Jeffrey Keeten's Reviews > The Strangled Queen

The Strangled Queen by Maurice Druon
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
3427339
's review

really liked it
bookshelves: the-french, historical-fiction

”When one has governed men for a long time, when one has thought that one has acted for the best, when one knows the pains the task has entailed, and then suddenly sees that one has never been either loved or understood, but merely submitted to, then one is overwhelmed with bitterness, and wonders whether one could not have found some better way of spending one’s life.”

Philip IV, or as he is also known Philip the Fair, is dead. The curse that was cast upon him by the Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay, while on his way to being burned at the stake, was fulfilled. Philip may have been known as The Fair, but in the case of the Templars it would be more accurate to call him Philip the Welcher. His father left the kingdom destitute. Philip borrowed a lot of money from the Templars but needed much more. He also didn’t like the idea of the Templars attempting to form their own country on the Island of Cyprus with uncertain loyalty to the French crown.

 photo louis-x-1-sized_zpsbj81g3rs.jpg
Louis X

Even with the confiscation of Templar money and assets, the son of Philip and the heir apparent, Louis X, found the treasury empty. Dire circumstances for a new king who also is still stinging from the recent adulterous scandal involving his wife Marguerite, his sister-in-law Blanche, and two handsome brothers. The brothers were broken on the rack and disposed of, but the issue of his wife and his sister-in-law remained a nagging problem. For now they are locked up in a drafty castle with the hope that with a poor diet and poor conditions they will succumb to disease.

”He was a king and knew not how to reign; he was a man and knew not how to live; he was married and had no wife.”

 photo Margaret_of_Burgundy_zpsgasdbkp0.jpg
Don’t be fooled by the pius appearance of Marguerite here. Her lustful dalliance not only cost her the chance to be Queen of France, but also cost her her life.

Meanwhile, he has people trying to settle the question of the next Pope. Louis wants an annulment from Marguerite so he can marry Princess Clemence of Hungary, but the cardinals are being difficult, and no one seems to be able to come up with enough bribes to determine who will be the next Pope.

No Pope, no annulment, no princess.

His uncle, the Count of Valois, sees an opportunity to break his arch rival Enguerrand Marigny who was left in charge of the treasury. He also sees an opportunity to undo many of the laws that Philip had put in place to keep the country peaceful and give some rights to peasants. The nobles were finding these laws most constrictive. Louis is much more worried about finding a new bed warmer than he is about the laws his father passed. He signs a new charter allowing the kingdom to slid back into a feudal state.

 photo Enguerrand_de_Marigny_death_zpsboxllgv2.jpg
Things do not work out well for Enguerrand Marigny.

The country is suffering from a drought; food is scarce, and the population is becoming restless. When the stew pots aren’t brewing, the conspiracy cauldrons become warm.

The once proud, reckless, and disobedient Marguerite has reached the end of her rope. The title alone of this book betrays her fate. The intrigues of others insure that any options she has will not reach the ears of those who care.

The insecurities and ineptitudes of Louis X could prove fatal for himself, but also for his kingdom.

 photo mauricedruon_zps2l800a9e.jpg
Maurice Druon looking more regal than the subjects of his novels.

George R. R. Martin has endorsed this series. He found the plots, betrayals, and intrigues of the Maurice Druon’s writing fertile ground to expand his own imagination. The influence of Druon’s historical fiction series on Martin is easy to see for those that have watched Game of Thrones. Druon does a great job of staying within the confines of actual history although a few liberties here and there do help move the plot along. I’m looking forward to book three, although I’m a little worried about poor Louis. The title is The Poisoned Crown. With two brothers and an ambitious uncle, I would suggest that Louis sleep with one eye open and pay his cook very well. A delightful and entertaining series!

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
64 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Strangled Queen.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

July 3, 2015 – Started Reading
July 3, 2015 – Shelved
July 4, 2015 – Finished Reading
July 10, 2015 – Shelved as: the-french
July 10, 2015 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Corey (new)

Corey I like his odd little novels. I've read 2 of the 3.


Jeffrey Keeten Corey wrote: "I like his odd little novels. I've read 2 of the 3."

There are actually six of them with a seventh never translated.


message 3: by Corey (new)

Corey Sorry....I thought I was commenting on the Bonfiglioli book you read.


Jeffrey Keeten Corey wrote: "Sorry....I thought I was commenting on the Bonfiglioli book you read."

I still have to pick up copies of the other two. The first one was so much more witty, and fun than I could have imagined!


message 5: by Corey (new)

Corey Yeah, they're wacky. One of my favorite lines: “She looked about as hard to get as a haircut and at about the same price.”


message 6: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King An amazing author Jeffrey.


Jeffrey Keeten Lynne wrote: "An amazing author Jeffrey."

He has been such a pleasant surprise. Highly readable, highly enjoyable.


message 8: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King You are certainly different in your reviews Jeffrey. One never knows what to expect next, be it a book or a film review. I love the film reviews as they are so visual but then your book reviews are rather visual and so in a way I'm repeating myself.

Still you are giving me pleasure and that's the main thing. Don't you agree?


Jeffrey Keeten Lynne wrote: "You are certainly different in your reviews Jeffrey. One never knows what to expect next, be it a book or a film review. I love the film reviews as they are so visual but then your book reviews ar..."

If I am giving you and others pleasure then... mission accomplished. I'm certainly an eclectic reader. I'm not afraid of any genre. I just want to read well written books regardless of how they have been categorized. I find some real gems stretching out my comfort zone. When I was a child I was really struck by the idea of being a renaissance man. I'm still trying to achieve that status. Specializing my interest is just too narrow a focus for me. I'd rather know a little about everything than be an expert in one thing.


message 10: by Lynne (new)

Lynne King I love the term "renaissance man". Presuamably that covers women too?

Yes I agree also with "I'd rather know a little about everything than be an expert in one thing."


Jeffrey Keeten Lynne wrote: "I love the term "renaissance man". Presuamably that covers women too?

Yes I agree also with "I'd rather know a little about everything than be an expert in one thing.""


Absolutely it covers women! I think you are a prime candidate.


message 12: by Matt (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matt Great review Jeffrey! I was always confused as to why Martin was so happy to support them. Perhaps the intrigue was lost in translation, but they pale in comparison to anything Martin has churned out.


message 13: by Supratim (new)

Supratim Excellent review, Jeffrey!


message 14: by Jeffrey (last edited Feb 13, 2017 06:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeffrey Keeten Matt wrote: "Great review Jeffrey! I was always confused as to why Martin was so happy to support them. Perhaps the intrigue was lost in translation, but they pale in comparison to anything Martin has churned out."

I have a feeling what most influenced Martin's writing is the intrigues in this series, but also the intrigues of history. It is also a matter of preference. I prefer Druon to Martin because Druon is bringing history to life which I am fascinated with. The writers who influence writers aren't always the ones that you would expect. I find the best writers are the ones that have read widely outside of genre they write. Martin is certainly well read. Thanks Matt!


Jeffrey Keeten Supratim wrote: "Excellent review, Jeffrey!"

Thanks Supratim!


back to top