Review – The Iron King

Cover of The Iron King by Maurice DruonThe Iron King, Maurice Druon

G.R.R. Martin refers to this as the original Game of Thrones, and you can see why. The same types of characters populate it, to a large degree — except I’m not sure I found any of Druon’s portrayals to have many redeeming features, whereas I’ve liked a couple of characters in what I’ve read so far of Martin’s epic. This is, of course, not a work of fantasy, but based on real history; how closely, I’m not sure, as my knowledge of the period is mostly based on British politics, and this largely takes place in France. It offers a convincing world, anyway: just the way you would want the period to be, with torture and curses, weak princes and calculating counsellors.

I have seen quite a few fairly negative reviews of this, which I think might come from people expecting something more fantastical based on Martin’s comment, and possibly also from people who can’t stand the translation (it’s very workmanlike and functional, I think). But I quite enjoyed it: I don’t know if I’ll pick up the rest of the series, simply because there are so many books and so little time, but I enjoy reading it. If there’s anything lacking, for me it’s more sympathetic characters, or at least more of an inner life beyond who they want to sleep with.

Rating: 3/5

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2 thoughts on “Review – The Iron King

  1. Ah, I enjoyed this book, I think he did a really good job dramatizing history in an interesting way, which is what I look for in historical fiction. I read the next book after this and then stopped, but only because getting my hands on the translated novels was so hard. At the time they were just putting them out again (with ebook editions too) but with many months in between. I think I should check again to see how many more books in the series are available now.

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