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The Iron King (The Accursed Kings, #1)
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The Iron King (Les Rois Maudits #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  5,618 ratings  ·  460 reviews
“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
Paperback, 340 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Harper Collins (first published 1955)
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"During his reign, France was a great country, and the French were the most miserable of all people."
George R.R. Martin has apparently called The Accursed Kings, a seven-book historical novel series by Maurice Druon, 'the original game of thrones'. Which pretty much means that soon everyone and their grandma will be reading these.
Well, for once I'm the cool kid (ahem, I mean, nerdy overachiever, of course) who can say - Well, I first read¹ these books years ago, having spent every penny of my
Jeffrey Keeten
“It must be admitted that such things were common coin of the period. Kingdoms were often handed over to adolescents, whose absolute power fascinated them as might a game. Hardly grown out of the age in which it is fun to tear the wings from flies, they might now amuse themselves by tearing the heads from men. Too young to fear or even imagine death, they would not hesitate to distribute it around them.”

 photo Philippe_IV-of-France_zpse39ef6f8.jpg
Philippe IV, the Fair, of France

Philip IV, known as Philip the Fair, came to the throne at
Maya Panika
Enough is enough. I'm giving up on this book. I - as I'm sure were many others - was lured into reading this on the promise of George RR Martin's recommendation: `This was the original Game of Thrones'. It wasn't, not even close. It's a history book disguised as a novel, written in a tedious and childish style.

Harsh, I know. In its defence, it's an old book (1955) that's been recently re-launched and it's a translation - either or both of these elements could be the reason why this book didn't w
So, this is being marketed as "the original Game of Thrones". With blurbs and a new introduction from George R.R. Martin himself. What an eye-catching endorsement! I was sold.

Well, yes and no. It's actually quite different than GoT. But at the same time, I can see where it's an influence on Martin's story. Not the only one, but it's certainly there.

That said, it's quite an enjoyable novel. It has held up well over time (published in 1955 originally) and survived translation (from French). It mov
The Iron King is set in 1314, the year in which the Trial of the Templars reached its conclusion, and the French court was shocked by the Tower of Nesle affair. If you know what happens in these events, this novel is not for you. Prior knowledge will reduce the book to a travelogue featuring nothing but the drabbest of landmarks.

The Iron King is Philip IV, called the Fair, ostensibly because he’s as pretty (and as sentimental) as a statue. Philip is obsessed with strengthening the monarchy of Fr
Mogsy (MMOGC)
George R. R. Martin once wrote in a blog post that if you love his A Song of Ice and Fire series and are looking for "something like it", then you really need to check out The Iron King by Maurice Druon. In the newest edition of the book's foreword, he calls it the "original game of thrones" and credits it for being one of the great historical novels that inspired his own epic series.

Even if I hadn't known all this, the parallels are clear; this is only the first book of The Accursed Kings seri

The Iron King has recently resurged in popularity. When I added this book to my 'to-read' shelf after noticing plenty of these new copies at my local bookstore only a handful of my friends had marked it as to read. Likewise only 20 reviews existed. Now that number has increased by five times the previous amount.

The major reason for this, has to go down to no, not the fact that I picked it up and read it the fact that this new edition is being recommended by G.R.R. Martin, who rarely seems to pro
Espectacular, increíble la manera de escribir de este autor. Te deja con ganas de más. Incluso a los que no les gusta la historia les va a encantar. Cuando termine los 7 hago una evaluación como corresponde, ahora es imposible.
May 16, 2013 Nermin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nermin by: George R.R. Martin :P
Like many people, I decided to pick this up after GRRM's recommendation. In one of his blog post he calles this book the 'original Game of Thrones'. Well, I could spot some similarities but despite it and GRMM's claims, I really don't think A Song of Ice and Fire resembles this book. So if you pick this up expecting another GoT, you may be slightly disappointed.

But just like A song of Ice and fire series, this book is full of court intrigues, betrayals, gruesome executions and sex sex sex. Need
“The Iron King” by Maurice Druon follows the intrigues, passions, murders, and backstabbing within the French dynasty in the 1300s. It was originally published in French in the 1950s, and is the first book in the Accursed Kings series (there are seven in all, and they follow the story of the dynasty after it’s—you guessed it, cursed—in the first book, by the unfairly executed Grand Master Jacques de Molay).

I like historical fiction novels, and Druon’s series was very popular when it was initiall
The Iron King is the first in the series of novels known as The Accursed Kings, originally written in French by Maurice Druon in 1955. Dubbed by George R.R. Martin as 'the original Game of Thrones', they have recently been translated into English by Humphrey Hare and are being re-released by Harper books.

