In the first of the Angélique series, the beautiful feisty teenage heroine becomes entangled in a political assassination plot and is betrothed to a stranger who is twelve years her senior and a reputed sorcerer.
In this first part of the Angélique cycle, set in Mid-17th century France under the young Sun King Louis XIV, still struggling for his throne, while beggars and brigands roam the country, Angélique de Sancé de Monteloup, fifth child of an impoverished country nobleman in the Poitou marshlands, expected to struggle for a meager subsistence, educated in a nunnery, is betrothed at 17 to Joffrey de Peyrac, the 12 years older rich but cripple Comte de (count of) Peyrac de Morens and seigneur (Lord) of Toulouse, scarred in the face and said to be a sorcerer, in fact practicing oriental mining techniques which make his vast fortune. For the sake of her family, Angélique reluctantly agrees to the match but refuses the advances of her husband, who does not enforce his conjugal rights, wishing only to win her heart. As Angelique gradually discovers virtuous Peyrac's remarkable talents as scientist, musician and philosopher, she falls passionately in love with him. Joffrey's unusual way of life ... Written by
Anne and her late husband Serge (Golon) wrote absorbing books,with brilliant depictions,be it the court of the Sun King,the Cour des Miracles or a royal galley.Serge Golon was an engineer,and his unusual culture surfaces in the novels:Descartes and analytical geometry,imaginary numbers.With his wife,they smartly blended fiction (Angelique's adventures) with historical facts(Louis XIV's wedding,the rise and fall of superintendent Fouquet,Madame de Montespan and the poisons affair,you name it.They were wonderful when they wrote pastiches of Madame De Sévigné's letters.The books were translated into many a language and deservedly gained a reputation abroad.(which they rarely have in their native France)
What about the movies?They completely betray the Golon's excellent historical novels.Bernard Borderie gambled on the superficial plot and turned what could have been a mammoth melodrama à la "forever Amber"(Preminger)into a Barbara Cartlandesque saga.Michèle Mercier,a beautiful actress, provides a good-natured eroticism,in the tradition of Martine Carol in the fifties,but what can she do with such a script?Her career floundered after Angélique ,and however she showed some talent in Italian comedies before.Robert Hossein easily outclasses the rest of the cast.This is the kind of movie(s) that's (are) in need of (a) remake(s)!(a) remake(s) which would do the Golon family justice.
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