The Iron King by Maurice Druon

For my first book of 2014 I decided to read this work of historical fiction by the French author Maurice Druon. This was partly so that I could feel a sense of achievement quickly in the new year as I always seen to devour these books more quickly than straight history.


I admit that I’d never heard of the author until, when browsing in Waterstones’, I picked the first two of his accursed kings series of books. I was shocked to discover that they were first published in the 1950s and that the creator of Game of Thrones George R R Martin is a fan. It is clear why these books have stood the test of time and half a century and translation have not dated them nor rendered them any less engaging to the avid historical fiction and royal history addict.


The translator Humphrey Hare, I am informed by a French friend, has maintained Druon’s writing style in English and the translation is as true as possible to the original. Although I know a little about this period in British history, I didn’t know much about Philip the Fair and certainly not about the suppression of the Knights Templar in France. It made for an decent romp of a read and allowed me to progress easily through the very readable chapters and the various twists and turns of the multitude of characters in the story.


I have the second of the seven books in the series ready to read in the near future and I look forward to the publication of the rest of the series. A nice easy read, ideal for busy people, a long train journey or a lazy rainy weekend.


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