Picks and Pans Review: The Vampire Armand

updated 11/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/16/1998 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Anne Rice

In Interview with the Vampire 22 years ago, Anne Rice introduced readers to the ravishing, aesthetically refined realm of the undead. Compared with Rice's characters, Hollywood's Count Draculas were doddering curmudgeons with false fangs. Here, in the seventh of her vampire chronicles, she resurrects the brooding Armand, who was last seen two books ago suicidally singeing himself in the sun's rays, testing the limit of his powers. Now we find him up to his neck in erotic high jinks and 15th-century Venetian intrigue, agonizing over his relationship with Marius, who gave Armand the kiss of immortality. But Rice saddles him with two misplaced companions, revisits too much familiar material and, worst of all, waits too long to explain how Armand ever survived that sunbath. (Knopf, $26.95)

Bottom Line: Not the biting chronicle we've come to expect

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