Just finished reading “The Iron King” written by Maurice Druon in 1955 and recently translated into English.
This is a powerful and wonderfully written story (aside from the first few pages which no doubt editors or translators managed to mess up – I’ve seen this before). It’s the first of a very popular series in France – Les Rois Maudits – (The Accursed Kings) written over fifty years ago, and out of which a successful TV series has been made… not that this necessarily means a lot when you see some of the rubbish that’s made into films. It’s also supposed to be the inspiration for the ‘Game of Thrones’ which I had the misfortune to watch one episode of on an international flight and had I been anywhere else I would have fallen asleep.
But quite to the contrary, “The Iron King” is a great piece of literature wrapped up in an historical tale of the last months in the life of French King Phillip the Fair in the early thirteen hundreds. It’s historical fiction verging on fact which I find incredibly interesting but I can imagine that those not interested in history and in particular French history might not be too enthused by the story. Of course, there are also those who aren’t looking for literature but something rather less. Indeed, there’s so much in this fast-moving, tightly written, entertaining and colourful tale – human folly, political intrique, extreme greed, love and loss, insights into the lives of the powerful and the weak, the rich and poor, in an unforgiving and violent era … and above all, how so very little has changed today, except perhaps for the level of violence and who it is that wields the power over the lives of ordinary people. I’d highly recommend it if you enjoy or are interested these kinds of issues. You can get it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1omQShg