Rated of 5
The background is Renaissance Italy, and the theme is Rice's usual: good vs. evil or to suck blood or not to suck blood. And if you choose to suck blood, should you be ashamed for enjoying it? And while you're at it, why not fall in love with the most beautiful of your supernatural enemies? Rice herself has called this her vampire version of Romeo and Juliet. I think it falls short of that (in my mind, not even Anne Rice can compete with Shakespeare), but Vittorio is still a great tale written with just the right amount of words and passion.
Vittorio and his family have lived in courtly magnificence in his father's castle in Tuscany for many years when suddenly their privileged world is threatened by neighboring demons who kill his family and everyone else in the castle. He watches as the evil vampires take the lives of his brother and sister and can do nothing to stop it. His life is spared only by the influence of Ursula, a vampire enchanted with him. From that point, Vittorio's entire life is centered around vengeance as he seeks to destroy the demonic group that destroyed his family. But wait. He is also in love with Ursula. He loves her and hates her at the same time. Her people, the evil Court of the Ruby Grail, imprisons him. When he refuses their offer of the Dark Gift, they try to drive him insane, but he escapes.
After Vittorio achieves his revenge (Rice readers knew he would) and accepts his feelings for Ursula (ditto), he allows himself to be tricked by her...and thus becomes a vampire himself. There is much more woven into the story, and at different levels. But I won't spoil it for you. It's best if you discover it for yourself.