Subtitled ""A Bibliographical Study in Good and Evil"" -- this is a linking of two figures of the 15th century -- Joan of Aro and Gilles de Rais. The greater part of the book follows in meticulous detail the dramatic story of the Maid. To most readers familiar with her life, there is still fascination in tracing the tragic tale, and much of the material seems new on each reading. Frances Winwar occasionally is overlush in her writing, but -- as in her other biographical studies, she has a rare gift for giving a sense of participation. There is less emotional value than one might expect -- perhaps because the mysticism removes Joan from human planes of understanding...The last quarter of the book picks up the thread of Gilles de Rais' story, from his stepping out of the drama which was Joan's (he served at her side as Marshal of France -- and was one of her staunchest advocates). Then -- by what strange twist of fate did the man gifted by fortune turn his brilliant ouriosity into strange paths of cruelty, perversion, abnormalities beyond stretch of normal imaginings? When finally his wickedness caught up with him, his crimes made Sade pale into insignificance A horrifying story.