The Iron King (Accursed Kings Series #1)

The Iron King (Accursed Kings Series #1)

3.8 40
by Maurice Druon
     
 

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‘This is the original game of thrones’ George R.R. MartinFrom the publishers that brought you A Game of Thrones comes the series that inspired George R.R. Martin’s epic work.“Accursed! Accursed! You shall be accursed to the thirteenth generation!”The Iron King – Philip the Fair – is as cold and silent, as handsome and

Overview

‘This is the original game of thrones’ George R.R. MartinFrom the publishers that brought you A Game of Thrones comes the series that inspired George R.R. Martin’s epic work.“Accursed! Accursed! You shall be accursed to the thirteenth generation!”The Iron King – Philip the Fair – is as cold and silent, as handsome and unblinking as a statue. He governs his realm with an iron hand, but he cannot rule his own family: his sons are weak and their wives adulterous; while his red-blooded daughter Isabella is unhappily married to an English king who prefers the company of men.A web of scandal, murder and intrigue is weaving itself around the Iron King; but his downfall will come from an unexpected quarter. Bent on the persecution of the rich and powerful Knights Templar, Philip sentences Grand Master Jacques Molay to be burned at the stake, thus drawing down upon himself a curse that will destroy his entire dynasty…

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘Iron kings and strangled queens, battles and betrayals, lies and lust, the curse of the Templars, the doom of a great dynasty – and all of it (well, most of it) straight from the pages of history, and believe me, the Starks and the Lannisters have nothing on the Capets and Plantagenets. Whether you are a history buff or a fantasy fan, Druon's epic will keep you turning pages. This was the original game of thrones’ George R.R. Martin‘Blood-curdling tale of intrigue, murder, corruption and sexual passion’ The Sunday Times‘Dramatic and colourful as a Dumas romance but stiffened by historical accuracy and political insight’ The Sunday Times‘Barbaric, sensual, teeming with life, based in wide reading and sound scholarship…among the best historical novels’ The Times Literary Supplement
Library Journal
This first book in a seven-part historical series that chronicles the beginnings of the Hundred Years' War and the fall of the Capetian kings sets the foreboding mood and relentless slow-march tempo that drives the characters forward to their dooms or noble destinies. At its heart is the French monarch, Philip the Fair (1268–1314), grandson of Saint Louis, who rules with an iron fist; it's his persecution of the Knights Templar, including burning its Grand Master at the stake, that sets the stage for his downfall. Adding to the intrigue is Druon's marvelous depiction of the swirl of those lives that move around him. The Iron King can be only as strong as those who serve him, after all. VERDICT Seasoned with sex, betrayal, brutal warfare, cold pragmatic calculating, and curses from the lips of martyrs dying at the stake, this tale cuts a memorable swath through the reader's imagination. The flavor of the times, the smells, sounds, values, and superstitions give this work a fine readability as well as a sensation of reality. With an introduction by George R.R. Martin, who cites this French epic series as an influence on his Game of Thrones, Druon's acclaimed work (first published in 1955) will find an audience with fans of historical fiction and Martin.—Russell Miller, Prescott P.L., AZ
Kirkus Reviews
Sex, intrigue and betrayal in the last days of the reign of Phillip the Fair of France. After losing a lawsuit to his aunt, the Countess Mahaut, 14th-century French nobleman Robert III of Artois feels cheated out of lands and a title that he feels should rightfully be his. He decides to take revenge against his aunt via her two daughters and her young cousin, who are married to the king's three sons. Unfortunately for them, Robert is aware that Marguerite, Mahaut's cousin, and Blanche, her daughter, are currently having affairs with two young gentlemen at court, while Jeanne, another daughter, helps to facilitate their trysts. Robert hatches a plot to expose the affairs, aided by his cousin Isabella, who also happens to be Phillip the Fair's daughter, unhappily married to King Edward II of England. But if the plot succeeds, the succession of the throne of France, and thus the realm itself, could be thrown into chaos. Hanging over all of this is the curse of the Grand Master of the Order of Knights Templar, Jacques De Molay, who, while burning at the stake, used his dying breath to curse his tormentors, including King Phillip, to die by the end of the year. Druon, who himself died in 2009, captures the times in this, the first of a seven-book series about the descendants of Phillip the Fair and the start of the Hundred Years' War, which was originally published in French in the 1950s and '60s. The level of historic detail is astounding, and Druon masterfully brings his characters to life. Much of this book is presumably designed to set the stage for the rest of the series, and as a result, dozens of players are introduced, which can be overwhelming. Druon helpfully includes a detailed list of characters, though, as well as a family tree, to help readers untangle the often complicated familial and political relationships. Readers who do so will be richly rewarded. Historical fiction that reads like epic fantasy. Great stuff.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780007491261
Publisher:
HarperCollins UK
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Series:
Accursed Kings Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
61,399
Product dimensions:
5.09(w) x 7.66(h) x 0.88(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
‘Iron kings and strangled queens, battles and betrayals, lies and lust, the curse of the Templars, the doom of a great dynasty – and all of it (well, most of it) straight from the pages of history, and believe me, the Starks and the Lannisters have nothing on the Capets and Plantagenets. Whether you are a history buff or a fantasy fan, Druon's epic will keep you turning pages. This was the original game of thrones’ George R.R. Martin‘Blood-curdling tale of intrigue, murder, corruption and sexual passion’ The Sunday Times‘Dramatic and colourful as a Dumas romance but stiffened by historical accuracy and political insight’ The Sunday Times‘Barbaric, sensual, teeming with life, based in wide reading and sound scholarship…among the best historical novels’ The Times Literary Supplement

