- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (2 Aug. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0753817845
- ISBN-13: 978-0753817841
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 4.2 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 158,225 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV Paperback – 2 Aug 2004
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The Affair of the Poisons is a beautifully researched account of this extraordinary case...With her customary intelligence and lucidity, Anne Somerset meticulously unravels this complex, fascinating affair and presents an informed opinion on what really happened. (Lucy Moore BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE (November)) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An historical page-turner - a fantastic mixture of intrigue, crime and passion.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
When this unwholeseome twosome were brought into police custody on suspicion of supplying poisons to members of the Parisian elite, they hit upon the idea of delaying their inevitable torture and execution by supplying the police with ever-increasing tales of murder and attempted murder amongst the very highest echelons of society. A sort of grotesque version of the "Arabian Nights". Eventually they implicated Madame de Montespan, a long-time mistress of the King, who had borne him no less than 7 children during her "career", but who was now past her prime, out of favour, and desperate to get back in it. She was accused of taking part in Satanic rituals in order to restore her standing at court.
All this was aided by the chief of police, who was rather too diligent in his rooting out of scandal. Eventually the situation became quite farcical, with the entire population of Paris seemingly conniving to poison each other! (I couldn't help being reminded of the Satanic Abuse scandals at the beginning of the 1990s).Read more ›
The ‘Sun’ King was everything but sunny. His main preoccupation was his ‘glory’ and, for him, this glory could only be achieved through WAR. (‘War is undoubtedly the most brilliant way to acquire glory’, ‘to increase his kingdom’s power and prestige’). He was rightly called ‘the terror of Europe’.
He sits at the root of ‘the fatal events of our times’ (E. Spanheim). During the Dutch war, many people were burned alive in their homes.
Besides war, there were the BUILDINGS: ‘nothing indicates the grandeur and spirit of princes more than buildings’ (Colbert).
Versailles was a top location, but its main characteristic was stench through extremely bad sanitation (defecations and urinations in public inside the palace) and hygiene.
For the courtiers it was a world of boredom: ‘one gets up early in the morning, one dresses oneself with care, one spends all day on one’s feet awaiting a favorable moment to get oneself seen, to present oneself, and often one comes back as one went, except that one is in despair for having wasted one’s time and trouble’. They were immensely ‘superstitious, backward and deluded’.
The court was also a ‘bordello’ for all tendencies.
The top classes were obsessed by power. The infighting to become the favorite of the King was deadly: ‘all at court would have given themselves to the devil for love of the King (Primi Visconti)’. The court was full of ‘jealousy and spite, intrigue, ambition and avarice’.Read more ›
The Affair Of The Poisons is the rarest of historical works: one which reads like a compulsively page-turning thriller; and yet is the product of painstaking and unique research from original sources. Truth has never been more clearly shown to be stranger than fiction, than in this powerful book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This books is fascinating - I had never heard of this affair before - totally unputdownable.Published 10 months ago by Cynthia Rabet
'The affair of the poisons' plunges the reader into the dark world of Paris in the late 17th century, inhabited by a bizarre cast of 'divineresses' and other cheats who sold their... Read morePublished on 4 Feb. 2013 by M. Baerends
A deeply researched and lucidly argued work about major scandal at the court of Louis XIV. The only minor niggles I have with this book are Somerset's use of the word... Read morePublished on 20 Aug. 2010 by Mrs Miniver
Enjoyed this book immensely - so much so I ordered another copy as a gift.Published on 25 Nov. 2009 by pat