An extraordinary tale of passion, intrigue and revenge, this is the true story of Urbain Grandier, a 17th-century priest who was accused and found guilty of sorcery. The story was popularized by Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun . Robert Rapley provides a compelling interpretation of the case, revealing startling evidence of a secret conspiracy to destroy the priest that went as high as Louis XIII. As a Catholic priest, Grandier was an influential figure in the Loudun community and local government. A brilliant speaker, he was popular with his parishioners. But he had enemies, including Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII, who was trying to wrest political automy from local goverrs and centralize power in Paris. Grandier's support of the goverr of Loudun meant that he was seen as an enemy of the crown. In addition, the debonair priest's romantic intrigues brought him into conflict with some of the town's most influential power brokers. When a nearby convent of Ursuline nuns began experiencing strange visions and hallucinations, Grandier's enemies seized the opportunity to orchestrate his downfall. These mass possessions, which spread through the convent despite attempts at exorcism, were regarded as witchcraft and Grandier was accused of having caused them. Condemned by Richelieu and the king, Grandier was tortured and burned at the stake for his alleged crimes. He maintained his incence to the end. This tale of conspiracy, corruption and mass hysteria provides an exploration of human behaviour and community dynamics.