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The Royal Succession

(The Accursed Kings #4)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  5,098 ratings  ·  222 reviews
Louis X is dead, poisoned, murdered, by the hand of Mahaut d''Artois. Her plan is simple - to clear the path to the throne for her son-in-law Philippe. However, there is the small matter of Queen Clemence and her unborn child.

As the country is thrown into turmoil, Philippe of Poitiers must use any means necessary to save his country from anarchy. However, how far is he wil
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Harper Collins (first published 1957)
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4.25  · 
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 ·  5,098 ratings  ·  222 reviews

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The fourth volume of the Accursed Kings saga develops, mixed in with a very entertaining plot, another episode in the history of the end of the Capetian dynasty. Upon the death of Louis X, the first son of the ‘Accursed’ King Philippe IV (damned by the Grand Master of the Knights Templar), the second brother, also named Philippe, gets hold of the Regency first and of the Crown second. And thus this son became Philippe V.

Druon proposes an intrigue in which poison, lies, kidnaps etc move the threa
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Louis X is dead. Poisoned by Mahaut d'Artois. The throne of France is open, or is it? Queen Clemence is pregnant and the unborn child, if male, is the true heir. Meanwhile, Louis' brother, Philippe , the Count of Poitiers, becomes the Regent.

This is the story of how Philippe negotiates the treacherous landscape of French Royal politics. Having secured himself as Regent, until Queen Clemence gives birth, he manages to apply the old Salique (often called "Salic" in English) law where only a male m
Roman Clodia
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Following the poisoning of Louis X in the last episode, this book picks up immediately with the struggle over who will be Regent in the interim until Clemence's baby is born. Various contenders with different motives keep the politics lively, while with an eye on the long-term, we see the adoption of Salic law which excludes women from the monarchical succession.

Intertwined with this plot is the on going debate and discord over who will be the new pope - till Philippe takes a creative approach t
This is my second or third time reading through "The Accursed Kings" series by Maurice Druon, and I have to say, I am always impressed by it. It is, by far, my favorite historical fiction series. Druon's skill with language and characterization makes events that happened over six hundred years ago sound fresh and fascinating. It is also a intricate study on politics and how egos and personalities have influenced history.

The fourth installement of the series (weirdly translated as "The Royal Succ
Another excellent part in this series. Each time I follow with interest and amazement the events of so many centuries ago.
M. Druon did an excellent job with his series. I think if more authors wrote history like this, more people would love history.
The series does ask some dedication though. While I have knowledge of French history, each time I need to go study the family tree of these kings.
4.5 stars.

I've waited so long to continue this series, and I was a total fool because The Royal Succession was a fantastic read, probably my favourite so far. I am so glad I got back into this world.

The story was great, it was full of political intrigue, scheming and engaging battles of wits. After Louis X's murder the country is in turmoil, and we mainly follow Philippe of Poitiers as he struggles to gain control, but there is also the storyline of the election of Pope Jean XXII, which was very
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book focuses on the accession of Phillip V of France, who reigned in the early 14th century. It's fourth in a series which I advise reading from the beginning - it's worth it!

Druon's novels seem so different from more recent historical fiction; he's very present as an authorial voice telling the story to the reader, and loves dropping in to provide psychological analysis of his characters' decisions, as well as the occasional bit of ironic information about their future. Somehow, though, th
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As soon as this book arrived, I dropped everything else to read it. It's the best one yet. Louis is dead, Clemence is pregnant and Philippe has a strategy to capture the crown - will it work? The ins and outs of this book, the improvisation in the face of the unexpected, the carefully crafted paperwork to guarantee the desired outcome, you are on the edge of your chair, biting your nails, with every chapter.

