A successor to The Bride of Sforza (1975) in which the period again justifies the excesses although this moves far forward to the 19th century. There are some real people--not Lord Ruthven, the live essence of evil (who is the Count Manfred of a Byron poem and the title) nor Lucy the unsubmersible heroine--but Byron and the Shelleys and all of the former's lovelies, Allegra and Claire and Teresa. Byron is too often appropriated by Ruthven while Lucy is acquired as Ruthven's unwilling wife because of her brother's gambling debts. Ruthven fails to teach her his ""aesthetic of terror"" and she loves only Byron although she sees him too infrequently. She runs away from Ruthven to England with her child, Orlando, and later follows Byron's hobbled footsteps all the way to Missolonghi. Oleander and laudanum hang in the air and Miss Seymour makes relatively respectable use of her material, inherited or dreamed up. And since it's tinged with diabolism, it's sure to be read by the light of the moon.