This is Azriel's tale as he told it to me, as he begged me to hear witness and to record his words. Call me Jonathan as he did. That was the name he chose on the night he appeared in my open door and saved my life.
Surely if he hadn't come to seek a scribe, I would have died before morning.
Let me explain that I am well known in the fields of history, archaeology, Sumerian scholarship. And Jonathan is indeed one of the names given me at birth, but you won't find it on the jackets of my books, which the students study because they must, or because they love the mysteries of ancient lore as much as I do.
Azriel knew this--the scholar, the teacher I was--when he came to me.
Jonathan was a private name for me that we agreed upon together. He had plucked it from the string of three names on the copyright pages of my books. And I had answered to it. It became my name for him during all those hours as he told his tale--a tale I would never publish under my regular professional name, knowing full well, as he did, that this story would never be accepted alongside my histories.
So I am Jonathan; I am the scribe; I tell the tale as Azriel told it. It doesn't really matter to him what name I use with you. It only mattered that one person wrote down what he had to say. The book of Azriel was dictated to Jonathan.
Excerpted from Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice. Copyright © 1998 by Anne Rice. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.