A Dispatch reader shines a light on her favourite overlooked author

editorial image

As an avid cinema goer I really hope that the film A Little Chaos, released last week, is a huge success—not least because it stars Alan Rickman as Louis XIV, the Sun King.

Alexander Dumas wove stories around the Sun King, giving him a fictitious twin brother as The Man in the Iron Mask and featuring both Louis and his father Louis XIII in The Three Musketeers.

Louis XIV is also central to a series of books by husband and wife team Anne and Serge Golon, originally released under the combined name of Sergeanne Golon in the 1950-70s as it was felt that a woman author would not sell!

Their eponymous hero is Angélique, Marquise of the Angels, dubbed “Half angel, half devil, wholly woman!”

Many people erroneously consider the books as erotica. Nothing is further from the truth. The books are historical treasures.

Anne Golon is credited with writing a greater volume of words in her books than Dumas in all of his novels. Dumas was unbeaten in quantity prior to the Angélique series. At the age of 93, she is still writing the conclusion to the books and re-writing the originals to correct editorial decisions made without her agreement. At last Anne Golon is being given the recognition she so deserves after years in the wilderness.

The Integrale’, or complete works, is being published in tandem with the original books and fans everywhere are enjoying the additional and sometimes new content. The books have also been given a manga-style makeover, the first of which was published this month and just last year a new film of the first book was released.

I was lucky enough to meet Anne in the late 90s and remain in contact with her to this day for a variety of reasons—not least because she offered me her friendship and trust.

We met because a tenacious US Marine set up a website detailing his guilty pleasure for reading the Angélique books. As soon as I got access to the internet, the first thing I searched for was Angélique. I discovered that site and read with growing amazement that there were others all round the globe still wanting to know about Angélique.

I realised I wasn’t the dinosaur I believed myself to be. I thought I was the only English-reading member of the public that wanted to know the conclusion of the story of Angélique. Not the book that Anne is writing now, but the three books that were never translated into English! That question is still being asked, and still without answer. I have made it my quest to get those missing books published in English.

As I search for more information I come across many wonderful people, coincidences and little treasures. The latest is an original copy of the 1,000th edition of Reveille from 1959—the magazine which contained the first serialisation of the book.

I would not have known where to look for such memorabilia were it not for a friend who put me in touch with an Icelandic newspaper archive which produced a badly copied cover image from which I could search for the original.

The actual seller of the magazine lives up the road in Chesterfield. Two days after discovering its existence, the pages were in my hands.

I have read the three ‘missing books’ in French and Polish, and hope to read the as-yet unfinished work one day. But I would prefer to read them all in English before that time comes.

Has this article stirred anyone else’s memories I wonder?