Before Versailles (Hardcover)

A Novel of Louis XIV

By Karleen Koen

Crown, 9780307716576, 480pp.

Publication Date: June 28, 2011

List Price: 26.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man—the man before Versailles?
After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.

But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe . . .

Meticulously researched and vividly brought to life by the gorgeous prose of Karleen Koen, Before Versailles dares to explore the forces that shaped an iconic king and determined the fate of an empire.

About the Author

KARLEEN KOEN is the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Through a Glass Darkly, Now Face to Face, " and "Dark Angels, " an Indie Next List Bestseller and a BookSense pick. She lives in Houston, Texas.

Praise For Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV

"In this magnificently written and researched novel, Karleen Koen brings to vibrant life the early years and loves of the future Sun King."--Jean M. Auel author of The Clan of the Cave Bear & The Land of Painted Caves

"A baroque cornucopia spilling over with intrigue, passion, jealousy, ambition, and rich historical detail, Before Versailles offers a glittering glimpse of the crucial months that shaped Louis XIV into Europe's most powerful monarch."--Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with Kings

"Before Versailles presents a grand yet intimate glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and royal at the court of the young, virile King Louis XIV.  Words to describe the cast of characters cannot do them justice:  moral yet decadent; powerful yet endangered; larger than life yet completely human.  But there is an apt word to describe Karleen Koen's latest novel:  Brilliant!"--Karen Harper, author of The Irish Princess

"Before Versailles captivated me from start to finish! With exquisite finesse, Karleen Koen weaves history and myth into a sumptuous portrait of young Louis XIV, his intrigue-laden court, and the passionate, ambitious, often dangerous women who loved him."--C.W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

"Following solidly in the footsteps of Dumas, Koen (Dark Angels) reveals independent-spirited Louise to be a modern heroine in period costume, and, with her focus on the time just before Louis becomes the unrivaled Sun King, she finds the era ripe for intrigue and romance, not to mention possible sequels."—Publishers Weekly

"[T]his is a powerful, rich telling of a few months in the life of King Louis XIV. How clever to pick these particular months when so much is changed. . . .  It's enthralling, fascinating and wonderful story telling. Karleen Koen does it again. Can't go wrong reading anything of hers. Bravo!"—Romance Reviews

"Rich with detail and action..."--Library Journal, starred review