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A young girl plays in the streets of New Orleans. Around her, gnarled oaks drip with Spanish moss, guarding crumbling mansions where ghosts are said to walk. She clutches the hand of her father, Howard, as she visits the aboveground crypts of Lafayette Cemetery, tracing with her fingertips the names of those who died from yellow fever. In her mind, she's making up stories. A whisper of corruption mingles with historical beauty. Voodoo lingers, despite Christianity's presence. The light and the dark coexist, shadows imprinted on sunlight.

Today, novelist Anne O'Brien Rice's darkly themed books have sold more than 75 million copies. Her first novel, Interview with the Vampire (1976, adapted as a movie in 1994), has sold more than 8 million copies. Rice has also written historical novels, as well as pornography and erotica under the names "A. N. Roquelaure" and "Anne Rampling." Her books are widely assigned in high school and college English and philosophy classes.

Last summer, Knopf, her publisher, stunned the literary world with its announcement of Rice's newest volume: Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, a novel about Jesus' life at age 7.

"This book means more to me than anything I've ever done," Rice told Christianity Today from her home in La Jolla, California. "I'm not offering agnostic explanations. He is real. He worked miracles. He is the Son of God! And there is so much more to write."

Why is Anne Rice, once the literary queen of darkness, now writing about Christ, the light of the world?

Loss and Change

Born with the unlikely name Howard Allen O'Brien in 1941 (she later changed her name to Anne), into a devout Catholic home full of music and literature, she was fascinated by the trappings of her faith—and afraid of the ...

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December 2005

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