The Cardinal is Richelieu, and the Queen is Anne of Austria, and, according to Evelyn Anthony, again according to the ""view of contemporaries,"" this dark eminence fathered her son the sun-king, although this is difficult to establish. As is really the unromantic-romantic contention of this novel--namely the twenty year love of Richelieu for Anne--which she has resurrected from some less known oubliette. Here Anne is first seen as a young girl, married to the sallow, glum, .sexually listless Louis who rarely gave her the time of day or night; the recipient of the passionate protestations of Richelieu which revolted her; also the acknowledged adoration of the attractive Duke of Buckingham, a ""futile denial"" later regretted. Isolated in the Louvre for years, neglected, humiliated, persecuted but protected (for his own later use) by Richelieu, Anne had a sorry life and, only after her accusation by Richelieu (of having spied for Spain) submitted to his visitations and, well, Cardinal sin. Miss Anthony does a better job with neo-history (earlier panels on the courts of England) than with outright fiction (her more recent novels), enlists sympathy not so much for Anne as for the circumstances of her life.