The spectre of Gilles de Rais, satanist and child-killer, eclipses French history like a dark star. A fallen general, once the champion of Jeanne d'Arc, de Rais' riches and experimentations led him to the very gates of Hell. The juxtaposition of de Rais' obscene crimes and insidious aristocratic glamour lodges him in our minds as a medieaval Hannibal Lecter, and he is indeed believed to be the inspiration behind Perrault's classic fairytale of the serial wife-killer Bluebeard. Dark Star is a testament to the enduring legend of Gilles de Rais and his mythic alter ego, Barbe-Bleue, and the way in which the two have fused in the popular imagination. With quotations, essays and fiction from some of the most fertile imaginations of recent centuries, as well as a complete chronology and register of people and places in de Rais' brief but cataclysmic existence, Dark Star is a rich evocation of the perversely seductive aura, the satanic allure of the most intriguing figure in the annals of mass murder.