The book under review is the first comprehensive institutional study of the French Royal court in the 16th century. The court is presented in V.V. Shishkin’s work as a complex social phenomenon, a self-sufficient institution, instrumental in state administration and representation of King’s power. Its institutional development is discussed in a wider context of French political history of the 16th century, genesis of an early absolutist regime and formation of so called ‘new monarchy’, with its specific ideology and Neoplatonic ideals. Further evolution of the court is traced against a background of serious challenges from the political opponents of the Crown and religious zealots of various confessions, which eventually led to the civil wars, decay of monarchical power and crisis of the court as an institution of power and embodiment of absolutist monarchy.