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The Iron King

The Accursed Kings, Book 1
Narrated by: Peter Joyce
Series: The Accursed Kings, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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Summary

From the publishers that brought you A Game of Thrones comes the series that inspired George R.R. Martin’s epic work.

France became a great nation under Philip the Fair - but it was a greatness achieved at the expense of her people, for his was a reign characterised by violence, the scandalous adulteries of his daughters-in-law, and the triumph of royal authority.

©1955 Maurice Druon (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Blood-curdling tale of intrigue, murder, corruption and sexual passion" ( The Sunday Times)
"Dramatic and colourful as a Dumas romance but stiffened by historical accuracy and political insight" ( )The Sunday Times)
"Barbaric, sensual, teeming with life, based in wide reading and sound scholarship…among the best historical novels" ( The Times Literary Supplement)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable

Really enjoyed this book
the narration was very good and I look forward to the next in the series

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The worst narration I have ever heard on audible

What disappointed you about The Iron King?

I have been a Audible customer for a number of years and to be fair this is the first book that I have purchased that I have not liked.
I only managed to get 40 minutes into the book before the narration was irritating me so much that I had to turn it off and start on another book instead.

What didn’t you like about Peter Joyce’s performance?

Peter Joyce's reading of the book is stilted with overly long pauses (of up to a second) in places that should be flowing

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Appaling narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I never felt compelled to write a review before but Peter Joyce's narration of this books is so awful that I think it needs to be highlighted. I simply could not enjoy the book at all due to his ponderous and pretentious narration.

What did you like best about this story?

The story itself could have been quite entertaining, but the narration was far too distracting in it's awful pompousness for me to really enjoy the story at all.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Peter Joyce?

Anybody at all would be better than he is! Take your pick!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Great book which inspired a great book

This is one of the wonderful books that I would never have found but for audible. George R.R. Martin says this inspired ASOIAF and it is easy to see why. Dynastic rivalry, deceit and betrayal and excellent descriptions of the way in which power can be used and abused.

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  • County Cork, Ireland
  • 30-04-16

Very Good Story

I can see where George R R Martin gets his inspiration from after listening to Maurice Druon's books.

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Great story, awfully read

I struggled with the strange accent (more suitable for a documentary of Starkey style), an appalling pronunciation of French names and places (the accent should be on the second syllable not the first). I almost returned this book if it wasn't for my love of historical novels...

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Syd Young
  • 03-08-13

Historical Goodie

This was good - historical fiction like it used to be. I read it because George Martin recommended it as "the original Iron throne." I was not disappointed! It intrigued me and taught me some things, while making me feel like I was right there, exactly what I want from historical fiction. This story begins in the reign of Phillip the Fair, when he is killing off the last of the Templars; it is essentially the prequel to the War of Roses.

Good companion reading to Rutherford's new historical fictional exploration of Paris ("Paris"). There is a time period in that book very close to this one. Also, remember the beautiful Isabella, Queen of England in the movie Braveheart? She is Phillip's daughter and is featured in this.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • c
  • 12-05-14

Interesting but...

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Those interested in historical fiction and know/understand French.

If you’ve listened to books by Maurice Druon before, how does this one compare?

This is the first I've tried. I was curious because of an article on the BBC website that hinted that this series was an inspiration for the Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire) series.

Any additional comments?

I understand the book was originally written in French. However, the English version did not have some French phrases translated so there were a lot of things that you miss out on if you don't understand French.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-13

SO Happy the series is being worked on!

Any additional comments?

I am halfway through, and I just saw you added the second of the series. I am SO happy this is the case. My parents are huge fans of the books, but I don't have so much time to sit down to read them. If they weren't on audible, I'd be missing out completely, so THANK YOU to the makers of the audio version! and please don't stop until they are all done!!! <3!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Arthur Newsome
  • 08-04-16

Excellent. Performance is superior.

Great story. Very interesting. Like the game of thrones, this has many unexpected turns. Trust no one! Performance is one of the best I've ever heard.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 14-03-16

GRRM Writes Good, Recommends Good

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Iron King?

