Why does David Talbot lose Merrick Mayfair, who has loved him since childhood, to Louis? Because he holds back. His sense of right and wrong, his old Talamasca discipline is still very much in place, in spite of all his experiences as a vampire. And so he does not give in to Merrick's seduction, for many years rejecting her quite cruelly. Louis, however, does not hold back. Long-suffering and miserable as he has always been throughout the Vampire Chronicles, he does not restrict himself from feeling as David does, he does not overanalyze it as David does, and thus Merrick is irresistibly drawn to Louis's rawness like a moth to a flame. He, unlike David, will give her his all.

David, then, is left lonely, furious, jealous, but it is too late. Merrick is lost to him, forever perhaps.

Merrick is a town on the south shore of Long Island, about 30 miles from New York City. It is home to Sanford H. Calhoun High School (although students in the southern part of the town attend John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore), which is part of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. Neighboring towns include Bellmore, Freeport, and East Meadow.

Anne Rice's latest book attempts to merge the storylines of The Vampire Chronicles with that of The Mayfair Witches. Make no mistake, however, this is a Vampire book and the Mayfair part is little more than window dressing. Yes, witchcraft plays a very important role here, but the famous family and its main integrants (Rowan, Michael, Mona, even Lasher) are quite absent here. Previously, both storylines were held together by the Talamasca, a group of scholars who investigate the supernatural, although never interfere.

Louis the vampire seeks the help of Lestat's fledgeling David Talbot (former Superior General of the Talamasca who became a vampire at the end of Tale of the Body Thief) to raise the spirit of Claudia, the doomed child vampire who was thrown in the sunlight in Interview with the Vampire. Louis is tormented, you see, because of reports that her spirit is still roaming the earth, suffering, instead of 'going into the light.' To accomplish this, David asks Merrick Mayfair, another member of the Talamasca who is also a voodoo priestess, for help. Along the way, we are told her story (the book revolves pretty much around her, as you can guess from the title), from her childhood to the present, including a trip to a Central American jungle to retrieve a magic artifact: a mask that allow its wearer to see spirits.

Book Info: Merrick by Anne Rice. Ballantine Books. ISBN: 0345422406

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