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Angélique: The Road to Versailles

Desolate, penniless and alone in the streets of Paris, Angélique is obsessed with revenge. After falling in with a band of the cutthroats and beggars that infest the Paris underground she discovers their leader is her old childhood friend Nicholas, who promises to kill Conan Becher, the man who helped destroy Joffrey.

Numbed by her losses and experiences, Angélique becomes Nicholas' mistress and lives a life of degradation in the Paris sewers for a while until her mothering instincts reawaken. Visiting her children after a battle between the beggars for control over the Paris streets, she finds Florimond (abandoned by her disapproving sister with whom she left them) starving and living in a kennel with a dog, and Cantor stolen by gipsies.

Desperate to save him, Angélique is forced to offer herself to the ogre-like captain of the guard, whom she had previously rejected in horror, in order to persuade him to rescue Cantor with his troops.

Reunited with her children, Angélique swears they will never want for anything again, and manages to find honest employment working for Maitre Bourjus, an innkeeper who had allowed his inn to deteriorate after the death of his wife. Using the skills she learnt with the nuns, Angélique helps to revitalise the inn and is climbing towards her goal of self-sufficiency when disaster strikes.

A drunken party of masked noblemen run riot in the inn, castrating and murdering Maitre Bourjus and burning down the inn. Coming on the scene, Angélique barely escapes rape when she is siezed by the noblemen, but is saved by the dog of Joffrey's lawyer, now a thief-catcher, which siezes the neck of the man about to rape her - the king's brother in disguise. Angélique is able to unmask all 13 nobles, but cannot save the inn.

Eager to see justice done, Angélique enlists the help of her lover, Claude Petit, the gutter poet, who tells the citizens of Paris of the shameful deed through his outlawed pamphlets.

Each day, another of the nobleman is uncovered and disgraced until - just as the last three are close to being unmasked - Angélique receives an offer originating from the king, who is unwilling to see his brother incriminated.

Enriched by the king's 'reward', Angélique prospers and within a few years has become one of the richest merchants in France. But she is determined to restore her sons' noble heritage, and, unwelcome at court because of her supposed common origins, she looks for a suitable alliance.

Finally, she is faced with one of her greatest challenges - can she overcome the vicious brute to whom she becomes married, or will he destroy her?