Philip Mansel

King of the World

King of the World

The Life of Louis XIV

Summary

Winner of the Franco-British Society Book Prize 2019

'The ultimate biography of the Sun King' Simon Sebag Montefiore

Louis XIV dominated his age. He extended France's frontiers into Netherlands and Germany, and established colonies overseas. The stupendous palace he built at Versailles became the envy of monarchs all over Europe. In his palaces, Louis encouraged dancing, hunting, music and gambling. He loved conversation, especially with women: the power of women in Louis's life and reign is a particular theme of this book. Louis was obsessed by the details of government but the cost of building palaces and waging continuous wars devastated the country's finances and helped set it on the path to revolution. Nevertheless, by his death, he had helped make his grandson king of Spain, where his descendants still reign, and France had taken essentially the shape it has today.

King of the World is the most comprehensive and up-to-date biography of this hypnotic, flawed figure in English. It draws on all the latest research to paint a convincing and compelling portrait of a man who, three hundred years after his death, still epitomises the idea of le grand monarque.