So gorgeous was the spectacle on the May morning of 1910 when nine kings rode in the funeral of Edward VII of England that the crowd, waiting in hushed and black-clad awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration. In scarlet and blue and green and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashes, and jeweled orders flashing in the sun.
...is the beginning of Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August, her history of the opening of the first World War.
I was pretty taken with that opening, the grand spectacle, the last moment of concord before the coming storm of her subject. Perhaps the writing is a little overwrought, but it did involve nine living kings and one dead.
Book Beginnings on Fridays is a bookish meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. To play, quote the beginning of the book you're currently reading, give the author and title, and any thoughts if you like. Week #3!