Alas. I only wish I had read it more slowly! The next book in the series won't be availa
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Maurice Druon's "Accursed Kings" series is an easy read but don't let that fool you. "The Royal Succession" was so packed tight with intrigue and underhanded dealing, sprinkled with the odd murder or revolt, that one had to really keep on one's toes... whilst reading easily. The king is dead, his wife is pregnant but there is, of course, a vacuum - and a position of power that could become permanent if the child-to-be-born doesn't quite make it. Nature and Politics abhor a vacuum.
While we're at
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-history
I loved the content of this book that brings history in life in such a vivid way with wonderful descriptions of personalities of the historical characters and the dynamics of their relationships.
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Druon sets out a great continuation in the Accursed Kings series. With Louis X dead (and known to be poisoned by some), all eyes turn to the extremely pregnant Queen Clémence to determine who shall assume the throne. With no clear male heir, a Regent must assume the role of running France in the meantime. All eyes turn to the late king's brother Philippe, whose desire for control inebriates him and those in his inner circle. Passing legislation surrounding the succession of French monarchs, Phil ...more
Martin Yankov
This was... quite depressing, actually.

The fourth installment in Druon's historical fiction series is certainly the best one so far. The characterization is better than ever, the plot moves quickly and the writing style is more than enjoyable. We finally see what I can only imagine is an ending to some pretty important storylines that started way back in the first book.

Reading this I appreciate the previous novels more than I did when I first when through them. Some of the events in them seemed
Jessica Cassidy
For a translated book, I really loved this novel, and the following five books in the seven book series (the seventh apparently has not been translated from French yet, and there's no way I'm corrupting my budding Spanish language skills by attempting to read a novel in French). I am normally super wary about reading translated works, because, understandably, something always gets lost in the translation. This translator, Humphrey Hare, back in 1958 when he was doing his thing, did a fantastic j ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favourite in the series so far! (I read the English translation of this book, called 'The Royal Succession'. Amazingly detailed with hardly a boring spot (okay, the election of the new Pope, John XXII, in 1327 might have been a bit dry but still had wonderful details about the man himself, such as his belief that Judgement Day has not yet occurred since there is only one Judgement Day, and therefore no one is occupying Heaven or Hell and no one will until Judgement Day occurs, which ...more
Cat {Wild Night In}
After a stumble with the audio version (wonderfully produced, but I can never get into audio books), I restarted the print version.

It was so so sad in so many places that I had to have long breaks between chapters. The next book looks as though it will be even darker, after the killer last line in "La Loi des mâles". Even though the political intrigues are no more gory than in the previous books, seeing the effects of the nobles' actions ripple out and completely ruin the lives of two of my favo
Alexandrina Ţenu
Feeling bad for Guccio...
Augusto Bernardi
This was one of the best ones so far (besides the first one). This book followed one of my favourite characters of the series who is one of the most ambitious and smartest of them all, Philippe de Poitiers. This book did have some boring bits here and there that had reasonably unimportant people but most importantly, I personally think this was one of the most emotional books of the series. Very tragic and heartbreaking. Some quite shocking and cold hearted scenes too which are forever memorable ...more
Liya Ma
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The plot thickens. There is no king. Who will be king? Who will be murdered so Philippe can be king? This was suspenseful and heartbreaking until the end
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Some of my beloved personages have been betrayed and suffered unbelievable things. I hope the perpetrators will have nasty deaths. The curse of the Templar will get them all!! The greed, perversity and power mongering never end... There was so much impunity in those times that is almost unbelievable, some real good people suffered the worse things, some went crazy, others lost all their faith in mankind and in God.
Miriam Stern
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As intriguing and fascinating as the previous novels, my one complaint is that it may have upped the fiction part on the "historical fiction" way too much. It is still a compelling read and Philip V may be one of my favorite characters in the series. Still, I am now heading to volume 5 where I am finally reading about Isabella of France, Queen of England. This is probably one of the elements I've been looking forward to the most!!
Bandile Nxele
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it even more second time around. This story is so good and so complex Its almost unbelievable that its true. Am really enjoying this series. My favorite character is Robert of Artois....he never fails to humor me with his selfish ways. Cant wait for Booktubathone so that I can start the next book. (less)
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: completed
As good as it gets

