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The Accursed Kings Series: The Iron King / The Strangled Queen / The Poisoned Crown

(The Accursed Kings #1-3)

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,403 ratings  ·  68 reviews
“This is the original Game of Thrones.” George R.R. Martin.

A collection of the first three books in Maurice Druon’s epic historical fiction series, The Accursed Kings.

“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
Kindle Edition, 992 pages
Published January 8th 2015 by Harper Voyager (first published 1965)
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Start your review of The Accursed Kings Series: The Iron King / The Strangled Queen / The Poisoned Crown (The Accursed Kings #1-3)
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
I am so positively surprised by this book! I don't know exactly what I've expected, but I got so much more! First of all, I thought this is a fantasy novel - it is not - this is pure historical fiction based on real history of France. And you know what? This is so true that sometimes life is much more fascinating than fiction - games, schemes, secret plans and above all: LOVE, because it is a truth universally acknowledged that most conspiracies begin in bed ;)
Oh! And everything starts with a Te
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I confess that I bought this book because of George RR Martin's saying that this series were the original 'Game of Thrones'. After reading the first 3 books I can say that I'm liking this series better than GOT, O.K. the epic fantasy element is gone but all the rest is there and it goes to the point and won't make you read 300 pages where little moves on.
(Still, I am anxiously waiting for the release of the final GOT books :) )

I have bought the first book (The Iron King) in the original French
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding trilogy

This is by far the best trilogy of history, that I have ever read in my life. Being American born and raised, I do believe that if these accounts are found to be true and accurate, this should be mandatory reading for World History and English Literature classes in high school. The grades would soar off of the charts. The characters are great, while you have all various types of personalities all politicking for their own personal agendas, you get to see the character flaws in
Jun 03, 2015 marked it as to-read
History is a novel that has been lived.
-- E & J de Goncourt

The France of 1314 is not a very safe place to live, for Kings, Queens, Courtiers, or Peasants. If the famine won't get you, the Court politics will. The author, Maurice Druon, took an obscure, but important, time in Frence history and made a wonderful set of books based on it.

The "Iron King", King Philip IV, sends the Knights Templars to the stake. The head Templar curses him "to the thirteenth generation of your line". Well, he was ri
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this interesting and beautifully written trilogy about the early ( 14th. Century) kings of France in stages, one book at a time over a few months finishing it today.
All three books in the trilogy, three of a longer series, are worth reading for those readers who really enjoy historical fiction of a serious, as opposed to romantic, type. These kings of France, and those who populate the Royal Court are not particularly likeable. Treachery, venality and cruelty was natural to them. But the
Eugene Braginets
May 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book based on the real historical facts and one day has inspired George Martin for his Games of Thrones. As he said "those are real game of thrones!".
And, IMHO, it is far better - more dramatical and unpredictable than any fictioan.
On my next visit to Paris after this book, I found that French history started to play with all its colours to me: now all those intrigues and palace secrets make much more sense to me ;)
Was funny to discuss some historical anecdotes with our french guide, he wa
Mar 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I enjoyed The Iron King, but I didn't care for the way Druon just told me what his characters' motivations were instead of showing me. Perhaps because this is the second in the series, and characters are already established, there was far less of that. What did strike me, however, is that Druon doesn't seem to know how to write a young woman. His depiction of Mahaut is interesting; I'd like to read more about her because she shows some character. But the way he writes Marguerite and Blanche, Mar ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm reading this as a library book on Kindle and that's a good book for reading electronically, unfortunately, the library has only the first book (Accursed Kings) in this series . Maurice Druon who lived a long life (1918-2009) wrote the series between 1955-1977. It's a great story which doesn't need any fictionalization to make these real-life characters and their times, late 1200-early 1300s, crazy and interesting. It falls into " you can't make this up ..." Kings whose wives are found in com ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t believe this series isn’t rated yet!

I might edit this review, as I read it many years ago, and in French so I have no idea what the translation is worth, but I have very fond memories of it.

