“The Strangled Queen”

Maurice Druon

This, the second book in the “Accursed Kings” series has the virtues of the first. It starts in 1314. Philip the Fair is dead and his son, Louis X (“the Headstrong”) is on the throne. The novel focuses on the power stuggle between the king’s uncle and his father’s treasurer and on Philip’s desire to rid himself of his queen so he can remarry.

“The Iron King”

Maurice Druon

This is the first of the seven part “Accursed Kings” series about the French monarchy in the 14th century. In this volume Philip IV (“Philip the Fair”) brings a curse on his family by suppressing the Knights Templar. A series of disasters culminate in his death.

“The Iron King” is a deliberately paced book, not a page turner. But the pace feels appropriate to the era and the scope of the story and I plan to continue with the series.

George R. R. Martin has mentioned this series one of the inspirations for the “Song of Ice and Fire” series. Even though I enjoyed the “Game of Thrones” TV series I didn’t want to devote time to Martin’s books. “Accursed Kings”, on the other hand, is based on history, which makes it — to me — much more worth my time.