Louis XIV was the greatest of all French monarchs. Coming to the throne at the age of five, he ruled for 72 years and presided over the finest flourishing of French culture and one of its greatest periods of expansionist and military glory. This biography uses contemporary sources to examine the sort of monarch Louis XIV really was. The book provides an overview of the entire civilization inspired by and reflecting the glory of the Sun King and so, while the character of Louis himself remains in the foreground, artists like Racine, Moliere, Lully and Mansart (the architect of Versailles) share the middle-ground with politicians such as Cardinal Mazarin and courtiers such as the King's mistress, Louise de la Valliere. Vincent Cronin's gracefully written biography of Le Roi Soleil, founded on Cronin's deep knowledge of this period of French history, provides an illuminating portrait of the king and his court.