Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Iron King - Maurice Druon

The Iron King
When George R. R. Martin calls another book series 'the original Game of Thrones', you take note. 

The difference between Martin's best-selling series and Maurice Druon's series, first published in the 1950s...well, for one thing, Druon wrote his in French. (Unfortunately, my French is not nearly good enough yet to read anything but the translation.) The biggest difference, though, is that Druon's is based in reality and doesn't include dragons.

I know. Sad day.

The series begins under the reign of the Iron King, Philip the Fair of France, also know as Philip IV. He reigned at the turn of the fourteenth century. This first book in the series takes place near the end of his reign, as he is waging war on the Knights Templar, presumably to get his hands on their cash.

Also thrown into the mix - three deceptive daughters-in-law and one wily daughter who happens to be married to the King of England. 

Druon is very clear in his writing that all the events are leading up to something catastrophic (The Hundred Years Was, I assume). Something which he does not get to in this book, giving it the feel of a prequel. I am interested to see how quickly he moves in the remaining books in the series. This one only covered about the span of a year or two, not very much in the grand scheme of history. 

I definitely feel as though some things are lost in translation. I'd like to give Druon the benefit of the doubt and say his writing is not as dry as it seems in some places. Certainly, there is some action and a few descriptive passages, but overall, it felt more historical than anything. Still, I'll take this as historical fiction any day over the atrocities Philippa Gregory has committed against the Tudor dynasty. 

Overall, not bad. It didn't suck me in as I was hoping it would. I will likely read the next one at some point, but as more of a test to see if things improve and the whole series is worth reading. not so much because I just can't wait to get my hands on it. 

Pages: 340
Date Completed: October 7, 2014

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