After stalking and killing Roger, a ruthless but enthrallingly passionate mobster, Lestat is approached by his ghost. At the same time, he is becoming increasingly paranoid that he's being followed by the Devil himself, and he is growing interested in Roger's daughter Dora, a devout and popular television evangelist, whom he wants to spare from embarrassment. Lestat and his companions try to protect her "church" from the fact that her father was a killer.
Eventually, Lestat meets the Devil, who calls himself "Memnoch". He takes Lestat on a whirlwind tour of Heaven, Hell, and the main epochs in the evolution of the universe. The tour offers a retelling of the entirety of biblical history from the devil's point of view in an effort by Memnoch to convince Lestat to join him in a noble quest. In his journey, Memnoch claims he is not evil but merely working for God by ushering lost souls into Heaven. Lestat is left in confusion, unable to decide whether or not to cast his lot with the Devil.
After the tour, Lestat believes himself to have had a major revelation. Among other things, he believes that he has seen Christ's crucifixion and that he has received Veronica's Veil; he has also lost an eye in Hell. He tells his story to Armand, David, and Dora, who have joined him in New York. Dora and Armand are deeply affected upon seeing the veil; Dora takes it and reveals it to the world, and Armand goes into the sun in order to convince people that a miracle has occurred.
At the end of the novel, Lestat and David go to New Orleans. There, Maharet returns Lestat's eye to him along with a note from Memnoch. This note reveals that Memnoch may have been manipulating Lestat to serve his own agenda. Lestat then loses control of himself and Maharet is forced to chain him in the basement of the St. Elizabeth's convent, which is owned by the vampires, so that he will not hurt himself or others. When he is at last released, Lestat enters a prolonged coma on the floor of St. Elizabeth's (in which he remains for the next installment of the Vampire Chronicles).
The novel follows up on claims made by David Talbot in The Tale of the Body Thief that God and the Devil are on better terms than most Christians believe; it also reinterprets biblical stories to create a complete history of Earth, Heaven, and Hell that fits neatly with the history of vampires given in The Queen of the Damned.
The main character of the story and the past three books (the first being about Louis). Lestat was created by a powerful vampire named Magnus, who promptly cremated himself after creating his heir. Lestat is a relatively "good" vampire, only feeding on those he deems evil after reading their minds.
Fond of breaking rules and creating chaos, Lestat decided to become a rock star in the late 20th century, outing himself as a vampire through his lyrics, which also incorporated vampiric lore. When the "mother" and "father" of all vampires were awakened by Lestat's music, a chain reaction was set off that had global consequences for both humanity and immortals: after killing her husband, the so-called Queen of the Damned, Akasha, set about slaying as many of her progeny as possible, also slaughtering mortal men, in a bid to create a new, female-dominated world order. Simultaneously horrified at her actions and drawn to her intoxicating power, Lestat ultimately seduced her with his good looks and eloquent speech, then betrayed her. He also made the man named David Talbot a vampire by force, although it was against vampire law. David subconsciously wanted to become a vampire, but kept his urges secret because he did not want to be a man-killing monster. Lestat relieved him of the need to choose.
Dora is the daughter of Roger. She won’t take anything from Roger because he is a mobster. Lestat becomes obsessed with her in the process of hunting her father. Despite the warnings of his vampire kin, he reveals himself to her, and she takes it as the miracle she’s been awaiting. When Lestat brings her Veronica's veil, Dora starts her own religion.
In this story God is portrayed in a whole new way.
The universe as revealed to Lestat by the Devil follows the following cosmology:
On the other hand, Rice's cosmology has precedents. Her concept of a sphere of souls can be (roughly) compared with the noosphere hypothesis of Roman Catholic theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whose book appears briefly in Tale of the Body Thief.
