by Linda Wolverton


          Lestat, a young, independent and strong-willed aristocrat, is an outsider in his own family. When his mother, Gabrielle, urges him to escape their oppressive way of life, Lestat runs away to Paris to reunite with his childhood friend, Nicolas.
          On his first night in Paris, the vampire Magnus snatches Lestat from his mortal life and gives him the Dark Gift of immortality. Magnus then throws himself into a fire leaving Lestat with no one to guide him in his new existence. Lestat refuses to be doomed by the situation, but he is caught in a moral dilemma because he is a moral man who now must kill to live.
          As a vampire, Lestat suffers from loneliness, but he will not make Nicolas into a vampire because he loves him. He does, however, give his mother the Dark Gift on her deathbed.
          Lestat and Gabrielle encounter the vampire Armand who controls a small coven of vampires who have made their home underground to hide from the wrath of God. Lestat convinces Armand's followers that they needn't hide in the shadows in order to survive, and so the coven deserts Armand, abandoning their miserable existence for a life in the theater. In retaliation, Armand takes Nicolas and threatens to make him into a vampire. Lestat begs Armand to release Nicolas, and eventually he concedes. Nicolas, now aware of Lestat's condition, convinces Lestat to grant him immortality, but he does not have the mental stamina for the vampire life and he sinks into an almost catatonic state.
          Lestat believes that Armand's maker, the ancient vampire Marius, will be able to help revive Nicolas. Lestat and Gabirelle journey through Europe, Greece and Egypt, with Nicolas in tow, in search of Marius. Gabrielle decides to be free of all mortal ties and she leaves Lestat for the natural world beyond mankind. Just as Lestat is preparing to continue the journey, Nicolas begs to be released. Out of compassion and pity, Lestat puts Nicolas into the fire. As Nicolas perishes, the sky opens up and Marius appears beckoning Lestat.