The four dark tales here gathered represent Gothic at its literary high-point. Inexorable doom, cursed life, a grim setting, and nameless horror all find their place. The crown of these stories is perhaps the first, “The Headsman”, a long and well-woven tale of life gone awry. The second, “The Iron Shroud”, shows a Romantic-Gothic fascination with the medieval, and has its own take on the motif of time ticking away and walls closing in. The third, “Horror: A True Tale”, is the epitome of Gothic fiction: an old mansion, a hideous visitation, and a blighted life. The fourth, called “The Thirteenth”, is set, like the first, in Germany, and imparts in the reader the dread sense that, whatever may ensue, a happy ending is not to be found.


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