Anne Golon’s fans in England had a four-year wait for The Countess Angélique, which publishers Heineman released in 1966 – a year that would actually see three new Angélique titles translated into English.
Readers at the time said this seventh book in the series was well worth the wait.
It was originally published in two parts – sub-titled Land of the Redskins and Prisoner of the Mountains respectively. Ironically, the French word for ‘redskins’ (‘peaux-rouges’) does not actually appear in the original French version of the text. We have to remember that the book was published in the mid-Sixties, when the Western World’s fascination with cowboys and Indians had still not waned and offered excellent marketing opportunities.
To confuse matters further, the Countess Angélique – that is the two parts combined – was given a different name in the United States, where readers know it as Angélique in the New World. In French the literal translation was slightly different again – Angélique and the New World.
The Countess Angélique is the title most often criticised by readers, and no explanation has ever been given why a reference to the New World – a name used internationally even in Angélique’s day – was rejected in favour of the somewhat irrelevant reference to our heroine as a countess.
Mainly set in the wilderness of North America, Angélique faces a new series of challenges – some of which sorely test even her ingenuity and experience.
It starts happily enough, with our heroine reunited with Joffrey and her sons, but they are forced into a dangerous gamble in order to find a way out of their troubles.
First hunger and then a fanatical Jesuit threaten Angélique’s very existence before rumours begin to spread that Angélique is a mythical she-devil. Even her love for Joffrey is put to the test following the schemes of their enemies.
Once again, Angélique has to call on all her qualities in order to triumph.