The grim tale dramatized in these pages, while it may strain credibility, is undeniably and unfortunately true. Its horrible events took place in 1818 in one of the most unlikely settings for such a saga on the face of the earth: the picturesque French provincial village of Morève in the Loiret département on the post road one hundred and thirty-five kilometers southwest of Paris, and its surrounding countryside: a complacent, prosperous backwater of tenant farms, orchards, and vineyards. As any of the populace would have been happy to tell you, this is a place where “nothing ever happens, thank goodness”; that is, nothing until suddenly people start disappearing, and bodies are discovered of people and animals who appear to have been murdered by vampires, throwing the district into fear and panic. At this point, Raoul Champfleury returns from Boston, where his aristocratic family had fled during the French Revolution, to his ancestral chateau of Morève—successfully reclaimed by the family under the Bourbon Restoration—for a prolonged visit with his mother, Dowager Countess Régine-Rosemonde, and his destructive brother and sister-in-law, the tyrannical Count and Countess of Morève, religious fanatics pursuing their futile but abusive efforts to convert the dowager countess from her entrenched atheism. Raoul is accompanied by his lifelong friend, Christophe Béranger, whose family had fled Morève with the Champfleurys. Before they know it, they are caught up together with the town’s mayor, lawyer Maître Littré, and the village’s one policeman, the intelligent and resourceful Pierre Dupont, in trying to solve the mysteries. What they discover horrifies them beyond words.