The Mummy or Ramses the Damned: A Novel
This is another favorite that I've purchased for my kindle in my (never-ending, according to my husband) quest to have them available wherever I happen to be.
I first read this book many years ago when I was trying to balance a fairly new marriage, a four year old daughter, a (second) hip and pelvis replacement, and college classes. I probably don't need to say that money was tight. Really tight. My husband, who views reading somewhat like I view golf, bought the book for me because he knew how much I loved Anne Rice. Egypt, kings, queens, immortality, love...I was immediately hooked.
Ramses is, in many ways, unlike any of the other males in Anne Rice's books. He isn't calculating and destructive like Lasher, darkly brooding like Louis, or high maintenance and mecurical like Lestat. Of course having a couple of thousand years on them might be a part of the reason why. He is also, unlike his ghostly and vampiric brothers, a being of the sun. Ramses is contemplative and intelligent with a highly developed sense of justice. Upon being awakened after a self imposed sleep that goes back to the time of Cleopatra, he is bombarded with the future. Automobiles, trains, newspapers, scientific discoveries, telephones, moving pictures and airplanes are just a few of the things he wakes up to. Is he overwhelmed? Disbelieving? Terrified? No. He is amazed, entranced, and above all, powerfully excited. He wants to do and see it all. Immediately!
His guide for this journey is a young woman who has recently lost her father. She's an heiress who is left with a very small circle of people who all want something from her. Most are good people but there is one among the bunch who is rotten to the core. It's a testimony to Anne Rice's writing that I don't dislike Julie. After all, she's smart, kind, generous, beautiful, wealthy, you get the idea. She is also, at her base, loyal, loving, and good hearted. It was impossible for me to dislike her. She is powerfully attracted to Ramses. Who can blame her? Even as a young girl I can definitely remember knowing that Charlton Heston was no match for Yul Brynner.
They journey to Egypt where things begin to go disastrously wrong. Ramses makes an ill thought out decision that will put all of the lives in their circle in immediate and deadly danger. Evidently being immortal doesn't provide an inoculation against boneheaded actions and everyone in the vicinity is going to feel the aftereffects.
These types of stories have fascinated me since I was very young. My first reason for wanting immortality wouldn't be for living forever, it would be so I'd have enough time to listen to all of the stories told by Ramses that would bring history to life. He may have been Ramses the Damned, but I would have braved a curse and gone wherever he led.
It's been many years since I've re-read this book and I wondered how it would stand the test of time. Our daughter is now an adult, I graduated, and my husband is more than ever the love of many life. And the book? I love it even more now than I did then. I've shared a bit of my life for a reason. Those of us who love to read, if we are lucky anyway, find a handful of authors we are willing to follow no matter what. We are there through both missteps and triumphs. We are happy to read a multitude of authors but we inhale those we love. How can I remember what was going on in my life all those years ago? Because Anne Rice is one of those authors for me. A port in a storm I could escape to after baths, dinner and homework were done and I could read for awhile while everyone else slept.
Of course, once again I find that the only thing I truly dislike about Anne Rice's books is that they always come to an end.