In a strange way the message becomes one with which the reader is already familiar. There is a human truth to the story, which the supernatural elements surround like a mounted gem. If science fiction is about asking "what if?" then Rice's work is a "what if?" centered around her favourite themes of the supernatural, a belief system that has belonged to human beings for most of our history. While science has crowded out the possibility of believing in this stuff for many of us, Rice's work gives us a chance to live in the older world through her fictionalisation, and it answers a great need for mystery and myth. A really excellent read.