The third in the series of Accursed Kings, The Poisoned Crown furthers story of the Capet kings who were cursed by the Grand Master of the Templars. With Philip the Fair dead, Louis X becomes the king. Weak and ineffectual, Louis proves himself to be not only incompetent but also cruel. He puts his wife to death and also scores of servants who were in her service to punish them for their role in her adultery. Depending solely on the counsel of his uncle Charles of Valois, Louis’s reign is a nightmare to begin with.
With Marigney (the Prime Minster and treasurer) put to death, the King was virtually sitting on an empty treasury and the realm undergoes the worst famine ever. But the King has other worries. He declares his daughter through Marguerite illegitimate and wants to get married immediately and sire a heir!
Clemence of Hungary, his chosen bride, demure, beautiful and pious. Escorted by the young Lombard Banker, Guiccio Baglioni whom we saw in the previous book, Clemence comes to France with stars in her eyes. (I could see shades of Sansa Stark and Margery Tyrell in her :)) The journey to the altar stars inauspiciously for her as their ship is caught in a freak storm that washes away all her bridal gifts, clothes and jewels! Her marriage is a hurried affair with none of the pomp and pageantry that one would expect from a royal wedding.
Louis is taken by his queen but she is far from impressed when she hears the rumours about his temper and his other activities. She is horrified when she learns about Marguerite death and the reason why Louis ordered it.
Elsewhere, Robert of Artois and Lady Mahout are still fighting over the inheritance. Lady Mahout however industriously (and with some sorcery) gets her son-in-law Philippe (Louis’s brother) to get her daughter and his wife Jeanne of Burgandy out of the prison.
Famine and political unrest causes the nobles to rebel and Louis takes control of the Artois from Mahaout’s hands as she is unable to quell the rebellion. What happens in the end forms the crux of the story and will have you buying the next book.
Guccio’s story is a romantic one where he gets married to a girl belonging to an improvished noble family. I am still trying to figure where he actually fits into the story though!
At the end of the book, I was left with just one thought. With nobles and kings such as these, why did the French Revolution take so long in coming!
Where to buy – http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/0007491298/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_in-21&linkCode=as2&camp=3626&creative=24790