In a faraway medieval realm, Manfred, an arrogant and evil prince, rules with an iron fist. Banishing his wife to the castle dungeon, he confines — and plans to wed — the lovely Isabella, fiancée of his recently deceased son. The prince's plans are foiled, however, when a well-meaning peasant helps the young woman escape through the castle's underground passages. Grisly, supernatural events further aid in fulfilling a prophecy that spells doom for the prince and justice for Isabella's rescuer and rightful heir to the throne. One of the first and greatest of Gothic novels, this thrilling tale ranks among the most influential books in literary history. Serving as the model for plots, characterizations, settings, and tone for hundreds of successors, The Castle of Otranto abounds with colorful scenes, adventure, suspense, and inexplicable phenomena.