I have to confess something. I bought this book because I liked the cover. That's it. They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but with this one I did.

Thankfully, I really enjoyed this
As Druon opens his series in the early 14th century, much is taking place in France. Philip IV has ultimate control of his subjects and has married his daughter, Isabella, to the King of England in hopes of holding some degree of control on the other side of the Channel. Philip has finally captured the leadership of the Knights Templar and is set to bestow the ultimate punishment, with the backing of the Church, to uphold his image as the Iron King. Even while Parisians support the religious gro ...more
“This is the original Game of Thrones,” or so says the man who would know, George R.R. Martin, and The Iron King certainly has more than its share of murder, adultery, conspiracy, star-crossed lovers and bloody-minded cruelty. The only thing it doesn’t have is dragons (unless you count the ones on heraldic devices). It’s an account of the last days of the Capetian dynasty of France, when the feudal society of the Middle Ages was giving way to the modern state, and England and France became locke ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

A fascinating look at the events during the reign of France's Philip IV, and which directly led to the Hundred Years War between England and France. A bit dry, but long on detail and intrigue, and with an impressively large cast, The Iron King's influence on later novels, across genres, is undeniable. Widely read and recognized, Druon's epic work has been published and republished in the 50 years since it first came to be, but its story is as fresh
I can see why George RR Martin has chosen to call this the original Game of Thrones, obviously the history of the Hundred Years War can be seen as a partial inspiration for the title of his first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series. However this first book from Maurice Druon's series makes for a more laboured read. I'm not sure if it is the translation that is the issue with it, but I thought that it fluctuated between rather florid and rather dry styles. The period in which it was written m ...more
This was a fabulous, fast-paced book covering the year 1314. Phillip the Fair of France decides to burn the Grand Master of the Templar Knights, not his first cruel act of so-called justice in the name of the crown but certainly one of his last. There is not a dull moment in this novel between scheming Isabella, who wants everyone to be as miserable as she is, the naive and selfish Burgundian princesses, and all those who are vying for the position of the king's right hand man. While the charact ...more
We tend to be overwhelmed in the U.S. by historical fiction about the British Isles, so this glimpse into the royal court of France in the 14th century was a nice change of pace. Also, there's a link to the English throne through Philip the IV's daughter, Isabella, so the Anglophiles out there will be mollified as well.

The book takes a number of different perspectives, following Philip IV (the titular character), the Grand Master of the Knights Templar (in the interest of full disclosure I shoul
The Iron King by Maurice Druon is a historical novel that is about to be read by a large number of fantasy readers, mostly on the strength of a little quote by one George R.R. Martin on its cover. Ready for it? Here it comes: “This is the original Game of Thrones.”

I have to admire the decision to place this quote at the very top of this book cover, because there is no other way that an almost sixty-year-old historical novel set mostly in 14th Century France would cross over to fantasy fans as su
John Connolly
Okay, so the George R. R. Martin intro sold me a little, as he credits this with some of the inspiration for A Song of Ice and Fire. This is the first novel of a series of seven, I believe, written in French and begun in the 1950s, and dealing with the Hundred Years War between France and England. It is interesting to pick up on the elements that Martin borrowed for his own series (the litany of names that the Templar Jacques de Molay repeatedly utters to remind himself of those who have wronged ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
A fun romp through medieval France (to be specific, 1314). Recommended.

For a further review: .
This book has a different writing style from most of the books I read; it was written in French and translated into English. Even though translated, it has a very French feel; the author uses a lot of French words and place names. It is a good book to read on an iPad where I can quickly get a definition of an unknown word, and I can use Google Earth to find Rue Bordonnaise in Paris when a character goes to a candlemaker there to arrange a death. Very interesting book about Phillip IV of France, ...more
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Long, long ago, in a time far off, when culture was an everyday event on the BBC, I watched a superb French mini-series, "Les Rois Maudits". A single episode still exists on YouTube. It was set in early 14th Century France and chronicIed the machinations and slippery weaving that took place in the court of the last Capetian Kings. These years are overshadowed by the cloud of a curse, the curse of the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, persecuted and hounded because they had grown too powerful ...more
Jason Golomb
"History is a novelthat has been lived, anovelishistorythat could have been."
E. & J. DE Goncourt

A few months ago, I decided to re-read George RR Martin's wonderful "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I wanted to catch up with his amazingly flawed characters, foibles and all, remind myself of the primary plots, and catch the myriad of subplots that I missed the first time around. I got through "Game of Thrones" and "Clash of Kings" before I needed to take a little breather.

