Books: Short Notices: Jun. 30, 1967

FIRE FROM HEAVEN by Michel Bataille. 310 pages. Crown. $5.95.

Joan of Arc was put to death on a pile of burning fagots. Gilles de Rais, the French nobleman who fought at her side at Orléans, met a somewhat different end. He turned out to be a fagot who dismembered and burned a pile of little boys—800 of them, by the best estimates of the time. In its outlines, this historical novel is undoubtedly Sade-but-true. More debatable is the book's claim that Marshal de Rais was not entirely a monster, but "the magnified and distorted image of everyman." Everyman? De Rais, whose...

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