A dark retelling of an already dark tale. Gregory Frost has masterfully imagined this classic fairy tale (a combination of BLUEBEARD and THE FITCHER BIRD) in 1843 in upstate New York, amidst an end-of-the-world "Utopian" community under the leadership of Elias Fitcher. Three girls, Vernelia, Amy and Catherine Charter, are brought to the community when their father and step-mother fall under the preacher's influence. Fitcher is a charismatic, but ominous figure. Ghostly voices whisper through the walls of the girls' old house, seductive and mesmerizing. With the world about to end, Fitcher, determined to spend eternity with a wife, marries Vernelia, the eldest. When she is taken into the heart of the community, away from her family, Fitcher quickly reveals his darker instincts. Women disappear, men commit suicide, mysterious shadows roam the halls... Erotically charged, full of brutality and treachery, this novel goes places the original tales only hinted. It's a rollicking, at times uncomfortable read. An exploration of lust, masochism, messianic psychosis and the nature of evil combine with social commentary. Highly recommended.