Louis has everything to be satisfied: his palace grows and arouses the admiration of the whole world;...
2A Still Small Voice
The king is heavily criticized by the clergy, who refuse to billet his soldiers, and his wife for parading the pregnant Madame de Montespan at court. A particular enemy of the lady is Madame de Foix, whose son was passed over as the justice minister. Fabien, still investigating the minister's death, believes he was murdered but not by his widow, who herself succumbs to poison. Philippe's resumed sexual affair with the Chevalier is rudely interrupted when Louis orders him to marry Liselotte, princess of Palatine, to secure a German alliance against the Dutch. A lavish ball is held to welcome her at which de Montespan goes into labour, whilst in the palace grounds the royal gardener, Jacques, has a fatal encounter with a sinister stranger .
3Quis custodiet ipsos cusotdes
Following the second poisoning and disappearance of Jacques Louis gets Fabien to increase security whilst planning the war with the Dutch and continuing his affair with the newly-delivered Montespan - to the queen's fury and general disapproval. He also demands that Fabien's spy Sophie de Clermont marry the much older Cassel in order to report back to him. Gaston de Foix is arrested as the poisoner and tortured and his mother banished from court. Meanwhile Philippe must be seen to bed Liselotte but his love for the scheming Chevalier and disregard for his brother's power politics turn the event into a disaster.
As Sophie reluctantly marries the brutal Cassel Madane de Foix is arrested as the poisoner and kills herself in prison. Philippe and the petulant Chevalier fall out but Louis warms to the feisty Liselotte, though their hunting trip is interrupted by the discovery of Jacques' body, increasing the king's paranoia regarding his own safety. Louis also faces more criticism from the clergy who pronounce the death of his and Montespan's daughter as a judgement on his promiscuity but he is also concerned with defeating William of Orange.
5War and Peace
Fabien's loyalty to the king earns him scant reward from the king in the light of recent events whilst Gaston is returned to court and offers to help Sophie escape her dismal marriage to the vile Cassel. The devious Montespan attempts to convince the paranoid king that that Marie-Therese is having an affair with the honest Father Pascal but Gaston takes deadly action to save the queen whilst Louis decides he will personally lead his army against the Dutch, giving the queen the regency in his absence. Meanwhile Claudine, gaining respect for her unpaid work with the poor, attempts to probe how the toxin entered Versailles as Louis appears to be its latest victim.
6The Sands of Time
As Louis triumphs in battle against the Dutch Queen Marie-Therese rules as regent but the poisonings continue though Fabien refuses to return to court. The queen responds to events by closing the salons and banning alcohol, an unpopular move which also affords Philippe kudos when the sultan of Bijapur refuses to discuss trade with a woman and he steps in to secure an agreement. When Claudine becomes the latest victim Fabien strides into Versailles, interrupting a merry-making concert but like the rest of the court he is unaware of a deadly pact between Gaston de Foix and Madame Agathe. Montespan meanwhile does her best to prevent a prospective rival, Isabelle, from becoming a lady-in-waiting to Marie-Therese.
William of Orange suggests an alliance with Louis, which is rejected, Louis citing a betrayal of William's former alliances whilst at Versailles the queen investigates Isabelle's death, suspecting Montespan's involvement and the splendid Liselotte discovers a way to arouse Philippe as well as coming to an arrangement with the Chevalier, whom she easily trumps. Thoroughly unstable and haunted by ghosts from the past, including a seductive courtier turned nun, Louis returns to Versailles having failed to come to any arrangement with the Dutch king.
8Le nouveau r
Louis arrives back at Versailles, anxious to gain the support of the church at the expense of Montespan, whose excesses he interprets as a divine judgement on him. Her position is further jeopardized when she unsuccessfully tries to hi-jack a royal celebration and her fall from grace quickly follows. More murders continue and when Liselotte succumbs to illness another poisoning is suspected but Philippe, unlike the Chevalier, is relieved and pleased to discover that she is pregnant. However Louis is compelled to officially reinstate Fabien as a result of the killings, Cassel also falls ill, announcing to the king that Marshall, the actor and court poet, is a spy.
Louis sets out to trap Beaumont by getting Philippe close to him, arousing the Chevalier's jealousy though Philippe is enraged to learn that one of the king's maverick generals has slaughtered citizens of the Palatinate, causing the latter to ally with the Dutch against France. The queen employs a spy to shadow Montespan, who kills her before taking part in a hideous ritual to reinstate herself at court. Its perpetrator, Father Etienne, is arrested and before dying tells Fabien that he killed Claudine.
