Bathory's name and her family's importance ensured she avoided trial for her crimes, despite the king wanting her put on trial. Instead, she was imprisoned in her castle under deplorable conditions, which is some comfort. This excerpt are her recollections of death and then undeath. Raised from the dead by Anton, the vampire who has fallen in love with her and cannot believe she committed the crimes she is supposed to have committed, has given her immortality.
"Time passed and I suffered, for there were months of unbearable cold. If I felt I would succumb, I soon realized I wouldn’t. Why can’t I just die, I wondered? I begged to freeze to death, but did not. No ﬁre was permitted in my domain, no blankets or coats, the thin blanket long gone, although I did ﬁnally have a thin, torn coverlet with the smell of dog urine on it. That stink faded in time or perhaps I got used to it. Spring came. I could tell from the sound of birds I heard. That and the scent of wildﬂowers that grew along the castle ramparts. I knew the colors to be bright.
Why hadn’t I ever admired such things when I had the chance? My prison was actually warm in summer. What a welcome respite! Autumn less so, for it signaled the approach of winter. Did I expect better treatment? In all honesty, I did not. It was to be endured until the escape by death was at last granted to me. I became ill and old. Yes, ﬁnally—though I had no mirrors, old age had at last taken me. I could see the changes. My hair had grown long and wild, uncombed and knotted, but worst of all, I could see the grey.
Sometimes I was observed looking at it. Invariably, a voice would taunt me. “You are an old woman! You are an ugly old hag!” What followed was a string of abuse. Well, what did I expect? Indeed, I had aged. I saw my body as I tried so desperately to keep clean. I’d see my withered breasts, hanging like lifeless things. My skin sagged all over my body. I had a stink, too, as it was impossible to bathe. The best I could do was to use some dirty water I was given to drink. Wetting a rag, I’d try to keep myself clean. Only once or twice did I think of those other baths I used to have—one of countless murderous sins that had condemned me. Regret was still new to me and remorse newer still, but because I had horriﬁc hallucinations and ﬁts once again, when sensible, I was thoughtful about what I had done.
If I can recall a last moment of life, I suppose it would be the feeling of dizziness. I was standing in my quarters, then suddenly unsteady on my feet. I tried to grab hold of something, and fell forward with great force. There was pain...but it did not last. Blackness overwhelmed it.
There is nothing in my memory after that except just ﬁnding myself in a shadowy place. At ﬁrst I thought I was dead. But then I saw you, my love, looking at me. “I am Anton...” you said. “And you must drink.” You raised a goblet toward me, plain and unadorned. I shook my head but you persisted. “You must for you will die in agony if you do not drink...”
5 stars - "A blood-soaked rendition of the 'Countess Dracula' Her best yet!"