Louis, the fourteenth of that name, is a young king. Though he is destined to be a great king, he faces many challenges. France's coffers are empty, while the finance minister has enough money to build grand houses and buy warships. There have been mysterious sightings of a boy in a iron mask in the woods surrounding Fountainbleu. Louis, who is the most powerful and attractive man at court, is in love with his brother's wife, Madame Henriette. Louis worries about being usurped by the growing power of Viscount Nicholas, the Finance Minister. He also is worried about the identity of the boy behind the mask, and is trying to placate his brother and mother. To create a diversion, Henriette suggests that Louis start flirting with women at court. Louise de la Baume de Blanc, Henriette's maid in waiting, is a good diversion. New at Court, Louise is a rare gem who doesn't covet gems or power.
The struggle for power in France creates a rich story. The beginning of the book is a bit slow, but pay attention. You will need all the background information that you can get. The French Court is teeming with those who have ulterior motives, and it can be a challenge to keep up with everyone's secret agendas. The book quickly picks up and becomes VERY interesting. I loved all the secret love affairs and spying. Louise is a wonderful character in the book, and her years as maîtresse-en-titre would make a wonderful sequel. Louis is wonderfully sympathetic and romantic. I can see how all the women at court were in love with him. I would love to see more novels about the Sun King and the women in his life.