In vita mors, in morte vita! In life, death; in death, life! The particular gift of Countess Addhema was to be reborn beautiful and young every time she could apply to the hideous bareness of her skull a living head of hair, a scalp, torn from the head of a living victim. This was why her tomb was full of the skulls of young women... Ren? recoiled in horror at the sight of his mistress restored to her real condition: the cadaver of an old woman, fleshless, cold, totally bald and already turning to dust... After 1856, it would be a long time before any other writer contrived a vampire as perversely charismatic as Addhema; she is really three vampires in one. She is, first and foremost, the vampire-as-libido-run-wild, but she is certainly the vampire-as-gold-digger too, and she may well have something of the vampire-as-muse to complete her mystique. -Brian Stableford. Paul F?val (1816-1887) was the author of numerous popular swashbuckling vels and one of the fathers of the modern crime thriller. Brian Stableford has published more than fifty vels and two hundred short stories. The Vampire Countess was written in 1855-forty years before Bram Stoker's Dracula-and is one of three classic vampire stories also available from Black Coat Press.