"GUARDS!" is the first thing that comes to mind. Then there's Philip and the deer, Philip and Nogaret's papers, Philip on his deathbed, and also quite a few scenes that don't involve Philip. Almost any death scene is memorable.

What about Peter Joyce’s performance did you like?

All of it. How he narrates the text, delivers the dialogue, voices the characters... as far as I'm concerned he does it all perfectly.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh, yes. Midway through writing this review, I opened a second window and bought The Strangled Queen.

Any additional comments?

Although I can't point to any one aspect of this book as being brilliant, everything here is solid, even above-average. It's a good novel and, combined with a first-class reading, is well-worth what I paid for it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rene
  • 08-10-14

Just fantastic!

What made the experience of listening to The Iron King the most enjoyable?

The feeling of reality in the plot, because it is partly based on historical event and also because the characters act the way real people would.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Iron King?

When the adulterers are confronted with the evidence by the king, it came slowly but it was pretty intense.

What does Peter Joyce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Tone, emotion, diversity from the way he alters his voice alone I could tell which character he was voicing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was truly sad for the princesses and truly angry at the king for the treatment of the Templars… what he suffered at the end, he absolutely had it coming.

Any additional comments?

This is a series I have to finish… my type of adventure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Professor Woland
  • 16-03-15

Like running itno an old Friend on a sunny day.

Where does The Iron King rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I read these books when I was younger, and I honestly was surprised to find them on here after many years not being released or being out of print these books were always hard to find in English. I know in both French and Russian they were very popular for many decades (and were recently made into mini-series with Gérard Depardieu in the role of the last Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay).
Having listened to them now, I also have a whole new perspective of the Game of Throne books (another favorite), while these are very different genre the similarities between middle ages Europe and Westeros are amazing. I think the debt George RR Martin owes to historic fiction like this underlines a generation of writers for whom history was/is a source of inspiration.

What does Peter Joyce bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The performance is solid four stars, the only person I can think would sound better is Roy Dotrice.

Any additional comments?

This Series focuses on the events leading up to the 100 year was and the end of Capetian dynasty of France. For most people that's not exciting I suppose, but if you need a fix for Westeros while George is taking his time, this can be a touch of methadone (minus dragons and elaborate banner descriptions).

Additional value of this genre it actually opens you up to experience history through actions and character traits of real historical personages, even if embellished for fiction.

This particular book shows the France at a time when the feudal system was being dismantles for the sake nation states. When visionary kings began to centralize their authority from the feudal lords and consolidate it by relying on commerce and rising middle classes.

Maurice Druon wasn't just a historian and writer but also a member of the French government and I think he brings much of his own perspective on power and role of personalities and motivations in the events that change the course of countries.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-05-19

Why isn't this series being produced by HBO?

The seven titles in the Accursed Kings are all wonderfully written and are entirely accessible for those whose knowledge of medieval French history is limited (like me). I've read the series in paperback a couple of times and now time constraints are causing me to revisit the series via Audible. I just finished The Iron King and The Strangled Queen and have just started The Poisoned Crown. Peter Joyce is a good reader overall, but his raspy attempts at an Italian accent for Spinello Tolomei and Guccio Baglioni falls flat and often sounds more slavic or Balkan than Italian. But...I nitpick. That aside, the performance is good and the plot lines in all the novels definitely proves that truth is stranger than fiction. Buckle up and expect twists, turns and awful deeds.

I did a lot of referring to Wikipedia. Nearly all the characters in the books are real and so to get a Wiki-thumbnail portrait is very helpful.

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  • Tabitha
  • 05-05-19

Enjoyed it immensely.

Has a feeling of authenticity. I will be listening to the next one of the series for sure.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Luna Max
  • 19-04-19

A very good historical romp

I first read this series in my teens and enjoyed it tremendously. I thought I’d visit it and see how I feel about it now. Same. Excellent historical adventure, well written and well told. Very enjoyable.