It is the series that led me to major in medieval history, it is the series that made me love history.
Plunge into 14th century France; during the tumultuous reign of Philip the Fair, riddled with political intrigues and unrest, treason, murder, a brewing succession war, and the last Grand Master of
Steven Cardoso
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVE this series!!!!! Can't wait til book 5 comes out at the end of the month! I can see where Game of Thrones got their inspiration!
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
scandalous insight into the depths that people will go to gain or hold onto power, wealth and position. I guess nothing much has changed in that regard since the 14th century.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
The review applies only to the first book - The Iron King, since Goodreads doesn't list it individually. Like other reviewers, I was interested in this series because of George R. R. Martin's recommendation and inspiration for Game of Thrones. I also enjoy medieval European history and, while I am more familiar with the English monarchy during this period, I knew nothing about Philip the Fair. On that point, this was an interesting history lesson. However, I did not find the "novel" to quite be ...more
Daniel W.
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The French side of history is often avoided in the English speaking world. This historical series is a good beginning for Anglophiles in need of broadening their horizons to another point of view. French history also has its own series of tragedies, only occasionally offset by human kindness. While writing fiction, the author keeps narrowly to what we know of these 14th century events from direct sources (and copious footnotes).
Lynne Head
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In total there are 7 books in this series (although this image only shows books 1-3. George R R Martin says that these books were the inspiration for his Song of Ice and Fire. The books are based upon French history prior to the 100 years war, and it's easy to see the relationship between these books and 'Game of Thrones'. Not always easy going and I do wonder how much might have been lost in translation (the originals are in French). Definitely worth a try if you like history.
Clare Anderson
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting Historical Fiction

This is a period of French and English history that I’m not familiar. The story is intriguing and holds my attention. But what I really like is the footnotes that clarifies the historical facts. While I love the way historical fiction writers can give more personal accounts of why history took the direction it took, I’m always wary of how history may be distorted in the fiction. The footnotes help keeps the facts separated from the fiction.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book 3 of the Accursed Kings Series was probably the most exciting. "The Poisoned Crown" is good and I can see where and how it would lead to Games of Thrones in idea. At this time I will not continue on with series I have some book club reads to catch up on. But the series is slow at the beginning gets very good, and if you thought English monarchy history was good the French is even more so.
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read the first book in the series, The Iron King, for my historical fiction book group. Philip the Fair was someone I had never heard of before. The Knights Templar feature prominently in this book as does Isabelle, Philip's daughter who is married to Edward II of England. At some point I plan to read the next book, The Strangled Queen.
Lucy Marx
I've read the series over 45 years ago and decided to revisit. A fascinating recreation of medieval France leading up to the Hundred Years War. Full of mystery, murder, superstition and lots of poisoning not to mention political machinations. A TV series (with English subtitles) was aired on SBS several years ago and can be found on youtube.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This series is amazing. Its puts a fictional frame around real events that runs up to the Hundred Years' War between France and England. It truly brings history alive and illustrates the inherent flaw in all hereditary monarchies.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Historical Journey

This whole series is a good journey through time in the 1300's France. From brings to life the Kings and their families along with all the internal struggles for power. The series is a great read.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of the first 3 books in this series - the author's writing and the English translation both feel very incisive and the book is hard to put down despite my heretofore lack of interest in Medieval French history.
Jessica Riddell
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Accursed Kings Series by Maurice Druon a book series that doesn't get nearly enough recognition, this is one of the series that greatly inspired A Song of Ice and Fire. Really worth reading check it out.
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Learn all about 14th century French kings!
Rebecca Shersnow
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Decent story with simplistic writing.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The original GOT!
Jenny Poole
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I finished the first book, "The Iron King", and really enjoyed it. I will be back to read the other two books this Autumn. Anyone who enjoys history & great storytelling, will love this series. ...more
Akos Kiss-Dozsai
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best historical novels ever written. Only a few books make you really said when you realize you finished and you cannot follow your favorite characters' lives any longer
Chris Brown
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Historical fiction has never been better. 14th century French politicking almost makes you wish you were born in a different era.
Milena Siermińska
I love historical books... murders, intriques, betrayals... in this book you can find everything.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Only read "Poisoned Crown."
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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 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 cómo un rey perdió Francia (Los Reyes Malditos, #7)

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“There is a singular strand running through history, always renewing itself, that of fanatics for the general good and for the written law. Logical to the point of inhumanity, pitiless towards others as towards themselves, these servants of abstract gods and of absolute law accept the role of executioners, because they wish to be the last executioner. They deceive themselves because, once dead, the world no longer obeys them.” 4 likes
“Order! As happens with all political blunderers, the word was ceaselessly upon his lips, and nothing could have persuaded him to admit that the world had changed even a little in the last century.” 2 likes
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