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Karleen Koen's latest novel, a celebration of France's vibrant, young Louis XIV before he became the icon of the seventeenth century.

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 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.

But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleu: 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...


"This is a powerful rich telling of a few months in the life of King Louis XIV." Romance Reviews; Historical Novel Society Editors' Pick.


A big story about Louis XIV has been brewing since my second novel. A piece of all that intrigued me was used in Dark Angels. Here is another piece of the immense story that is his life.


"Among best historical fiction of 2011..." RT Book Reviews, Library Journal,

"Following solidly in the footsteps of Dumas, Koen...finds the era ripe for intrigue and romance." — Publishers Weekly

"Enthralling, fascinating and wonderful storytelling. Karleen Koen does it again. Can't go wrong reading anything of hers. Bravo!" — Romance Reviews

"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

"A 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 Mistress of the Vatican

"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 bestselling author of the Earth Children Series