By Gregory Frost
(Tor Books, Hardcover, 9780765301949, 400pp.)
Publication Date: December 2002
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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The tale of Bluebeard, reenvisioned as a dark fable of faith and truth
1843 is the “last year of the world,” according the Elias Fitcher, a charismatic preacher in the Finger Lakes district of New York State. He's established a utopian community on an estate outside the town of Jeckyll's Glen, where the faithful wait, work, and pray for the world to end.
Vernelia, Amy, and Catherine Charter are the three young townswomen whose father falls under the Reverend Fitcher’s hypnotic sway. In their old house, where ghostly voices whisper from the walls, the girls are ruled by their stepmother, who is ruled in turn by the fiery preacher. Determined to spend Eternity as a married man, Fitcher casts his eye on Vernelia, and before much longer the two are wed. But living on the man's estate, separated from her family, Vern soon learns the extent of her husband’s dark side. It's rumored that he's been married before, though what became of those wives she does not know. Perhaps the secret lies in the locked room at the very top of the house—the single room that the Reverend Fitcher has forbidden to her.
Inspired by the classic fairy tales "Bluebeard" and "The Fitcher Bird," this dark fantasy is set in New York State’s “Burned-Over District,” at its time of historic religious ferment. All three Charter sisters will play their part in the story of Fitcher's Utopia: a story of faith gone wrong, and evil countered by one brave, true soul.
Gregory Frost is the author of several well-received novels, including the fantasies Tain, Renscela, and Lyrec, and the SF novel The Pure Cold Light. He lives near Philadelphia.
Series creator Terri Windling has been a champion of adult fairy-tale fiction for over two decades, editing such anthologies as The Armless Maiden and the Snow White, Blood Red series with Ellen Datlow.
Series artist Thomas Canty has worked on many fairy-tale collaborations with Windling, in-cluding all the volumes of this series.