A boy sits down for an interview with a vampire. Or the vampire, if you want to get technical. We don't know the vampire's name yet.
By the end of the first page, the vampire has already debunked a widely believed myth about vampires: that they hate light.
The boy turns on a light, and the vampire is fine. And we do mean fine. His skin and features are perfect, as if he were a marble statue.
The vampire starts to tell his story. It's going to take the whole book to do it, so grab your favorite snacks and settle in.
Picture it: New Orleans, 1791. The vampire is not yet a vampire. He lives outside New Orleans, beyond the swamps, on a plantation called Pointe du Lac.
His brother, devoutly religious, begins to see visions of the Virgin Mary. The pre-vampire doesn't believe him. He laughs at his own brother.
And his brother dies. Right after being laughed at, he falls down the steps and dies. "He had looked up as if he had just seen something in the air. Then his entire body moved forward as if being swept by the wind" (1.50).
Our pre-vampire narrator feels responsible for his brother's death. He moves out of the plantation.
He descends into an alcoholic slump and, one day after his brother's funeral, he is accosted by a vampire who sucks his blood.
Sick from lack of blood, our pre-vampire narrator is put on bed rest. A priest comes to talk to him and tells him that his brother was possessed by the devil. This does not go over well. Despite being on the verge of death, the pre-vampire flips out and almost kills the priest.
That night the blond vampire returns and tells our storyteller that he wants Pointe du Lac, so he's going to make him a vampire. Our storyteller is pretty much like, "Oh, okay."
The vampire and the pre-vampire return to Pointe du Lac where Lestat, the blond vampire, kills the overseer and moves his crusty old father into one of the bedrooms.
After our storyteller—who reveals his name to be Louis—watches his last sunset, Lestat changes him into a vampire.
Here's how it goes: Lestat drains Louis's blood, opens his own wrist, and feeds Louis his own blood. It sounds gross, but it turns Louis on: "the movement of [Lestat's] lips […] sent a shock of sensation through my body that was not unlike the pleasures of passion" (1.94). We'll have what he's having.
Then, boom, Louis's a vampire. All the colors of the world are enhanced and beautiful.
Shortly after this, Louis has to die a mortal death. It's not pretty. "All my human fluids were being forced out of me" (1.105), he says delicately. That night, he and Lestat share a coffin together.
Louis takes a moment to clarify a few things with his interviewer: 1) Vampires can touch crosses; 2) Vampires cannot become mist; and 3) A stake through the heart will not kill a vampire.
The next night, Louis has to make his first kill. Lestat thinks killing one of the slaves would be a good idea. Naturally, the slaves are suspicious.
Lestat takes pleasure in killing people, but Louis feels intense guilt. But Louis learns another valuable vampire lesson: don't drink blood after a person is dead. That could kill the vampire, too.
Louis is eager to learn about vampires, but Lestat won't tell him. He does tell Louis that he can live off animals instead of humans if he so chooses. And he does.
After talking about how much he hates Lestat for a few pages, Louis shifts the story to the nearby Freniere plantation, and to the oldest sister of the family, Babette.
Babette's brother challenges a man to a duel. He wins, surprisingly, but Lestat drags him into the swamp and kills him.
Louis has a soft spot for Babette, so he goes to her and tells her: "… [T]ake the reins of your own life. Your brother is dead" (1.195).
Babette goes on to successfully run her plantation, while Louis goes on to hate Lestat. He never wants to talk to Lestat again.
Problems with the slaves start to boil over. They've realized that Louis and Lestat are some sort of supernatural creatures. Plus, they aren't scared. They don't need to call Ghostbusters: they're going to take matters into their own hands and destroy the vampires.
Louis wants to flee Pointe du Lac. Lestat wants to kill them all. But before they do anything, he just wants to put his old father out of his misery. He makes Louis kill him.
Even though he kind of likes Lestat's father, Louis realizes he has no choice but to kill him because Lestat will not. Before he dies, Lestat's father calls Lestat "cold and brutal" (1.224) and says he feels responsible for making him that way.
Louis kills the old man as the slaves start to revolt. Then he sets Pointe du Lac on fire. He tells his interviewer that the fire could have killed him.
