The rising tide of religious intolerance in a Catholic country is the theme running through the fifth and perhaps most disturbing book in the Angélique series.
First published in English in 1962, it sees Angélique entangled in rebellion as the Protestant Huguenots rise up against their Catholic repressors. She is also at direct odds with the King, refusing to make her apologies and determined not to return to Versailles as his mistress.
The beautiful setting of the Poitou region makes a stunning contrast with the story which often boils over into bloody violence.
The political situation is destined to bring multiple tragedies for Angélique and, after enjoying a moment of revenge, finds that she is pregnant with an unwanted daughter.
Now a leader of men but destined for defeat, she is forced to seek sanctuary with the monks of the Abbey of Nieul, but encounters yet more violence on leaving.
She eventually owes a great debt to a prosperous merchant called Maitre Berne, and repays him by actively supporting his Protestant family at La Rochelle in their ongoing battle against persecution.
But as Angélique helps one of the leaders of the community flee, she discovers that she has been the victim of a cruel betrayal…