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, 22-year-old Louis steps in to govern 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 to 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 more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe.
Meticulously researched and brought vividly 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.
©2011 Karleen Koen (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“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, New York Times best-selling author)
I am a big fan of Karleen Koen. She takes such care with her work that, unlike Philippa Gregory, she takes 4-5 years to complete a novel--no turning out formulaic pap for her! Her latest novel is a wonderful story set in the whirl of the French court. But when I first began the audiobook, I was physically startled by the extremely mismatched reader. He has a flat voice and dry style fit for reading hard-boiled mysteries, not a historical novel that takes place in the elegance of Louis XIV's world. I can think of a dozen narrators who would have been more appropriate, inculding the wonderful women who read Koen's Dark Angels and Through a Glass Darkly. Perhaps the producer felt a male narrator would be better for this story . . . but why not Samuel West or Simon Vance? Who chose this guy? What a mistake! I guess this confirms that one should ALWAYS listen to the audio sample, even for books by well-loved authors whose previously recorded books were excellent. This is the second book I've listened to recently that was nearly ruined by a bad or inappropriate narrator.
I'm not one to write a review but I really think it is warranted in this case. The writing is great I'm a big fan on Ms. Koen but the narration is terrible. The narration is just distractingly bad and it is preventing me from even finishing. I will not purchase anything with this reader again.
I am kind of shocked that such a miss match of material and reader was allowed to go forward.
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