Anne Rice has been on a roll lately when it comes to revisiting her classic supernatural series and reviving them for a new generation of readers. First she resumed her ever-popular The Vampire Chronicles series with two new Lestat novels (complete with a strange new origin for the vampires) and counting, a Vampire Chronicles TV series is developing, and now she’s finally continuing her mummy story after a nearly 30-year wait.
Earlier this month, Rice announced that the long-promised sequel to her novel The Mummy, or Ramses The Damned will arrive this fall. Titled Ramses The Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra, the novel is a collaboration between Rice and her son and fellow novelist Christopher, and returns us to the tale of the Egyptian immortal Ramses as his adventures in 1914 London continue.
At the end of he last novel (spoilers for a book that came out in 1989), Ramses believes that the imortal Cleopatra was killed in an explosion, leaving the world free of her madness-infused wrath. But Cleopatra is still very much alive, licking her wounds and swearing revenge against Ramses. As The Passion of Cleopatra picks up, both immortals are still searching for the ecret behind the magical elixir that made them both immortal, but another ancient being has arrived in the story. Like Cleopatra, she’s a queen, but she is much, much older, and she holds secrets to magical potions that go far beyond the Elixir of Life. The excerpt from the novel, released Thursday by Entertainment Weekly, follows this queen in ancient Jericho, when she’s already hundreds of years old, and reveals an old betrayal that helped make her the wanderer that she’s become. Check out a snippet:
“We are being followed, my queen.”
She had not been a queen for centuries, but her two loyal servants still referred to her as such. Both men flanked her now as they approached the great stone city of Jericho on foot.
They were the only members of her royal guard who had refused to take part in an insurrection against her. Now, thousands of years after freeing her from the tomb in which she’d been placed by her traitorous prime minister, these former warriors for a lost kingdom remained her constant companions and protectors.
No one does immortals quite like Rice, and this novel seems to be taking the already epic scope of the first Mummy novel and multiplying it, taking us back millenia and potentially opening up a whole new universe of secrets for future stories. Check out the cover below, and head over to EW to read the rest of the excerpt. Ramses The Damned: The Passion of Cleopatra arrives Nov. 21.