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The Witching Hour (novel)

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Title: The Witching Hour (novel)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Anne Rice, Aaron Lightner, Of Love and Evil, The Wolf Gift, 1990 novels
Collection: 1990 Novels, Alfred A. Knopf Books, American Horror Novels, Incest in Fiction, Novels by Anne Rice
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Witching Hour (novel)

The Witching Hour
First edition
Author Anne Rice
Country United States
Language English
Series Lives of the Mayfair Witches
Genre Horror, gothic, science fiction
Published October 19, 1990
Publisher Knopf
Media type Print
Pages 976 pp
Followed by Lasher

The Witching Hour (1990) by Anne Rice is the first novel in the Lives of the Mayfair Witches series. It begins the tale of a family of witches, and a spirit that has guided their fortunes for generations.

Plot summary

Dr. Rowan Mayfair is a brilliant neurosurgeon in California, and when her estranged birth mother dies in New Orleans, she begins to learn about the old Southern family to which she belongs. Michael Curry is a contractor who specializes in the restoration of old homes while dreaming of his childhood in New Orleans and yearning to return there. Rowan soon realizes that she has developed the psychic power to save lives—or kill. Rowan saves Michael from drowning, and he acquires an clairvoyant ability in his hands that terrifies him. They fall in love, and when Michael decides to return to New Orleans, Rowan follows him to learn the secrets of her past.

Aaron Lightner, a psychic scholar and member of the Talamasca, has studied the Mayfairs from afar for years. The matriarchal family—known by the Talamasca as the "Mayfair Witches"—have a long and sordid history. Among the supernatural events surrounding them is a mysterious man, seen by Michael in his childhood and by other members of the family over time. Rowan and Michael marry, and as the designee of the Mayfair legacy she assumes control of the family's affairs. Soon the mysterious man reveals himself to her: he is Lasher, a spirit with wicked motives who has plagued the Mayfairs for centuries. His wish is to be made flesh so that he may walk the earth again, and he sets about slowly seducing Rowan.

Secretly thinking that she can outwit Lasher, Rowan sends Michael away from the house on Christmas Day. Her plan to bind Lasher to "weak matter" which she can destroy with her mental killing power backfires as Lasher enters her womb, and makes himself at home in her unborn fetus. Rowan immediately goes into labor, which is violent and bloody, and Lasher is born. Michael returns and tries to kill the creature, but Lasher is too strong and attempts to drown Michael again. During this second near death experience, Michael loses the power in his hands. Terrified for Michael's life, Rowan drags the creature away and runs off with him.

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