Certainly a darkly, tortuous tale, this one concerns an enigmatic creature of the night named Christine Carroll and her indulgence in fratricide. Stationed in a medieval house in Barfield, England in the 1860's, Christine and her family are involved in circumstances which bring back Shakespeare, Poe and De Quincey. Due to long lineage and inbreeding, these incidents are set off: Christine's royal father throws up her royal mother for a governess- whom Christine abhors; jealousy and power take hold of the governess; one of Christine's brothers is banished, and a younger brother becomes the center of attention and Christine cuts his throat. She is forced to leave Barfield and she enters a French convent where the nuns try to tame her black soul, and her love for a young American soldier can only be abortive. Eventually, under the stress of guilt, she kills herself with a pair of scissors... A heavy, brutal, sinister Gothic tale.