Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe. (Synopsis from Amazon)
I was so excited to see that RAMSES THE DAMNED: THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA was coming out.
I read The Mummy/Ramses the Damned when it first came out. It entranced me, carrying me away to distant times and exotic, oft dreamed of places. It’s taken over 25 years for the story of Ramses, Julie, and Cleopatra to continue.
The gang is all here with the addition of some new and interesting characters. Thought provoking ideas, as well as moral and spiritual questions are introduced. There’s plenty of suspense and excitement; loose ends are tied up, to an extent. There always seems to be something left hanging at the end of an Anne Rice book.
That being said, two important elements were missing for me. RAMSES THE DAMNED: THE PASSION OFCLEOPATRA lacked the lush/sensuous quality, and I don’t mean this in the sexual sense here, that so many of Ms. Rice’s earlier books possessed. The questions raised by the ties between Sibyl Parker and Cleopatra were skimmed. The depth of one of the most intriguing relationships in the book, at least to me, was missing. It’s possible it will be explored later. I would’ve preferred here and now. So, while I enjoyed the read, and was glad to put some questions to rest, it didn’t transport me.
RAMSES THE DEAD: THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA is worth the read, if for nothing but to tie up threads left hanging in The Mummy/Ramses the Damned all those years ago. However, I wouldn’t recommend reading them back to back if you got lost in The Mummy. You'll likely be a tad disappointed if you do.