Knopf, 1996. Stated FIRST EDITION. Unread, near mint condition is clean and tight. Original dust jacket, not price clipped. "A new saga begins, a major departure for the incomparable Anne Rice. Having created fantastic universes of vampires and witches, having chronicled the exploits of Lestat and the Mayfairs, she carries us now into new realms of the occult, the mystical, and the magical, and into the presence-now and through the centuries-of a dark and luminous new hero: the powerful, witty, smiling Azriel, Servant of the Bones. He is ghost, demon, angel - in love with the good, in thrall to the evil. He pours out his heart to us, telling his astonishing story when he finds himself-in our own time, in New York City-a dazed witness to the murder of a young girl called Esther and inexplicably obsessed by the desire to avenge her. He takes us back to his mortal youth in the magnificent city of Babylon-the gateway to the pagan gods, a wonder of ziggurats, shrines, and ships at anchor from all nations. We see Azriel at twenty-a Jew, educated, rich, beautiful, fiercely devoted to his captive Hebrew tribe, and dedicated to his prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah. In this time of bloody wars and religious upheavals, greedy kings and cunning magicians who vie with rabbis for spiritual dominion, Azriel falls victim to a royal plot compounded by his devotion to his Hebrew God-only to be plucked from death by evil priests and sorceresses and transformed into a genii commanded to do their bidding. Challenging these forces of destruction, marshaling all his strength and wit to defeat them, Azriel embarks on his perilous journey through time from Babylon's hanging gardens to the Europe of the Black Death to Manhattan in the 1990's - and ultimately to his crucial confrontation with the ambitious and charismatic multibillionaire, the televangelist-terrorist Gregory Belkin, father of the mysteriously murdered Esther-and the twentieth century embodiment of all that Azriel has struggled against. As Azriel's quest approaches its climactic horror, he dares to use and to risk his supernatural powers in the hope of forestalling a world-threatening conspiracy, and redeeming, at last, what was denied him so long ago: his own eternal human soul. Inscribed and signed by author Anne Rice on the title page, "In Humor and Happiness . . . Anne Rice - 1997" 388 pages.