Merivel, the kind of guy who pawns his medical instruments to buy time with prostitutes, starts out as a pretty loathsome chap. However, he's also a pretty talented (and daring) physician, and after healing the King's beloved spaniel, he is brought into the fold of nobility. But the story then takes an inexplicable turn as Merivel is given a knighthood and coerced to marry the King's mistress, Celia (Polly Walker), and then promptly falls in love with her.
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