The Queen of the Damned is the third novel of Anne Rice‘s The Vampire Chronicles series. It follows Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat. This novel is a continuation of the story that ends in a cliffhanger in The Vampire Lestat and explores the rich history and mythology of the origin of the vampires, which dates back to Ancient Egypt.
Part One follows several different people over the same period of several days. Several of the characters appear in the two previous books, including Armand, Daniel (the „boy reporter” of Interview with the Vampire), Marius, Louis, Gabrielle and Santino. Each of the six chapters in Part One tells a different story about a different person or group of people. Two things unify these chapters: a series of dreams about red-haired twin sisters, and the fact that a powerful being is killing vampires around the world by manner of spontaneous combustion.
Pandora and Santino rescue Marius, having answered his telepathic call for help. Marius informs his rescuers that Akasha has been awakened by Lestat, or rather his rock music, for he has joined a rock band of mortals named Alex, Larry and Tough Cookie. Having been awaken by Lestat’s rebellious music, Akasha destroys her husband Enkil and plots to rule the world. Akasha is also revealed as the source of the attacks on other vampires.
Part Two takes place at Lestat’s concert. Jesse, a member of the secret Talamasca and relative of Maharet, is mortally injured while attending the concert, and is taken to Maharet’s Sonoma compound where she is made into a vampire. The vampires from Part One later congregate in the Sonoma compound. The only vampires not present are Akasha and Lestat. Akasha has abducted Lestat and takes him as an unwilling consort to various locations in the world, inciting women to rise up and kill the men who (they feel) have oppressed them.
Part Three takes place at Maharet’s home in a Sonoma forest. There Maharet tells the story of Akasha and the red-haired twins (who are, in fact, Maharet and her sister, Mekare) to Pandora, Jesse, Marius, Santino, Eric, Armand, Daniel, Louis and Gabrielle. Also present are Mael and Khayman, who already know the story. (see „Maharet and Mekare„)
In Part Four, Akasha confronts the gathered vampires at Maharet’s compound. There she explains her plans and offers the vampires a chance to be her ‘angels’ in her New World Order. Akasha plans to kill 90 percent of the world’s human men, and to establish a new Eden in which women will worship Akasha as a goddess. The vampires’ refusal of her offer will result in their deaths. The vampires refuse to join her; but before Akasha can destroy them, Mekare enters. Mekare kills Akasha by severing her head. Mekare then consumes Akasha’s brain and heart, thereby saving the lives of the remaining vampires and becoming the new ‘Queen of the Damned.’
In Part Five, the vampires leave Maharet’s compound and assemble at Armand’s resort, the „Night Island,” (according to Anne Rice, inspired by Fire Island) in Florida to recover. They eventually go their separate ways (as told in The Tale of the Body Thief). Lestat takes Louis to see David Talbot in London. After their brief visit with Talbot they depart into the night, an incensed Louis and his angry words filling Lestat with glee.