerful vampire named Magnus, who promptly cremated himself after creating his heir. Lestat is a relatively "good" vampire, only feeding on those he deems evil after reading their minds. In previous books, Lestat made the man named David Talbot a vampire by force, an action that went against vampire law.
  • Theodora 'Dora': A devout Christian who has a cable TV show. She is very beautiful and charismatic. She is waiting for a miracle to inspire her. Dora is the daughter of Roger. She won't take anything from Roger because he is a mobster. Lestat becomes obsessed with her in the process of hunting her father. Despite the warnings of his vampire kin, he reveals himself to her and she takes it as the miracle she's been awaiting. When Lestat brings her Veronica's veil, Dora starts her own religion.
  • Roger: A mobster who runs a successful drug ring selling cocaine. He loves his daughter Dora very much. When Dora's mother tried to take full custody over her, Roger killed her. After his death, he haunts Lestat, describing his own life and commanding Lestat to watch over Dora from then on.
  • God: Creator of the universe and all angels. According to Memnoch, He does not know how He came to be and therefore created the universe and life in an attempt to better understand Himself. In telling his account of creation, Memnoch characterizes God as aloof and uncaring.
  • Memnoch: The fallen angel of legend. He has long defied God in asking why humans should suffer and not immediately be placed in Heaven. Because of these questions and other actions that he makes, he alleges that he is put in charge of preparing the souls for their ascent into Heaven. Memnoch's domain thus serves as a place of punishment that will eventually earn access to Heaven. He may have sinister ulterior motives.

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