A seductive, gripping novel about the lure and illusion of power and black magic
Paris, 1660. As the daughter of itinerant actors who once lit up the Parisian stages, Claudette always thought her future lay in the theatre. But a series of chance encounters pull her into the alluring orbit of the most powerful woman in France, Athenais de Montespan, the unofficial mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow Queen.” Impetuous by nature, Athenais wields a disconcerting amount of power in court—a fact that has ruffled many of the Sun King’s key advisors.
Claudette leaves the world of theatre to serve Athenais, only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athenais, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin while young courtesans are scheming to take her place in the king’s bed.
As Athenais begins to lose her grip on the Sun King, the charms she has been using take on a sinister character, making Claudette question her allegiance to this mercurial figure—and putting her life and the lives of her loved ones in jeopardy.