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The Iron King by Maurice Druon
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The Iron King (1955)

by Maurice Druon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Les Rois Maudits [The Accursed Kings] (1)

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503None20,141 (3.9)25
  1. 20
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (Fayries)
    Fayries: George R. R. Martin himself wrote that "Druon's series was one of my major inspirations".
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» See also 25 mentions

English (27)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
As a fan of Game of Thrones, I'm really looking forward to read this and seeking out updated translation of later books in the series.
  megacoupe | Feb 4, 2014 |
A promising opening to a series. Set in fourteen-century France, The Iron King is set in the final months of Philip the Fair's reign, as Templar knights are executed, adulterous princesses prosecuted, plots hatched, and schemes unravel. Knowing something of French and English history during this period, I think this series has great potential, especially as it follows the French and English monarchs as they move toward the Hundred Years' War. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Dec 9, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Great first book. I look forward to reading the rest in the series. ( )
  Wickedmick | Sep 28, 2013 |
I enjoyed this, but it may not be for everyone - it was originally written in the 1950s and it is a translation, so stylistically it is different from contemporary historical fiction. ( )
  lucy3107 | Sep 23, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is quite a work of art! I enjoyed the language, the historical setting, and the detail put into creating realistic characters. However I didn't feel a lot of urgency to finish the series, so while I'm interested in finding out how it ends, I'm not motivated enough to hunt down the next book yet.

I enjoy a good historical fiction, and this book didn't disappoint. I learned a lot about French history. Prior to reading this book I was vaguely aware that the French were a major world power during medieval times, but while reading I learned a lot more about how France maintained and used it’s power. I don't know what 14th century French sounds like so I won't pretend to know this, but the language of the book itself (and to some extent the character's conversational language) was suitably alien to this 21st century English speaker. It was fun!

The characters were also well-written, but I didn't find any one character stood out to me. The characterization felt strangely distant. I felt more like I was reading a plaque at a museum that said “Isabella was undoubtedly incensed at the King’s infidelity,” instead of the reactions of a human. This could be the fault historical nature of the book or the way it was translated, but it still irked me.

Since everyone else is doing it, here’s my take on this being “the original game of thrones”. Yes, it’s dark fiction set in medieval (or pseudo medieval) times. Yes, a lot of time is given over to creating a complete image of the time period by venturing into the lives of people who aren’t straight-up royalty. However the treatment of the time period is vastly different; Druon’s book looks back fondly into history to piece together an entertaining and engaging story. Martin on the other hand write a fun story sure, but he wants us to look critically at the violence, grime and horror present during this period of history instead of putting it on some silly pedestal. ( )
  kaydern | Jul 8, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Maurice Druonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hare, HumphreyTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Under the beautiful but heartless Philip the Fair, France suffers a reign of terror unmatched in history. His enemies are swiftly crushed by torture and death; his court teems with deception and duplicity.
Yet even against this background of fear and treachery, passions burn with a hungry flame. The incomparably beautiful princesses-- Marguerite, Jeanne, and Blanche-- seek diversion in adultery-- tempting, sensuous sirens of destruction. And then they too become caught in the web of political scheming-- hapless victims of their own tumultuous desires!
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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.… (more)

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