The man in the iron mask in an intriguing story in the history of France. The person who brought it to light was the famous French philosopher and historian Voltaire. Legend is that when the Bastille was stormed during the French Revolution, a skeleton still wearing its iron mask and remnants of the clothing of Louis XIV's time was found in a dungeon. There is no proof the discovery was true, but the tale reverberated. It's a good story and was used by famed writer Alexandre Dumas as a tiny piece of his long plot in his saga of three musketeers. Dumas made the prisoner Louis XIV's twin brother. Voltaire conjectured that the prisoner was Louis XIV's real father, though some sources say the man was a brother. All sources say there was indeed a prisoner who had to be treated with great respect, of whom no record or name was written down, who wore, perhaps, a black silk mask because no one was allowed to see his face. In the museum of Langres there is a simple iron mask on display which is said to be the mask the famous, unknown prisoner wore. Was the man a spy, a valet, a nobody, a king's brother, a lover of a queen? No one knows the truth, and much speculation is based on letters and gossip that can't be proved. But it is what I call a "yummy" story, one that directly connects to the time of Louis XIV, and my feeling was, if Dumas can use it in his fiction, so can I. I was glad to have it; it moved the plot of Before Versailles in a way I hadn't anticipated and helped me form the character of Louise de la Baume le Blanc, or as she is better known, Louise de la Valliere.
For more detail, read The Man Behind the Iron Mask by John Noone.
Something else, eh? Certainly gives one something to ponder.
To remind you, here is the information about Before Versailles and about Ms. Koen:
About the Book:
Louis XIV is one of the best-known monarchs ever to grace the French throne. But what was he like as a young man—the man before Versailles?
After the death of his prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, twenty-two-year-old Louis steps into governing France. He’s still a young man, but one who, as king, willfully takes everything he can get—including his brother’s wife. As the love affair between Louis and Princess Henriette burns, it sets the kingdom on the road toward unmistakable scandal and conflict with the Vatican. Every woman wants him. He must face what he is willing to sacrifice for love.
But there are other problems lurking outside the chateau of Fontainebleau: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king’s finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet, has proven to be more powerful than Louis ever thought—a man who could make a great ally or become a dangerous foe . . .
Meticulously researched and vividly brought to life by the gorgeous prose of Karleen Koen, Before Versailles dares to explore the forces that shaped an iconic king and determined the fate of an empire.
About the Author:
Karleen Koen is the author of Now Face to Face andThrough a Glass Darkly, which was a New York Timesbestseller and featured a much older Alice Verney (known in that novel as the Duchess of Tamworth). The author lives in Houston, Texas.
Now for the giveaway! On lucky reader will win a copy of the new paperback release of Before Versailles! How do you win? It's easy! Just hop on the Rafflecopter! Good luck everyone!
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post.