Top positive review
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A sparkling biography
on 13 January 2014
Written 50 years ago this year, this biography of Louis XIV must still rank as one of the best books written about the Grand Siècle.
It is peppered with characters that peopled my French upbringing and teased my imagination from the primary school onwards like the politicians Mazarin and Colbert, the military Condé, Turenne, Vauban, Villars, the writers La Fontaine, Molière, Perrault, the women Louise De La Vallière, Athénais De Montespan, Madame De Maintenon...and Versailles of course.
Cronin succeeds in bringing to life one of the most fascinating kings of France, 72 years on the throne !
This book is a joy to read: scholarly, moving, engaging, vivid and above all extremely readable. This is narrative story at its most enthralling; it reads more like lively fiction than dry recounting of historical events.
Though some readers may find this portrait of the king as over sympathetic, this brilliantly researched book is still in my eyes a biography of the first order.