Like many others, I started reading the Accursed Kings series after I got frustrated waiting for the Winds of Winter (Game of thrones). While George R.R. Martin’s foreword for these series in itself is a huge selling point I found the series very interesting and was most fascinated by the real-life characters that Maurice Druon had portrayed here. If you are a Game of Throne fan, you could read through this series and see which of the characters in GOT is inspired from the Accursed Kings. What makes it more fascinating is the fact that these characters that we read about in Accursed Kings were real kings and queens who lived in the Middle ages. Their struggle for power and the politics of throne is more real than any Game of Throne plot you would read.
The novel begins dramatically enough with the burning of the Grand Master of Templars and the curse that he pronounces upon the King and his dynasty. France was then ruled by King Philip the Fair who was supposedly very handsome, hence the title. He had three sons to continue his line and a daughter married to the King of England. Having orchestrated the downfall of the Templars the king’s coffers was full. In other words, he was the most powerful King in Europe, until the Grand Master’s curse started to work in a weird fashion.
It all begins with a man named Robert of Artois whose property and title is given to his aunt Mahaut after his father’s demise. Mahaut is a very powerful noblewoman on her own right and her daughters are married to the sons of the King. Her refusal to part with Robert’s property makes him indulge in plots, betrayals and intrigues that would tear the Kingdom apart soon.
His plots begin with Queen Issabella, queen of the England and daughter of King Philip. Robert uses her bitterness with her own loveless marriage (King Edward II was gay) for his own ends. He brings information about the infidelity of the Crown Princess Marguerite of Burgandy and Blanche of Burgudany who is married to the second son of Philip (she is the daughter of Mahaut). Isabella is understandably furious about her brothers being cuckolded by his wives and wants to expose them to the King. This sets off a chain events that would end disastrously for the crown of France.
This novel was originally written in French and has been translated into English which could probably account for the silted style of language. Despite that I couldn’t put down the book because of its powerful plot. If you love historical fiction, you would love this too.
Plus Points – Powerful characters and plot
Minus Points – The language doesn’t flow that neatly as it could have
Verdict – If you loved Game of Thrones, you must read it. If you haven’t then you should still read it because these series are very close to the historical events that unfolded in France centuries ago. A must read if you are a history buff.