Sex with Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge

Sex with Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge

by Eleanor Herman
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Overview

Sex with Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge by Eleanor Herman

Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering tale of passion and politics chronicles five hundred years of scintillating women and the kings who loved them.

Curiously, the main function of a royal mistress was not to provide the king with sex but with companionship. Forced to marry repulsive foreign princesses, kings sought solace with women of their own choice. And what women they were! From Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who kept her position for nineteen years despite her frigidity, to modern-day Camilla Parker-Bowles, who usurped none other than the glamorous Diana, Princess of Wales.

The successful royal mistress made herself irreplaceable. She was ready to converse gaily with him when she was tired, make love until all hours when she was ill, and cater to his every whim. Wearing a mask of beaming delight over any and all discomforts, she was never to be exhausted, complaining, or grief-stricken.

True, financial rewards for services rendered were of royal proportions -- some royal mistresses earned up to $200 million in titles, pensions, jewels, and palaces. Some kings allowed their mistresses to exercise unlimited political power. But for all its grandeur, a royal court was a scorpion's nest of insatiable greed, unquenchable lust, and vicious ambition. Hundreds of beautiful women vied to unseat the royal mistress. Many would suffer the slings and arrows of negative public opinion, some met with tragic ends and were pensioned off to make room for younger women. But the royal mistress often had the last laugh, as she lived well and richly off the fruits of her "sins."

From the dawn of time, power has been a mighty aphrodisiac. With diaries, personal letters, and diplomatic dispatches, Eleanor Herman's trailblazing research reveals the dynamics of sex and power, rivalry and revenge, at the most brilliant courts of Europe. Wickedly witty and endlessly entertaining, Sex with Kings is a chapter of women's history that has remained unwritten -- until now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061751554
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/17/2009
Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 147,364
File size: 696 KB

About the Author

The author of Sex with Kings and Sex with the Queen, New York Times bestselling historian Eleanor Herman has hosted episodes for the National Geographic Channel and the History Channel's Lost Worlds. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, she is married and lives in McLean, Virginia.

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Sex with Kings 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
PiggityPig More than 1 year ago
At time I too felt that this book was disjointed, however, that doesnt mean it wasnt a good read. I truly enjoyed this book, its fun to get into the nitty gritty of things at times. I've used Herman's books as well as Farquhar's books to occasionally break up my more serious reading. You will learn a lot reading these books, but its fluffier than some other books. I look forward to reading her book about the female pope!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a disappointing read. It's written in a casual, almost blog-type or Enquirer style, which shoots all over the place to the point that it made my head spin. It would have flowed more smoothly had it been written chronologically, but instead, the author chose to write the chapters by subject. The readers would have been better served had the author written about the monarchs from a historical perspective. I was hoping that I would have learned something about history while getting the scoop about the sex life of monarchs, but instead I was inundated by a constant jumping around through the centuries. It really could have been a great read, as the subject matter is juicy, but sadly it just left me yearning for a better book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a fun little ditty. The relatively short chapters make it good light reading. The intriguing title made me want to read, but I was greatly disappointed. I agree with a previous reviewer when she stated that more in depth research could have made this a better book. I also found the book to be repetitive in many places, restating facts (ex. pompadour was a sickly women)in practically every chapter. Additonally this book lacked organization, which made it harder to read. One was constantly jumping around from country to country and over many different time spans. The chapter headings are clearly not enough to make this mess organized. Overall this was a fun book, but nothing I would recall a year from now.
Illyrah More than 1 year ago
This book is The Star of history books... which is perfect for me! I think too often people try to be overly academic in the history writing and research; history should not always be glorified they had their drama everyday as us. This book is great for relaxed and enjoyable reading. Its incredibly entertaining. At times it seems disjointed in its presentation, however, its not so bad as to detract from the book or her great deal of research. I look forward to reading more of her books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay! I have finished this book and loved it. I highly recommend it if you are interrested in the behind the sceens life of the royalites. I'm going to pick up Sex with a Queen as soon as I leave work!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have not even finished this book yet and realy love it. It is very informative and entertaining. I read a lot of historical fiction on the monarchs and just about every story includes one mistress or another. This book takes you deeper into the functionality of the mistress and how she got to her status and/or may have lost it.
AnaMardoll More than 1 year ago
Because B&N doesn't support line breaks in reviews, my lengthy review for the (5-star) content of this book can be found elsewhere online. This review will focus on the formatting of the eBook at time of writing (03/30/2011). This eBook is extremely well-formatted - I never noticed any errors in the text nor in the table of contents links. However, the paperback copy of this book has several full page color pictures of the kings and their mistresses, whereas in the eBook format the pictures have apparently been left out entirely, which was disappointing. Otherwise, this is an extremely well-formatted eBook with no major flaws.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and well researched. A guilty pleasure you won´t want to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got a kick out of this book, and not just from the eyebrows raised when people saw it in my bookshelves. It is a fast, easy read that details the life and times of some of the women behind 'great' men. I found it incredibly eye opening, especially from a standpoint of fiscal (ir)responsibility. I found the book to be a tad redundant in some places...the same mistress and her story was mentioned multiple times with no new information. But, overall, I recommend this book to people who enjoy somewhat obscure niches of history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the author could have done more. what drives a powerful man to adultery? What sexually satifed these powerful men? What about some dirty little bedroom secrets of the most powerful men of there time? As readers we were only given the most mundane of sexs acts ' one dirty little Frenchmen with a toe fetish' there has to be more. I also could have used a little more of the authors personal views her voice not unlike an automated phone answering machine 'just the facts mam'. I removed the dust jacket so as not to look like a perv reading somthing with the word SEX in four inch red letters. This is probly a good coversation starter at the local starbucks but with out the depth this subject could have the book left me looking for more.
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running_n_place More than 1 year ago
This is absolutely one of my favorite books, and I recommend it to my friends all the time!  I couldn't put this book down, and I have read it several times since.  Absolutely on the top of my list of favorites!
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