The court of King Louis XIV was the envy of all Europe for its grandeur and etiquette. Marc Esprit, a poor but clever boy from Normandy, vows that he will be part of this exotic scene. He encounters Zoe duBois, a free spirited ward of the court who will change his life and ambitions in ways this would-be aristocrat could not predict.
After serving as a soldier, young Marc travels to Venice, where a man does not need a title to become successful. With borrowed money, he acquires a ﬂeet of ships. Trade in middle-eastern spices and luxury goods makes him a wealthy man. When he saves the Sultan’s treasure ship from pirates, he receives an unexpected gift and some disastrous news.
Marc again meets Zoe, now penniless after the death of her titled husband. They travel to Sicily and Greece, but he deserts her on a remote island to pursue his ambition. At last, he has the opportunity to serve the king of France. Five years later, he returns to Zoe. After an acrimonious reunion, she agrees to come to Paris, but again she complicates his life
Ms Jamison sheds light on the seventeenth century, a period of war, poverty, power struggles, and splendor. It’s all here -- drama, betrayal, religious conﬂict, and sex.