Author: Anne Rice
Reading Level: Adult
Released: October 29th 2002 (first published 2001)
Review Source: Ballantine Books
Once a proud Senator in Imperial Rome, Marius is kidnapped and forced into that dark realm of blood, where he is made a protector of the Queen and King of the vampires–in whom the core of the supernatural race resides.
Through his eyes we see the fall of pagan Rome to the Emperor Constantine, the horrific sack of the Eternal City at the hands of the Visigoths, and the vile aftermath of the Black Death. Ultimately restored by the beauty of the Renaissance, Marius becomes a painter, living dangerously yet happily among mortals, and giving his heart to the great master Botticelli, to the bewitching courtesan Bianca, and to the mysterious young apprentice Armand. But it is in the present day, deep in the jungle, when Marius will meet his fate seeking justice from the oldest vampires in the world. . . .
I may have bought this book out of the intended reading order, but seriously it was so good that it’s easily a standalone read. It is well understood that Anne Rice is a fantastic gothic/fantasy writer, especially when it pertains to vampires. After reading the first three books in the Vampire Chronicles, I may have skipped ahead to Blood and Gold, it was so worth it.
Within this novel, I could almost see Rome as it might have once been, almost felt the dust beneath my feet as time moved ever forward through the ages Marius was wondering through, protecting, serving and hiding the King and Queen of the Vampires. Rice’s attention to every detail, no matter how insignificant we might think when trying to write, come alive through her touch. I couldn’t put this novel down, I read it last year before the summer and it was glued into my hands at every chance I had to crack it open. It sat in the car, was carried with me throughout my days and I look forward to re-reading it when I have read all the new novels I have acquired.
I get excited to read a series when the author takes the time to plan ahead where characters can make a reappearance or secrets are revealed from past or future novels, the easter eggs make me gasp with glee. Rice does this in every one of her novels and Blood and Gold doesn’t disappoint. Times we have read through become alive again, with Marius walking us through it from his point of view. His story is a long sad one, where we always had the inkling that it was so now we see it played out for us to live through words.
Last year at the Miami Book Fair International, 2014, I had the pleasure of sitting in on Anne Rice’s lecture and introduction to her latest novel Prince Lestat. Afterwards she graced her fans with a book signing that I am sure took a toll on the beloved author, there were a lot of fans in line to have books or memorabilia signed, myself included of course! She signed my copy of Blood and Gold (that’s how much I loved this book) and she signed my copy of Beauty’s Punishment, since it held special meaning to me.