The Time of Poison


Synopsis : 1. On a tué la Reine 2008 (The Queen was killed)

March 1679. Fifteen-year-old Charlotte de Fontenac has just learned that her mother wants to force her to take the veil at the convent of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The following night, Charlotte flees to her aunt, Mme de Brecourt, for refuge.

On the way, she is a fleeting witness to a black mass: a stranger snatches her from that scene, and urges her never to reveal what she had seen before she disappears.

Madame de Brecourt is all the more happy to welcome her niece as she suspects her mother of having poisoned her husband two years earlier and of wanting to get rid of her daughter in order to capture the inheritance.

At the insistence of Nicolas de la Reynie, lieutenant general of the police, she confides Charlotte to Madame, Princess Palatine, Louis XIV's much appreciated sister-in-law.

And so began the girl's adventures at court. Protégée of  Madmoiselle de Fontanges, who became the king's mistress against a background of rivalries between Madame de Montespan in decline and Madame de Maintenon, who works secretly for her triumph, she finds herself in danger after Madmoiselle de Fontanges' suspicious death.

The Queen saves her by taking her into her circle.
But when Maria Theresa dies of a boil in four days, Charlotte discovers with horror that the Queen had been murdered.


Synopsis : 2. La Chambre du Roi 2009 (The Chamber of the King)

While Queen Maria Theresa died under suspicious circumstances, the young Charlotte de Fontenac disappeared.

Last seen entering the King's cabinet after the sovereign, she seemed upset. Since then, no one knows what happened to her. An unimportant disappearance in the middle of the unfolding of the funeral ceremonies.

However, some people wonder and, among them, Madamede Montespan, whose royal favour is wavering but who  is fond of Charlotte, decides to alert  the Lieutenant General of the Police, Nicolas de la Reynie.

What they will eventually learn is truly terrifying and, when the young woman suddenly appears again, everyone can see that she is no longer the same.

What happened during these months of absence which tormented her relatives, her cousin Léonie and especially Alban Delalande, the young policeman who loves her with a hopeless love?

additional information : in 2012 Pocket re-issued this series again after 2010

additional information :
Books also available in Kindle Format
additional information : Press:
« Dame Juliette, la Reine du Roman historique est en pleine forme [...] Messe noires, amours, contrariées, meurtres, complots, tous les ingrédients sont réunis ».
Vincent Meylan, Point de vue, 25 juin 2008

« Un récit haletant ou le suspense et l'histoire s'entremêlent »
Agnès Cotton, l'Homme Nouveau 5 juillet 2008

Après On a tué la Reine ! voici le second volet des aventures de Charlotte de Fontenac : intrigues, péripéties, suspens author de l'affair des Poisons. Juliette Benzoni réussit à mêler tous ces ingrédients avec son habituelle maestria.
additional information :
this Book series was not translated in English, but in these foreign countries: Czech-Republic, Hungary, Portugal and Russia
♦ additional information :
Audio books - CD-mp3 Editions VDB




Extract from La Chambre du Roi - translated by Linda, webmaster

The King! The King! The bailiff of the Chamber dressed in the tabard with the French coat of arms came to rest at the entrance of the Hall of Mirrors, on the side of the Salon de la Paix where the violins and the clapping of the feet of the bodyguards can be heard. Louis XIV appears....

His pourpoint is entirely embroidered in gold, but unlike his custom, he wears few jewels. However, a whisper of admiration hovers over the Court: staring at the plumet of his hat, a splendid daffodil diamond radiates with a thousand lights... No one has yet known such marvel.

Aware - and probably delighted! - of the effect produced, Louis XIV steps forward with his majestic step, a slight smile floating on his lips. Monsieur and his Nobles watch him approach - especially one of them - with a stupor that brightens his eyes.

Sire, my brother! exclaimed the prince without being able to hold his curiosity any longer. You have a very beautiful diamond here! I didn't know you knew of it!

Neither did I, you see, that's what makes it so charming... ah, Monsieur le chevalier de Lorraine, I didn't see you! You seem uncomfortable tonight? Are you suffering?

The King is too good to worry about my health but I am fine. Simply, I am in a state of dazzlement....

This jewel? It is a beauty, isn't it?

Is it a recent acquisition? asked Monsieur after swallowing his saliva.

No, it's a gift!

A present? they all said in chorus, but....

A lady's! That's why I have a very particular faible for it!

She must be... very rich! hiccuped Monsieur.

Or very affectionate! I was all the happier for it because I was unaware until recently of the existence of this beautiful stone. Otherwise, I probably would have tried to get it. And honestly! I would never have had the idea, for example, to send hatchet men to search a house from top to bottom, as I know some of them are capable of doing. I would have bought it, and without skimping! But it happens to have been given to me.

Your Majesty is very fortunate, Lorraine said, without succeeding in completely concealing his spite.

The King gave the gentleman a look from which all traces of amusement had been erased:

The luck is earned, Monsieur. Sometimes it is enough to do good instead of the opposite. In any case, we would not tolerate that this generous lady should still have to suffer from bad procedures. I hope you understand that?

But, as with all the Guises, insolence was never far away with Chevalier, the latter replied:
Yet again do we know the lady in question?

You do not know her?

No, Sire.

Then continue! It will be better for everyone....

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