Pros: Fills in holes in the mythology of the Vampires, good story telling, easy read
Cons: Seems as if the flavor of the character is missing.
Ah, The story of Marius. Maker of Armand, teacher of Lestat and keeper of the "Those Who Must be Kept." You will find no surprises in this installment. You will find the nicely told story of Marius the Roman. Most of which you already know, if you have read the other chronicles. And you need to have read the other chronicles before undertaking this work. We already have had Pandora's story which takes place at the same time, and Armand's which intersects, and Lestat's. Time to fill in a few gaps, rehash a few things, and add detail or two and craft a presentable story. It nicely written, easy to read, has a new character or two, and will keep the typical Anne Rice fan interested.
Anne Rice does not disappoint, crafting this story with the elegant style and wonderful prose that we have become accustom to, but for me the connection is missing. While I could connect to the characters of Lestat, Louis, and even Armand in other chronicles, I find Marius a hard sell. I am interested in his story (most of which was a rehash), but I don't find his character engaging. I don't come away from the novel feeling for his trials and losses, like I did with the above mentioned characters.
I really had no problems reading the novel, it flows well and will keep the average Anne Rice reader's interest--its simply not her best work. She does add an interesting new character Thorne, a vampire from the Nordic times, his life takes an interesting twist at the end of the novel. And I don't remember Bianca being mentioned before, her life after Marius could be an interesting tale. It also mentions a few other vampires, that could have interesting tales in the future such as the pair that Marius shared Rome with, Mael and Avicus.
The story consists of Marius's history. Beginning when he was made a vampire in Roman times. He travels to Egypt and retrieves "Those Who Must Be Kept." Lives with Pandora, loses her, watches the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance. He makes Armand and loses Armand. It is simply the story of his Undead life. His gains and losses. It also briefly skims the parts made know to us from Lestat's novels. It tells of his loneliness, and his trial of concealing "Those Who Must Be Kept." It seems to me his story could have been more involved and detailed. It just didn't pull me into the story. Its a good story and a fine read, but she has done better. This is not one that you can read without having read some of the other novels. If you are a fan of the Chronicles, then you will enjoy it.