July 1789: at the eve of the revolution, occupants of Versailles live in a miniature universe, unconcerned by the increasing turmoil in Paris. But with the shocking news that someone has woken the King in the night, order begins to disintegrate and word of the fall of the Bastille seeps into court.
Madame Agathe-Sidonie Laborde, the devoted reader for Marie Antoinette, refuses to leave her queen’s side. She watches as the Queen’s attempts to flee are aborted; her most intimate friend betrays her; and the King, appearing to sleepwalk through this crisis, never alters his routine of visiting the Apollo Salon several times a day to consult a giant crystal thermometer. From the tiniest garret to the Hall of Mirrors, where Marie Antoinette stands alone and terrified in the dark, Chantal Thomas creates an intimate portrait of the woman who, like “fire in motion,” was at the center of a world on the edge of oblivion.