When it was announced that Anne Rice’s final book (that we know of) was being released after the legendary author passed away in 2021, it was bittersweet, at the very least. Rameses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris followed her previous two books in this trilogy. For fans of romance, historical fiction, and Egyptology, this may be the series for you.
For those who don’t know the background, Anne Rice, who was most well-known for The Vampire Chronicles wrote her Egyptian-inspired romance The Mummy (or Rameses the Damned). At the time, it was a standalone publication, following the story of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh brought to life with a mysterious potion. A surprise sequel to this novel was published almost thirty years after the first, entitled Rameses the Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra. The second novel, and the most recent, were co-authored by Rice’s son Christopher Rice, a talented author in his own right.
The Reign of Osiris delves further into the stories established in The Passion of Cleopatra. When we re-connect with the characters of this saga spanning millennia, the First World War has broken out across Europe. It’s a new perspective, seeing the War that changed the modern world from the perspective of immortal beings, some of whom have been along for generations. The stark reality of this war is contrasted beautifully with the otherworldly forces the immortal characters must face. Rameses, in particular, has clearly learned much in his thousands of years of life. The way he navigates the challenges presented in this story are evidence enough of this.
On that note, the cast of characters in this book is the strongest aspect of this story. Readers got to see even more of these characters both blessed and cursed with eternal life. While they were far flung in The Passion of Cleopatra for much of the story, here they were all brought together in one place to confront their new realities. Their relationships were challenged, particularly in choices to add to their numbers. Having them each confront the events and lasting ramifications of The Passion of Cleopatra was played to perfection. The element of adding the mystical Osiris with amulets that must be found around the globe gave the story a distinctly Thanos-like feel.
Any story involving immortality is bound to include a reflection on spirituality, and on the deepest questions that humans have asked since our beginning. Anne Rice proves her immense talent as an author by tackling these questions in a profoundly human way, in spite of the otherworldly and ancient setting in which she has placed these characters. More than the first two entries of this trilogy, the characters were allowed to sit with these questions of the true meaning of immortality, especially when faced with forces set to destroy immortals.
Ultimately, reading Rameses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris was an incredibly bittersweet exercise. It was like sitting down with an old friend to hear her story. It’s sad to think we will not get another great literary work from Anne Rice, that we know of, and that fact alone is heartbreaking. Her son Christopher is well-poised to continue his mother’s legacy, and hopefully these characters can be revisited again in the future.
Rameses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris is available now.