Love and Death. Sex and Violence
Based on the scenario by Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft
British screenwriter David Wolstencroft is best known for his work on the TV series Spooks. He is the celebrated author of two spy novels. Simon Mirren has gained global acclaim for his work on the hit TV series Criminal Minds. Together, they sweep the reader away to the realm of the Sun King and unveil the secrets of the world's most beautiful palace's construction
1667: The civil wars are over. King Louis XIV crushed the nobility's rebellion against his father; the throne is his. But far from giving up, the aristocracy hounds his every step. If they will not be loyal, they will obey, no matter the cost. To ensnare them, he must spin a web: the greatest palace the world has ever seen - Versailles - a prison of opulence where his power is absolute. Trapped by his invitation, the nobles have no choice but to play Louis' game of manipulation and treachery.
Versailles is a place of passion and death, love and vengeance. The King will take what is rightfully his.
I have long been fascinated by the salacious goings on at the French court of the Sun King during the seventeenth century, so I was very excited to discover that the BBC had jointly commissioned a drama series entitled, Versailles which is all about the machinations which took place at the court of Louis XIV.
The author, Elizabeth Massie, has based Versailles on the TV series and it has to be said that the book follows the script of the drama very closely. So with that in mind I have been watching and reading simultaneously, which has been an altogether interesting experience. I now realise that I take in far more of the story when I read rather than when I watch, and if I'm honest, I think I prefer the book to the TV version, although it's good to have a visual reference to the costumes and also to the actors who are portraying the characters.
The novel is nicely written and conveys both the political and social differences between Louis and his court and courtiers. There is enough superficial background to keep the novel readable without becoming too intense, and of course, there is the delightful salaciousness which is both graphic and explicit, but if you've been watching the TV series, this is only to be expected.
I'm not altogether sure just how politically and historically accurate the novel is, but all things considered, it's entertaining and very readable historical fiction.
Best Read with....A feast of boiled duck and a glass of the cordial, Turin Rosa Solis ...
Elizabeth Massie has written several historical novels as well as the novelisation on The Tudors TV series.
My thanks to Alison Davies at Corvus for my review copy of Versailles.