I poked around the int
Lydia Presley
I love good historic fiction and, when I saw that George R.R. Martin endorsed The Iron King, I figured I'd be in for a good ride. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.

I don't know why exactly this story fell short for me. There are several things I can think of that are just small things that got to me, but it is quite possible that all those small things just added up to me not enjoying myself while reading this book.

The first thing was the language. It may have been a translation issue (
As a moderate fan of RR Martin and a HUGE fan of historical fiction, I began “The Iron King” with considerable excitement. In Martin’s exalting intro he describes how he delights in a particular piece of praise given to his “Song of Fire and Ice”: that it was “historical fiction that never happened.” And he has perhaps more of a point than he thinks: often the same qualities that contribute to excellent historical fiction – that sense of an immersive, vibrantly real world – lay just as much at t ...more
No, I did NOT decide to read this because of George R.R. Martin; I was not enamored of his GoT! I wanted a sense of medieval France [most medieval historical fiction novels seem to be set in England and this was something unusual. And, I thought to pick up a little French history along the way.] The characters were absolutely unloveable: from Philip the Fair down to his dysfunctional family and courtiers. Everyone is absolutely selfish, hedonistic, manipulative, cruel, and some are even amoral. ...more
I read the Iron King because it was highly recommended by George R.R. Martin, author of the acclaimed Song of Ice and Fire series. Coming with the expectation of a complex story set in medieval times, I was not disappointed by the great prose. The book deals with the decision from the king of France Phillips the Fair to burn a few (very important) Knights Templars for heresy. The book details how the decision was made for economic reasons and with the king thinking it would be a good decision in ...more
The 7 novels Les Rois maudits by Maurice Druon take place during the reigns of the last five Direct Capetian kings and the first two Valois kings, from Philip the Fair to John II. The plot revolves around the attempts of Robert of Artois to reclaim the county of Artois from his aunt Mahaut.

The book's characters are colorful and larger than life, but also have depth. The narration is gripping and very much plot-driven, whether a conspiracy to assassinate the King or an exuberant teenager's search
Chrstina Scholtz
I finished this book in record time and just loved it, a good reminder of why I enjoy Historical Fiction but also a reminder of how rare it is to find a really good one.

The Iron King tells the story of France during the reign of King Phillip IV (The Fair) and the events that lead up to the 100 year wars. The book starts during the 7th year of the Templar's prosecution. The prosecution of the Knights Templar is a part of history that has always held endless fascination for me and I enjoyed the wr
Jaime Ibarra
Druon realiza un muy buen trabajo transportándote a una época de intrigas, engaños y convenientes alianzas, en donde el honor, la justicia e incluso el amor se ven oscurecidos en estos tenebrosos años.

Hay pasajes impresionantes, prácticamente puedes sentir a los templarios quemándose en la hoguera y el encuentro fugaz entre la reina Isabel y su primo Roberto apelan a dos de las emociones mas sensibles a los humanos: el terror y la pasión.

Sólida historia de cabo a rabo, con ganas de seguir descub
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Maurice Druon was born in Paris. He is the nephew of the writer Joseph Kessel, with whom he wrote the Chant des Partisans, which, with music composed by Anna Marly, was used as an anthem by the French Resistance during the Second World War.

In 1948 he received the Prix Goncourt for his novel Les grandes familles. On December 8, 1966, he was elected to the 30th seat of the Académie française, succee
More about Maurice Druon...

Other Books in the Series

Les Rois Maudits (7 books)
  • The Strangled Queen (Los Reyes Malditos, #2)
  • Los venenos de la corona (Los Reyes Malditos, #3)
  • La ley de los varones (Los Reyes Malditos, #4)
  • La loba de Francia (Los Reyes Malditos, #5)
  • La flor de lis y el león (Los Reyes Malditos, #6)
  • De como un rey perdió Francia (Los Reyes Malditos, #7)
The Strangled Queen (Los Reyes Malditos, #2) Los venenos de la corona (Los Reyes Malditos, #3) La ley de los varones (Los Reyes Malditos, #4) La loba de Francia (Los Reyes Malditos, #5) La flor de lis y el león (Los Reyes Malditos, #6)

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“Every man believes to some extent that the world began when he was born and, at the moment of leaving it, suffers at having to let the Universe remain unfinished.” 18 likes
“It must be admitted that such things were common coin of the period. Kingdoms were often handed over to adolescents, whose absolute power fasinated them as might a game. Hardly grown out of the age in which it is fun to tear the wings from flies, they might now amuse themselves by tearing the heads from men. Too young to fear or even imagine death, they would not hesitate to distribute it around them.” 6 likes
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