Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Angelique, Part 2 - The Dirty Underbelly Of Publishing

I've been reading a lot of fan message boards and fan sites about the books and the author and found something that got my hackles up. Turns out that Mme. Golon's publisher and agent were in cahoots to not pay her for her work. Exactly, outrageous. Apparently she has had to take them to court over rights to her own books, litigation lasted for almost two decades and she only recently won the battle and now owns everything she's supposed to own as the author. So this got me thinking, how crooked do people have to be to make a talented writer live hand to mouth for decades while they were benefiting from her work? Because, make no mistake, people are still reading these books and the movies that were filmed based on them are still shown on TV in European countries. How shameless and how low does one have to be to live for years knowing that they've taken away a person's only income and to continue doing it? Hard to even imagine, although, of course, there can never be enough money, right?
Another appalling part is that they apparently took out sections of the last 3 books, had someone else connect the dots and then published the books without even telling the author about it. Why, is what I'd like to know. What could have been in those sections they just could not allow to appear on the page? Hard to imagine there being something so current and volatile for France of 1980s that it couldn't be published in a novel set in the XVII century. Was it that they were lousy? I have trouble believing that an author who's written 10 books in this series alone and has only gotten better with time has all of a sudden deteriorated in her skill and talent on the 11th. May be she's simply gotten bored with it all? May be she did, but then why is the writing like a sinusoid, with some parts gripping and exciting and others so dull you only keep going for the fear of missing something important?
So what do we have now? An 88-year-old lady reworking the existing 13 volumes to contain all the pieces and plot lines that were taken out and getting them released by a different publisher while she's finishing up the last 2 books in the series. I can totally understand her, release the books, make some money and may be ensure a comfortable living for herself and a little something for her children. I just hope we see those last two books and I hope this "author's cut" is good. After all, it has been 25 years since the last book was published. And now my brain comes up with another question: why didn't she write the 2 last books in the last 7 years or so? The battle was won, nobody could take her work away, why not finish? I may never know the answers. But would really like to ;)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Angelique Series by Anne Golon

When I read these books for the first time I wasn't even in my teens and fell in love with them, despite the good-natured ribbing of my family who doubted the books' literary value. To their credit I kept getting new volumes for birthdays and Christmases as they became available.
Fast forward to 2010 and my acute bouts of homesickness. I kept wishing for some way to reconnect, if you will, and what better way to go back in time than with a multi-volume book series? And so for the last month I've been reading like I used to, during lunch, while waiting in line, for 10 minutes between breakfast and rushing out the door and way too late into the night. I devoured 13 books in a month, some over 500 pages long, and couldn't be happier. For one thing I re-discovered the absolutely amazing historical novels where fact and fiction are blended so seamlessly you never know where one ends and the other begins and where the plot and characters are so beautifully and thoroughly developed that I've been looking up places and people on the web for days now and guess what? They're all real! Another reason for happiness is that there are 2 books at the end of the series I didn't know about and the last one, written decades after the first, shows that the brilliant Anne Golon hasn't lost her touch or interest in her cast of characters. Last, but not least, I was thrilled to find out that 2 more books are coming and now I only hope that the 88-year-old author finishes them and we fans get to spend more time with the heroine who's become so real for us. We know everything will end well because so say the Tarot cards of the two little quakers but how exactly will the Sun King deal with not having his two willful vassals under his red heel? That question hasn't been answered yet and I just can't wait to find out.
I can write more, much more, but as it will not be enough will stop for now. May be later I'll talk some more about things this series has made me think about but right now I just want to tell you to go out and find these books, even though they've been out of print for the longest time, read them and discover the series that just might be impossible to categorize as a single-genre creation because it is history, adventure and romance all in one. What it is not is mediocre erotica the covers suggest it is. I would really like to know who designed those and what in the world were they thinking....