Set in 1840's New Orleans, this historical novel traces the journey of the community of free people of color who were feared and ignored by whites. Suspended between worlds of black and white, finding stability only int their own community, they live in tension and ambiguity that form their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. The protagonist is a 14 year old boy named Marcel with one white and one free black parent. Together with his sister and two close friends they deal with the transition of adolescence and its mirror in the ambiguity of their social position. Marcel awakens when his idol, a famous novelist and free man of color comes to New Orleans to open a school. Marcel has been promised an education by his rich white father and Marcel intends to make it at Christophe's school. Meanwhile, his sister Marie is being courted by a prosperous and respected friend of Marcel's, but her vulnerability and the plans of other jeopardize her happiness. Marcel is making his own journey to adulthood through relationships with Christophe and his family. When it is announced that Marcel is to learn a trade to support himself instead of finish academic study, Marcel rebels, is removed from school, and wanders seeking the truth about who he is and what he was meant to do.
A painfully historically rich and accurate novel that delicately and clearly draws patterns of irony and injustice together through complex family relationships and social structures, The Feast of All Saints was Anne Rice's second novel.