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Angélique and the Sultan

Enraptured by the possibility that her beloved Joffrey may still live, Angélique flees Paris in direct contravention of the King's orders and follows Joffrey's trail to Marseilles.

Following a clue that Joffrey may have set sail for the Greek island of Crete, she tries to find a ship, but no-one will take a noble lady aboard, fearful of attracting the notorious Barbary pirates that infested the Mediterranean.

Hunted by the King's agents, in desperation she trades herself and her favours in exchange for passage with Admiral Vivonne, commander of the navy.

During the voyage she is appalled to discover that Nicholas is one of the slaves, having sat on the Kings benches for 10 years. During a thunderstorm Nicholas escapes and with his fellow slaves slaughters the crew, only to be shipwrecked.

Briefly detained by wreckers, Angélique quickly escapes with the help of Savaray, a learned and ancient medic who had accompanied her on her journey. However, she is soon recaptured, this time by Captain D'Escranville, a renegade French nobleman known as the terror of the Mediterranean. D'Escranville brutally rapes her but, weakened by her ordeals, she is saved from further assaults by falling into a month-long fever. Upon recovering, D'Escranville tries to woo her but when she rejects him he vows to strip her naked in the public slave market and sell her to the highest bidder, and tortures Angélique until she agrees to stand submissively on the auction-block.

In the slave market at Candia (Iráklion) in Crete, Angélique manages to communicate with the wealthy knights of Malta and promises she will repay them from her fortune if they outbid the other bidders. They agree to go to 20,000 piastres.

Thus begins the most infamous auction of all time. Angélique is slowly stripped as the Knights, a rich merchant, the Grand Eunuch of the King of the Turks' harem and others battle for her.

The knights of Malta are forced to drop out and, as Angélique stands naked, the famous pirate Rescator appears and kills off the auction with a bid of 35,000 piastres - enough to buy a fleet of ships. On Rescator's ship Angélique is reassured by his gentlemanly manner but when a fire breaks out among the moored ships, Savary, who has set the fire, rescues her and they sail on to search again for Joffrey.

Picked up by the same knights of malta, they are ambushed and, after a great battle, Angélique is captured by the infamous Mezzo Morte, Rescator's greatest rival.

Delighted by some secret knowledge, he hands her over to Osman Bey, chief eunuch of Mulay Ismail, the Sultan of Morocco, as a gift.

During the long journey to Fez Angélique begins to develop a friendship with Osman Bey, the power behind Mulay Ismail's throne and, although he has plans to install her as the Sultan's third and favourite wife, he agrees to hide her in the harem until she is ready to cooperate.

The sensuality and idleness of the harem begin to affect Angélique, who is terrified she will weaken and give in, but she is revolted by the Mulay Ismail's cruelty and his disregard for the lives of his Christian slaves but is attracted by his magnetism.

Torn between her friendship with Osman Bey, her fascination for the Sultan's power and the power and goodness of Colin Paturel, the long-suffering and magnetic leader of the Christian slaves in Fez, Angélique must decide between giving in to the sensual temptations of the harem and attempting the impossible.

She must become the first woman to escape from the impregnable harem and journey across the pitiless desert to freedom.

Meanwhile, Colin Paturel, Angélique's lover and one surviving companion of their horrific escape, is simply a humble seaman back on French soil. Dismissed by Monsieur de Breteuil, the king's envoy, who has arrested Angélique, he leaves, shattered to discover Angélique is of noble birth.