Blood on the Moors
Adrienne is seventeen, beautiful, and loved by Vincent, Lord Satan. She accepts his marriage proposal and begins a new life as mistress of Castle Caudill.
From the moment she enters Castle Caudill, Adrienne is drawn into a world of demonic terror. Does she participate in satanic rituals and black masses or are they only horrifying dreams? Is her husband a witch with great powers at his command? And why does the ghost of Lord Satan’s mother mournfully roam the halls of the castle?
Adrienne is forced to seek the truth, but in the castle shrouded in nightmarish terror she is doomed by the powers she cannot control.
Written by Louisa Bronte. First Avon printing, October 1972.
Lord Satan begins one dreary October day in the year 1815. Adrienne Caudill is seventeen, recently orphaned and about to meet her only remaining relative – her cousin, the wealthy Lord of Castle Caudill aka Vincent Stanton aka Lord Satan.
‘She murmured a phrase to herself, “Arch Angel – ruined -” and looked fascinated at the man. He was like Lucifer himself, she thought, proud, haughty, his cheek scarred in a strange line from left eye to left side of the mouth in an irregular pattern.’
When they meet, Vincent is rather taken with Adrienne’s winsome looks and long blonde curls, not least because she looks uncannily like his dead mother. So he whisks her off to his castle, plies her with sweet meats and heady wine, pats her on the head a lot and starts dressing her in his mother’s clothes.
Adrienne is enjoying all this attention, but – as you’d expect from a man who calls himself Lord Satan – life in Castle Caudill is not without some quirks. Though dead, Vincent’s mother still wanders mournfully along the castle’s corridors, her ghost refusing to speak to her son but more than happy to drop in on Adrienne when she is alone, sharing such housekeeping tips as how to keep the tapestries looking lovely. And although Vincent’s father, Roderick Stanton, is very much alive, he seems endowed with strange powers ‘not of this world’ and has a rather annoying habit of popping up out of nowhere smelling strongly of sulphur. Then there is the master of the house himself who, when he isn’t whipping the occasional wayward peasant, likes to disappear into the basement, in order to take part in strange ceremonies involving drinking the blood of young altar girls while surrounded by lots of dancing naked people.
Pocket Books August 1979 edition
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to be carried away by a bit of tall, dark & handsome once in a while – which no doubt is the reason why I read these books in the first place – but if Vincent was my cousin… well, alarm bells would be ringing by now.
Not so Adrienne. She more than willingly accepts his proposal of marriage, not quite realising her marriage ceremony is to be held in the crypt, her mind drugged into a ‘mist of fog and fantasy’ while her husband daubs her in blood and ravishes her, surrounded by yet more dancing naked people.
As Adrienne slowly recovers from her wedding night the penny eventually drops but by then it is too late. So what if her husband is half demon? She loves him, and besides, she is now carrying his child. So she sets about making herself a proper home in Castle Caudill, doing her best to ignore her beloved’s more unusual eccentricities. But terrible crimes are being committed and Lord Satan is the prime suspect. As more and more young girls are found raped and murdered on the surrounding moors, Adrienne is finding it increasingly difficult to ignore her conscience. Eventually she turns to the local priest for guidance but that’s when her problems really begin…
Janet Louise Roberts was born in Connecticut 1925 and worked as a typist and librarian before becoming a full-time writer in 1978. A prolific Romance novelist, she wrote under three pseudonyms – Janette Radcliffe, Rebecca Danton and Louisa Bronte. As Louisa Bronte she wrote the Greystone series and at least two gothics for the Avon Satanic Gothic series – Her Demon Lover and Lord Satan.
The daughter of a missionary, Ms Roberts used pseudonyms to avoid embarrassing her father and if Lord Satan is typical of her work, I can see why. It appears her treatment of women at the hands of rough, overbearing men has come under some criticism, but if, like me, you can’t help but be suckered in by green-eyed demons dressed in black velvet, mincing around castles shrouded in ‘nightmarish terror’, you are probably far too depraved to care. Four out of five stars. (Minus a point since the cover art makes Adrienne look a bit like a truckdriver in drag).
And in her own words…
‘I have always loved to write, since childhood. There is a deep pleasure in working with words and making them say just what I feel. I find the world unsatisfactory, and in my fiction I try to make things come out the way I want them to, and I love happy endings. My writing is romantic, not realistic.’ Janet Louise Roberts – quoted from Twentieth Century Romance and Gothic Writers, Macmillan publishers, 1982.
Some excellent background information and comments on Janet Louise Roberts can be found over at Mystery*File HERE.
And another review of Lord Satan can be read and enjoyed over at the Consumed and Judged blog HERE.