• Sex with Kings

  • 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
  • By: Eleanor Herman
  • Narrated by: Beaux Johnson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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. 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 tale of passion and politics chronicles 500 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. From Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who kept her position for 19 years despite her frigidity, to modern-day Camilla Parker-Bowles, who usurped 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.

Financial rewards for services rendered were of royal proportions - some earned up to $200 million in titles, pensions, jewels, and palaces. Some kings allowed their mistresses unlimited political power.

But for all its grandeur, a royal court was a scorpion's nest of insatiable greed, unquenchable lust, and vicious ambition. 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. Sex with Kings is a chapter of women's history that has remained unwritten - until now.

©2004 Eleanor Herman (P)2020 Gabbard Publishing

What listeners say about Sex with Kings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Monotonous and sing songy narration

I was very interested in the subject but simply could not finish the book. I have listened to over 300 Audibles and this was by far the worst. I would like to think it was all down to the pitiful narration because I love this kind of history. Hmm, I hope it wasn't the sex that was monotonous.

However, this book makes a great sleep aid. Insomniacs take note! This book will have you asleep in less than 15 minutes. The narrator has a habit of raising his pitch every three or four words. Well, perhaps not that often, but what is that all about?

I am thinking perhaps as a form of recovery, I will have to find a simple minded cozy to read next. lol

Sadly I did not make it through half the book. On reflection, I think I have been way too generous on the overall rating, but I will leave it as is.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting European history

This was definitely a twist on your typical European history, but one worth recognizing because these women had such a massive impact on the world, largely from behind the scenes. While it got a little difficult to keep everyone straight, the overall image stuck and this book definitely had me gasping at a couple salacious facts. It was very interesting to see laid out how morality adapted and how these women thrived (or didn’t) under intense cultural standards, misogyny, sexism, and blatant assault. It definitely lent complexity to women who are generally only seen as women sleeping with men in power through history. The only thing I would’ve liked is a contrast or follow up books showing the same concept but in other cultures such as Asia, the US, India, South America, the Middle East and Africa.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Entertaining book, so-so narration

the narrator seems completely unfamiliar with French pronunciation, which is a problem when much of the text covers royal mistresses in the French court. There were also recurring mispronunciations of historical English names that speaks to a lack of preparation by the narrator and the production as all these things can be looked up easily. I’m usually pretty forgiving of specific pronunciation issues in nonfiction audiobooks, but this time it became a major distraction as the book went on. The repetitive intonation also drew negative attention to the performance, rather than letting the text speak or elevating it.

Content-wise, this subject is a little less interesting to me than the author’s book on poisoning, but the writing style remains enjoyable.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Love The Art of Poison, this one disappoints

I love the book after this by the same author, but Sex with Kings is poorly laid out but very interesting.
I do not like the narration of this book. The inflection is wrong and makes it difficult to pay attention to the book.