Was the “Blood Countess” history’s first and perhaps worst female serial killer? Or did her accusers create a violent fiction in order to remove this beautiful, intelligent, ambitious foe from the male-dominated world of Hungarian politics?
In 1611, Countess Erzsebet Bathory, a powerful Hungarian noblewoman, stood helpless as masons walled her inside her castle tower, dooming her to spend her final years in solitary confinement. Her crime—the gruesome murders of dozens of female servants, mostly young girls tortured to death for displeasing their ruthless mistress. Her opponents painted her as a bloodthirsty škrata—a witch—a portrayal that would expand to grotesque proportions through the centuries.
In this riveting dramatization of Erzsebet Bathory’s life, the countess tells her story in her own words, writing to her only son—a final reckoning from his mother in an attempt to reveal the truth behind her downfall. Countess Bathory describes her upbringing in one of the most powerful noble houses in Hungary, recounting in loving detail her devotion to her parents and siblings as well as the heartbreak of losing her father at a young age. She soon discovers the price of being a woman in sixteenth-century Hungary as her mother arranges her marriage to Ferenc Nadasdy, a union made with the cold calculation of a financial transaction. Young Erzsebet knows she has no choice but to accept this marriage even as she laments its loveless nature and ultimately turns to the illicit affections of another man.
Seemingly resigned to a marriage of convenience and a life of surreptitious pleasure, the countess surprises even herself as she ignites a marital spark with Ferenc through the most unromantic of acts: the violent punishment of an insolent female servant. The event shows Ferenc that his wife is no trophy but a strong, determined woman more than capable of managing their vast estates during Ferenc’s extensive military campaigns ...
REBECCA JOHNS is an assistant professor of English at DePaul University and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first novel, Icebergs, was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Hemingway Award.
From the Hardcover edition.
This item will be delivered to you via USPS Trackable Media Mail or UPS Mail Innovations and will take from 2 days to 3 weeks from the time the item leaves our warehouse. *
Items must be returned in new or unused condition and contain all original materials included with the shipment. More details
FINAL SALE EXCLUSION: Items marked as FINAL SALE are not returnable unless the problem you experience is the result of our error.
* For your safety, some orders go through our loss prevention department. If we select your order for this process, we will immediately notify you that there may be up to a 3-day delay on your order.
** Most Oversize orders are delivered within 1-4 weeks. Some orders may take 6 weeks to be delivered.