AS HE LOOKED AT LIFE AND EXCLAIMED, ''HOW SWEET IT IS!'' THERE WAS A BIT OF THE FLAMBOYANT REGGIE VAN GLEASON THE 3D IN JACKIE GLEASON, WHO DIED YESTERDAY. HE GREW UP IN A FINANCIALLY IMPOVERISHED HOME IN BROOKLYN AND WHEN HIS TELEVISION SUCCESS IN THE EARLY '50S MADE HIM A WEALTHY MAN, GLEASON LIVED THE GOOD LIFE TO THE HILT. WHEN GLEASON BECAME A STAR, HE LIVED LAVISHLY. ONCE HE TRAVELED CROSS-COUNTRY ON A PRIVATE TRAIN ACCOMPANIED BY A COUPLE OF JAZZ BANDS AND A HORDE OF REVELERS. YET TO MANY HE REMAINED A SORT OF EVERYMAN. AS THE FRUSTRATED BUS DRIVER RALPH KRAMDEN IN ''THE HONEYMOONERS,'' HE WAS AN ANONYMOUS WAGE SLAVE WHO WAS BARELY ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE LANDLORD AND WHOSE DREAMS ACTUALLY SUSTAINED HIM. TO THE MASSES, THE KRAMDENS' MARRIAGE, SEEMINGLY MADE IN MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, GAVE THE LIE TO ANY PERCEPTION OF THE NUPTIAL STATE AS A FAIRY-TALE EXISTENCE. GLEASON AS KRAMDEN GRABBED FOR FUN IN TUESDAY NIGHT BOWLING MATCHES WITH HIS ADDLE-BRAINED CHUM ED NORTON, A GAME OF POOL OR A TRIP TO THE RACCOONS' CONVENTION WITHOUT ALICE, HIS WIFE, AND TRIXIE NORTON. BUT JACKIE GLEASON'S TALENTS WERE MUCH MORE EXTENSIVE THAN ''THE HONEYMOONERS'' SHOWED. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT COMEDIANS ARE NATURAL ACTORS; IF SO, THE ''GREAT ONE'' CONFIRMED THAT AXIOM WITH HIS STELLAR PERFORMANCE AS MINNESOTA FATS IN ''THE HUSTLER'' AND THE SLEAZY FIGHT MANAGER IN ''REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT.'' YOU CAN DISCOUNT THE ''SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT'' FILMS IN WHICH HE WAS CAST AS AN APOPLECTIC SHERIFF, FOREVER PURSUING A RUBBER-BURNING BURT REYNOLDS. GLEASON WASN'T A MUSICIAN BUT HE SAVORED THE EXPERIENCE OF CONDUCTING A VIOLIN-LUSH ORCHESTRA THAT RECORDED A SERIES OF ''MOOD'' ALBUMS FOR CAPITOL (MANY OF THEM FEATURING THE CORNET OF THE LATE BOBBY HACKETT, WHO LIVED IN CHATHAM). GLEASON FRONTED THIS ASSEMBLAGE OF MUSICIANS IN COLLECTIONS OF CANDLELIGHT-AND-WINE MUSIC SUCH AS ''MUSIC, MARTINIS AND MEMORIES.'' FOR ONE SUCH ALBUM, HE LED AN AGGREGATION CONSISTING OF DOZENS OF MANDOLIN PLAYERS. I RECALL AN EXCERPT FROM THE LINER NOTES THAT ASSERTED: ''EVERY BARBERSHOP IN NEWARK WAS CLOSED'' DURING THE MAKING OF THE LP. ALTHOUGH GLEASON ATTAINED RICHES THAT SEEMED INCONCEIVABLE WHEN HE WAS A BOY LIVING WITH HIS MOTHER IN A COLD-WATER FLAT, THROUGH HIS TELEVISION SERIES HE STAYED IN TOUCH WITH HIS YESTERDAYS. HE WOULD REGULARLY INJECT REFERENCES IN HIS SHOWS TO HIS BROOKLYN PALS. THEY CONTINUED TO EXIST AS REAL -- AND IMPORTANT -- PEOPLE TO HIM. SOME OF THEM WERE FATSO FOGARTY, TEDDY GELANZA, CRAZY GUGGENHEIM AND MR. DONAGHY, WHO WAS CAST AS THE UNSEEN PATRON OF JOE THE BARTENDER. GLEASON WAS A SUCCESSFUL COMEDIAN BECAUSE HE ALLOWED HIMSELF TO BE UPSTAGED IN HIS ROUTINES WITH ART CARNEY AS NORTON. BUT GLEASON'S REACTIONS AND HIS IMPECCABLE, INSTINCTIVE SENSE OF TIMING GRAPHICALLY SHOWCASED HIS OWN COMEDIC GENIUS. HIS HIGH VISIBILITY ON TV MADE US ALL THE MORE AWARE OF THE MAN WHO, DESPITE HIS AFFLUENCE, REMAINED ONE OF THE GUYS IN THE OLD NEIGHBORHOOD WHO JUST HAPPENED TO STRIKE IT