Thursday, June 29, 2017

A Dark History: The Kings & Queens of Europe by Brenda Ralph Lewis, 256 pages

Beneath the splendor and sophistication of the monarchies of continental Europe are tales of scandal, mystery, and skullduggery. A Dark History: The Kings & Queens of Europe peels away the glitz to take a wry look at what really happened in the corridors, bedrooms, and dungeons of European power, from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Spanning the whole of mainland continental Europe, this history includes the burning of the Knights of Templar, Vlad the Impaler's stakes, Elizabeth Bathory's bloodbaths, Louis XV's womanizing, the mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask, King Ludwig I's doomed love affair, the suicide pact of Austro-Hungary's Crown Prince Rudolf, and the troubled life and tragic death of Princess Grace of Monaco.
Tales of murder, insanity, obsessive love, and horrific torture illuminate the troubles of royal dynasties, inter-breeding and empire, with examples drawn from Spain, Belgium, Romania, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austro-Hungary, Germany and France. Illustrated throughout with contemporary paintings and engravings alongside modern photography, A Dark History: The Kings & Queens of Europe offers a fascinating portrait of the dark side of European monarchy.
My youngest daughter bought me this as a just-because present and it was a fantastic read.

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