A mysterious guest arrives at Lord Mowbray's castle - the beautiful Princess Karnstein. Lord Mowbray's daughter Laura soon finds herself sinking irresistibly under her spell. But why does tragedy follow the princess and how is she connected to the horrifying Dark Mother who haunts Laura's dreams? Will Laura unearth the terrible secret behind the ancient legend of the Karnstein Vampire in time? More
In the eerie atmosphere of her beloved home, a haunted castle in wild mountainous countryside, nineteen-year-old Lady Laura Mowbray is occupied with her studies and her desire to become a writer. She is happy with her kindly father and governesses and the support of her childhood companion, Lucian, who is now a servant at the castle. Nevertheless she often feels isolated and in need of feminine companionship, sometimes provided by her dearest friend Julia who lives beyond the mountains. One lovely moonlit night, a beautiful stranger is literally hurled into their midst - the youthful and mysterious Princess Karnstein. She is thrown from her carriage which overturns as it passes the castle gates and, at the request of her strange and unsettling mother, who is untouched by the accident, is received into the care of Lord Mowbray until her mother's return. Laura is overwhelmed by the beauty, enchantment and mystery of her unexpected guest, and soon falls under her powerfully seductive spell. However, there is something deeply sinister about her new companion. The princess's arrival coincides with the tragic death of Julia, and is soon followed by the death of Lucian. Laura is visited by nightmares involving the haughty aristocratic woman who claimed to be the princess's mother. Why does she transform into a demon in Laura's dreams, and what is her connection to the appalling Writhing Room rumoured to be hidden in the castle's basement and to house the terrible curse of the Karnstein family, who are blood relations of the Mowbrays and once occupied the castle? Significant clues reveal to Laura that her own fate is inextricably bound up with that of her passionate, sensuous and erotically charged new friend. Laura's intuition leads her to read as clear signposts the three great legends of the castle and its bloodline: the Karnstein Wolf, the Karnstein Pearls and the Karnstein Vampire. Events step up their menacing pace, the presence of the demon presses closer and mayhem and death seem the inevitable fate of all the occupants of the castle. Will Laura solve the mystery and find the strength and guidance she needs to turn back the fast-approaching tsunami of horror to save herself and her loved ones, and even the fate of humanity itself? This Gothic novel was inspired by, and is a tribute to, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's classic short story, 'Carmilla', which prompted Abraham Stoker to write his renowned 'Dracula'.