10Of Blood and Stone
Madame Agathe is arrested as a witch following the ritual and her ledger confiscated, naming all the clients who sought her help for murderous purposes - including Montespan. Louis begins to round them all up though staying his hand where Montespan is concerned, However a confession from Gaston de Foix leads to her arrest and a suitable royal punishment. Beaumont, conscious that he has been unmasked as a spy for William of Orange, kills Cassel and aims to escape with Sophie but is shot dead by the Chevalier, earning him Louis's respect at last. As Philippe rides out to defeat the Dutch Agathe is executed - cursing the king and predicting his downfall.
1Smoke and Mirrors
Philippe returns to Versailles with his prisoner, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold, who resumes his secret affair with the queen. A truce is called and a lavish banquet is held for him but Madame de Montespan is excluded and takes her revenge by discrediting the king's pious companion, Françoise de Maintenon. To win over the suffering populace, Louis installs street lighting and sewerage, bringing on side ex-soldier Guillaume as shoemaker to the court. However, Guillaume is unhappy when his brother is amongst those selected by Philippe, now appointed to the king's council, to colonize the Americas, along with a mysterious duke, of whose existence no record exists.
2Question of Trust
Having visited the Bastille to find the mysterious Duke de Sullum Philippe is knocked out and on recovering sees a man in an iron mask. Louis claims that he was deluded and the prisoner was a lunatic who later commits suicide. Francoise elicits revenge on Montespan whilst Leopold unites with the queen to prevent Louis from laying claim to Spain by arranging a dynastic marriage. Louis also faces trouble when his Draconian taxes are badly received by the citizens of Paris.
3The Truth Will Burst
Riots break out following the harsh taxes imposed and young shoe-maker Tristan is among those arrested. His uncle Guillaume and his outspoken sister play on Louis's conceit to save him. Philippe becomes obsessed with trying to identify the mysterious masked prisoner, to the dismay of his neglected wife Liselotte and seeks Marchal's help to identify him. Meanwhile the queen, aware that her affair with Leopold will be exposed, travels to her native Spain to visit her dying brother, king Charles, though Louis is not unaware of her motive.
4Crime and Punishment
Having failed to petition the king for Tristan's release his father Bastien captures security chief Marchal. However Guillaume sees a chance to exchange prisoners, endorsed by Philippe, who is shocked when his brother only partially keeps to the plan. Philippe also continues his quest to identify the man in the iron mask and as to why efforts were made to prevent him, finding a clue of his own. When the queen returns to Versailles, having not gone to Spain Louis reveals his suspicions to her and declares his love for Francoise whilst a conjurer evokes the Chevalier's interest.
Louis appoints his lover Francoise to the council as he prepares to make Protestantism illegal. Guillaume offends Jeanne by recanting his religion to save their business whilst the queen falls fatally ill, leading to a theory of demonic possession. Fabien, however, suspects foul play and the king's public mourning is not reflected in private. Meanwhile a trade deal with Turkey proves to be a desire for an alliance against Austria.
6The Wheel of Fortune
With the queen dead Louis aims for an alliance with Spain by marrying Philippe's daughter Marie-Louise to its king, but needs Papal approval. This involves a purge of Protestantism which is ill-received by several courtiers. Meanwhile Philippe confronts his brother with the news that he has identified the man in the iron mask whilst there are suspicions that the queen was murdered.
7The Book of Revelations
Philippe persuades Louis to visit the midwife who delivered their older brother. She tells them of his fate but Philippe is disbelieving, his suspicions leading him to question Versailles governor Bontemps. Meanwhile Leopold - his niece having escaped to the Netherlands with Fabien's lover Sophie - realizes that Louis intends to use Ottoman help to invade Austria, which incurs the wrath of Vatican representative Cardinal Leto. Leto is also implicit when the man in the iron mask's identity is ultimately revealed.
8Men and Gods
The brothers learn the identity of the masked prisoner and the Vatican's involvement with him. Whilst Philippe is sympathetic to the old man the revelation disturbs Louis and Cardinal Leto takes advantage of him by threatening to reveal the secret as he leans on Louis to marry Portuguese princess Isabella, thereby strengthening France's position. Bastien and Jeanne circulate pamphlets opposing the king's harsh taxes whilst the Chevalier is suspected of helping Protestants to flee the country.
9The Powder Keg
His resolve reinforced, Louis is dismissive of the pain his plans will cause others, be they Philippe or Protestants of all classes. Cardinal Leto is confident of making the king marry Isabella of Portugal.
Keeping his marriage to Francoise secret Louis aims to make himself popular by meeting Parisian citizens for a healing ceremony whilst Liselotte persuades Philippe to return to court and save the Chevalier. Fabien, fleeing for his life, comes back to the city to seek justice from Louis but is caught up in an assassination attempt with many casualties. Finally Louis reconciles with his brother and passes on his experience to his young son.