For most of her career, Anne Rice has experimented with several different literary genres and has acquitted herself well in each: gothic horror, historical fiction, erotica, romance. Theconventions of gothic fiction, however, best conform to Rice’s early obsessions with eroticism, androgyny, myth, and the nature of evil. For critics and fans alike, the novels that constitute the Vampire Chronicles are her greatest achievement thus far. Gothic horror, like all popular fiction, is customarily slighted by commentators, who peg it as nothing more than a barometer of its own time, devoid of resonance. Paradoxically perhaps, Rice’s success grew out of her ability to revamp the vampire, to update the hoary edifice first built by Horace Walpole in 1765 in The Castle of Otranto. She did more, however, than merely put her archetypal hero, the vampire Lestat, in black leather on a motorcycle; she made him, in all his selfishness and soul searching, emblematic of the waning days of the twentieth century.
With the publication in 2005 of the first of a projected four-part re-creation of the life of Jesus, Rice began mining a new literary vein. Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and its sequel, The Road to Cana, draw on Rice’s research into the Gospels and New Testament scholarship, but they also benefit from Rice’s past experiments with historical fiction and—perhaps more surprising—her dexterity in creating fiction out of the supernatural.