Fleeing the flames, Louis goes to Babette and convinces her to help Lestat and him hide.
The interviewer interrupts Louis and asks him if he has feelings. Louis says, "I felt some measure of love for Babette, though not the greatest love I've ever felt. It was foreshadowed in Babette" (1.261). Foreshadowing doesn't get clearer than that.
Babette locks Louis and Lestat in an old cellar, which makes Lestat very angry. When Babette lets them out, Lestat threatens to kill her.
Louis manages to scare Lestat away, but by that point Babette has already figured out that Louis is some sort of demon. "Get thee behind me, Satan" (1.287), she says, making Louis feel like a monster—as though he didn't already feel enough guilt.
Louis and Lestat flee to New Orleans. Needing to feed, Louis wanders the streets. He finds a young girl, and feeling like a monster damned to hell for all eternity anyway, he feeds on her and leaves her for dead.
Lestat thinks that Louis feeding on a child is awesome, and he offers to go back and make her a vampire. Louis does not want this at all.
The next night, Lestat seduces and feeds on some humans, and he and Louis get in a huge argument about vampire morals and vampire nature. Lestat revels in killing and disparages Louis's "romance with mortal life" (1.350).
Louis tells Lestat that he's leaving him. That doesn't go over well.
Lestat brings Louis into the streets to find someone for him to feed on, and lo and behold, they find the child that Louis fed on the other night. She has been brought to a hospital.
Lestat pretends to be her father and takes her home. He waves her under Louis's nose like a pretzel bacon cheeseburger, saying, "how plump and sweet she looks" (1.390).
After Louis feeds on her, Lestat turns her into a vampire.
She is named Claudia, and Louis realizes that "she would become white and spare like us but not lose her shape" (1.395).
So, Louis and Lestat become Claudia's two dads. Louis is very attached to her, even though she shares Lestat's thrill for the kill, while Louis feels guilt over every meal.
Eventually, Claudia realizes that she will never grow, and she wants to know who made her a vampire.
Lestat confesses he made her a vampire with his powers, but he won't tell her how.
Feeling guilty (surprise), Louis tells Claudia that Lestat made him a vampire too. However, he confesses that he killed her before Lestat turned her.
Claudia has a succinct response to this: "I hate you both!" (1.487).
The interviewer interrupts (this should really be called Interruption with the Vampire) and asks Louis why he told Claudia he killed her. Louis says that he had to be honest.
Back to the story, Claudia makes up with Louis, and starts plotting to rid them both of Lestat.
On the fateful day, Claudia presents Lestat with a present: two unconscious boys ready to be fed upon. This is like getting your dad a new golf club on Father's Day. Lestat loves it.
Claudia practically sits back and chants "chug, chug, chug!" as Lestat feeds on the boys. But something is wrong…
While Lestat is weak, Claudia comes up behind him and slashes his throat.
Besides the obvious gushing geyser of blood, it's not a pretty sight: "His entire body was shriveling, drying up, the skin thick and wrinkled, and so white that all the tiny veins showed through it" (1.616).
Louis and Claudia dump the shriveled husk of Lestat into the swamps, and Claudia returns to root through his belongings.
Claudia is dismayed to find nothing. "Not a hint of where he came from, who made him. […] Not a scrap" (1.625).
Overall, though, Claudia is happy that Lestat's gone. Louis, always one to look on the non-sunny side of life, feels insanely guilty about the whole thing. He thinks that if Lestat deserved to die, than he and Claudia deserve to die too.
Louis deals with his guilt by feeding and killing on more people than ever before.
Eventually, Claudia decides that they must go to Central Europe. All the books on vampire lore she's been reading originate there.
Louis agrees to this, but mainly because he's afraid Lestat might be back from the dead.
See, this musician boy that Lestat had the hots for has been lurking around lately, and Louis had noticed two puncture wounds on his neck. The markings of a resurrected vampire, or a really vicious mosquito?
It turns out to be Lestat. With the help of the musician, Lestat breaks into the townhouse where Louis and Claudia live.
Claudia and Louis beat the stuffing out of Lestat and his paramour, set the place on fire, and flee into the night, leaving Lestat to burn to death. For real this time.