Joan of Arc’s close friend, one of the wealthiest and most respected men in France, became a notorious serial killer.

The story of his shocking life has been hidden in musty books moldering in remote French monasteries and libraries until now.

Here, then, is your opportunity to be astonished as this fabulously wealthy 15th century French aristocrat, this celebrated war hero named Baron Gilles de Rais turns into a ruthless murderer

Here, is your opportunity to enter into this soldier’s tragic world.


“The legend of Bluebeard has long captured the interest and imagination of academics and public alike. Now, at last, a definitive first rate historical account of the man behind the legend. Must reading for all those captivated by the Bluebeard story.”

Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq. – Feinberg Rozen, LLP
Victims Advocate for 9/11, BP, Boston Marathon, General Motors


About the Book

Gilles de Rais, the paragon of the high medieval prince, almost Renaissance in his talents and accomplishments, fought alongside Joan of Arc and was honored by the King for his service to the Crown. A Marshal of France, a mighty Baron with vast estates, a renowned intellectual, he staged grandiose theatrical events. But after he left the military de Rais became a notorious serial killer, nicknamed Bluebeard, who performed bizarre sexual rituals, brutal mutilations and murders on hundreds of children.

Why did such a many-faceted individual become a serial killer? There is no clear explanation. There is only speculation. Yet historic evidence indicates strongly de Rais, a returning soldier, probably suffered from severe PTSD, which perhaps triggered his latent psychopathy. His ghastly dabbling in the Black Arts, extreme depravity, shocking fall from grace and explosive end add fuel to the precept that the barbarity of war turned this decorated hero into a monster.

The book is based upon Valerie Ogden’s assiduous study into the life of the phantasmagorical de Rais; it is compelling; excellently written; and on a rare subject. There are few extant books in English on this topic, and the distant memory of the name “Bluebeard” you have in your head comes from a creepy fiction work very loosely based on this real man.


Valerie Ogden’s real-life monster, Gilles de Rais, leaps from the pages of her sensational narrative to challenge our notions of the limits of human depravity.  Once one of the richest men in 15th century France and a principal comrade-in-arms and protector of Jean d’ Arc, de Rais is the model upon which the horrific legend of Bluebeard is built.  Meticulously researched in breathtaking detail, Ogden’s description of the unspeakable carnal desires and blood lust that drove Gilles de Rais into ever more abhorrent acts against the scores of innocent children who were inveigled into his clutches make Jack the Ripper’s crimes a Sunday picnic by comparison.  Ogden searches for answers to what drove the fiend to act and why the Church granted him absolution for his crimes.

“Not for the faint hearted.”

Richard Ben-Veniste, Esq. – Mayer Brown, LLP
Special Watergate Prosecutor and 9/11 Commission Member


About the Author

Valerie Ogden accidentally found out about Bluebeard when her nephew married his descendant, and the family hushed all her sudden questions. Nevertheless, absorbed by his story, she decided to research his life with an extensive visit to the Bibliotheque de Nantes in Brittany, France, and the site of many of his massacres.

She is an American actor who formerly worked in many diverse jobs: New York security analyst, editor of the Best Bets column in House & Garden, maid /manager of a B&B, rock Disc Jockey.

She has also served as a district committeeperson, Chair of the Mayor’s Animal Advisory Committee for the City of Philadelphia and President of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


Read a preview of the book

Bluebeard Brave Excerpt
Bluebeard’s Castle Excerpt
French Destiny Excerpt




Where to Buy