Michael Farquhar presents scandalous, often appalling, tales from the lives of various royalty, popes and Roman emperors throughout history, The book is divided into sections like sex, bad parents, bad marriages, etc.
Some stories, such as Catherine the Great’s lusty appetites (horse not included), Rasputin’s hold over the last Romanovs, and Henry VIII’s 6 marriages will likely be familiar to most, but most of the tales will probably be unfamiliar to all but the most devoted royal fanatic. I had read or heard of most of the stories before (because I am that aforementioned royal fanatic), but the section on the popes really surprised me with the amount of debauchery and depravity many exhibited.
This book is an easy, quick read, and Farquhar’s tone is breezy and irreverant. I’d rate it higher if I hadn’t known most of the stories already.
If royal debauchery and sex intrigues you, try Eleanor Herman’s Sex with Kings.