I love the negotiations between Regent Philippe and Cardinal Duezze. Then the negotiations between Philippe and the Court of Peers, in order to become king of France...I will be rereading this novel ag
Samuel Rooke
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first two thirds of “The Royal Succession” work in much the same way as the first three books in this series, even bringing some focus back onto the financial aspects more present in the first book. Then when the many story threads start to converge, most notably Guccio and Marie’s (who were the highlight of the last book for me, in their much more standalone story), the book takes a jarring but well-earned turn that left me surprised and much more acutely aware of the inhumanity on display ...more
Ashley Deanna
So, my usual complains. The characters can feel paper-thin, and sometimes their characterizations read vaguely similar, or sometimes cartoonishly exaggerated for dramatic effect; the prose feels inert and wooden in some places, shying away from any sort of adjective or clause juggling for some variation. At times, I thought the writing was tedious. But the webs laid from the previous books are so, so, so cleverly done, and the plots executed in this book are just what I love when reading Druon's ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Royal Succession has it all for a fan of historical fiction. There is the question of the ascension of the greatest offices of the land, those of the kingdom and the church, both of which are accomplished with much drama and guile. The story of the two lovers finally comes to a close, though a rather tragic one. The affairs of the state and the role of the monarch's lords and ladies, both loyal and adversarial are given much emphasis. Perhaps the best part is the development of characters, o ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well that was very exciting! This book predominantly focused on the succession crisis caused by King Louis X's untimely demise (by way of poisoning, might I add) and his brother Philippe's ultimate rise to the throne. This book legit had it all - murders, poisonings, battles, political intrigues, babies switched at birth, star crossed lovers... it's easy to forget that most of this actually happened! Interested to see what comes next and whether certain characters I'm emotionally invested in wil ...more
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intrigue and mayhem continues to bedevil the royal family of France and Maurice Druon's star crossed lovers. Mahaut of Artois continues to cast a dark shadow over the comings and goings of monarchs such as Louis X, Jean I and finally Phillipe V. Three coronations occur in this book, two kings of France and Pope John XXII. The circumstances of all three make for entertaining reading in the fourth vol of Druon's accused kings series. The message in this book is to be careful what one wishes for.
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge-movies
Accursed kings? Accursed everyone. I am devastated and destroyed. I only gave it three stars because it took till half way through to grab me. It is fascinating that the author's research unearthed such details from the early 1300's; exactly what the court was wearing, what was served at a certain banquet, and what was sacked in a castle has been preserved in journals and documents. I can't quite imagine cloaks of squirrel fur.
Adam  McPhee
Another banger from Druon.

This time: the short life of King Jean I the Posthumous (born a king, but died at five days of age), Philip Count of Poitiers journey to become first regent and then king, the Lombard marries the Cressay girl in secret and knocks her up but she gets sent to an abbey and then becomes wet nurse to the infant King Louis, Robert of Artois's war in Artois against Mahaut, Mahaut's poisoning spree continued. Really love seeing the story framed as progress versus reaction.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George R R Martin was right when he called these books the original Game of Thrones - so many characters and all of them plotting to become King (or even Queen) of France. At one point I was struggling to remember who was who, and had to keep looking back to the list of characters at the front. Boy were some of these people evil! I really did enjoy this book and look forward to marching on with book 5 soon.
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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

Other books in the series

The Accursed Kings (7 books)
  • The Iron King (The Accursed Kings, #1)
  • La reina estrangulada (Los Reyes Malditos, #2)
  • Los venenos de la corona (Los Reyes Malditos, #3)
  • La loba de Francia (Los Reyes Malditos, #5)
  • La flor de lis y el león (Los Reyes Malditos, #6)
  • De cómo un rey perdió Francia (Los Reyes Malditos, #7)
“Days lived, whether full or empty, whether busy or serene, are but days gone by, and the ashes of the past weigh the same in every hand.” 5 likes
“Los días vividos, pletóricos o vacíos, tranquilos o agitados, son todos por igual días pasados, y la ceniza del pasado pesa lo mismo en todas las manos.” 1 likes
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