Meet the Author

Maurice Druon was a French resistance hero, a Knight of the British Empire and a holder of the Grand Croix de la Légion d'Honneur. He was also a member of the Académie française and a celebrated novelist, best known for his series of seven historical novels under the title of The Accursed Kings, which were twice adapted for television. A passionate Anglophile, he was a great expert on all things English, including its medieval history, which provides great inspiration for the series. His many and diverse fans include George RR Martin, Nicolas Sarkozy and Vladimir Putin.

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Iron King 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Iron King is an outstanding example of haunting historical fiction, the first of seven novels that this reviewer is now eager to appreciate. The easy transition from light and dark topics of history and human nature arranged with solid dramatization and historical figures created an unexpected find for this reviewer. With all the shadowy depths of political intrigue, corresponding court and the turmoil that eventually devoured those figures of the 14th century, The Iron King had me reading long into the night. The Iron King is a fast paced saga that is sure to entertain as well as enlighten readers on the brutal savagery and corrupt practices conducted during Europe in the 14th century. A warning to the eager reader, The Iron King is light on character building and focuses more on: plot, drama, successions of revenge, murder, graphic torture and its political "necessity". Abandon all notions on finding a fluffy read here, Mr. Druon has left a dramatic stamp on the historical fiction genre that will stay with the reader days after finishing.
mermao More than 1 year ago
George R.R. Martin says that Druon's work is part of the inspiration for Game of Thrones. Unlike GOT, the Iron King and the following volumes of The Accursed Kings series are largely historically true and well documented. Plenty of real world sex and violence, but no dragons. Of special interest is the working out of the curse shouted by Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay as he was being burned at the stake.
Bethwolf More than 1 year ago
Well written historical fiction.  I enjoyed it very much.  I wish the following books in the series were available in English as nook books.
BelievesRIF More than 1 year ago
I've always read English history novels.  This is a great blend of history and story and held my attention.  I've just ordered the second in the series to see how the family fairs.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
INSIGHTFUL The attraction of this novel to me was giving character to King Philip IV, the Iron King, those involved in and affected by the elimination of the Templars, and some insight into the early 1300s. The seven book series written by Druon was subtitled, “The Accursed Kings” because of the supposed impact of the curse of Jacques De Molay, the Templar Grand Master on his tormentors as he was burning to death. In fact, those Jacques De Molay condemned to God for punishment before the year was out, Guillaume De Nogaret (supposedly poisoned), the Secretary General, Pope Clement V, and King Philip, did indeed die before year end. Druon avoided characterizing King Philip as simply a greedy tyrant, bitter over not being granted admission into the Templars. His elimination of the Templars may have been motivated in part by greed, expediency and vengeance, or religious zeal, but it may also have been consistent with his occasional attempts to break out of the old order of the chivalric three estates. Much of the book is also devoted to the intrigue associated with the adulterous activities of his son’s wives which led to the imprisonment for life of two of them and the forced admission of the third into a nunnery. Another sub-plot provides insight into how the government borrowed money from Lombard bankers and a scandal involving embezzlement by an archbishop of resources seized from the Templars. I also found it interesting that King Philip often examined his sons and their fitness for rule and found them severely lacking. Despite George R. R. Martin’s indication that “The Accursed Kings” influenced his “Song of Ice and Fire” series, this is a historical fiction novel from another era. It is not as fast paced, bloody, or “in your face” as much modern historical fiction or fantasy. However, the insight and characterization are as valid today as they were in 1956.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a bad read, this book sparked interest in subjects I've never thought much about, like the role the Templars played in creating guilds and leading to freemasonry. I think I enjoyed the historical notes more than the story.
anonymously More than 1 year ago
This is just the first book about this nasty family in the set. And it just keeps getting better and better
Anonymous 4 months ago
Enjoyed it!
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Very much enjoyed this book. Glad I will get to read 5 more!
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