Book review: The Strangled Queen – I love France #68


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The Strangled Queen
(The Accursed Kings, #2)


Maurice DRUON

Translator: Humphrey HARE

304 pages

Publication date: October 15, 2013, by Harper Collins
First published in French in 1955

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book as an egalley for free from  the publisher
via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.

The Strangled Queen

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on France    hf-reading-challenge-2013

2013 Ebook Challenge


Rating system

Harper Collins seems to intend to publish the translation of the Accursed King series at a steady pace, and they understand how much I love Maurice Druon, thanks!

The curses coming out of the mouth of the last Templar, as he was burning to death, apparently keep coming true facts.
With his father, Philip IV, dead, the young Louis X, 25, ends up king, with no formation and no special skill or even taste for the job. All the more convenient for all the different factions around him, all too ready to give him advice helpful to none but themselves.
Further more, his own wife Marguerite of Burgundy was found unfaithful (as recounted in the first volume), and she is imprisoned in harsh conditions.
What is he supposed to do? Free her, have his marriage annulled and find a new wife? But the situation of the church is just as messy as the one of the kingdom, with no pope, and lots of intrigues.

If you are getting tired about the British monarchy, it’s time to delve into this series and get to know the French House of Capet. The second volume does not disappoint. Helped with the genealogy tree and the list of characters provided at the beginning of the book, explaining clearly who’s who, it was fascinating to discover more deeply all the intrigues at the level of the civil and religious authorities, with the Capets, the Valois and the archbishop family of the De Marigny,, and the complex political situation with the pope.

I really enjoy Druon’s style, with great descriptions of places (the prison!) and characters. I always enjoy his aside ironic reflections on human foibles as well. I had a bit forgotten my French history, so it was suspense to the very end as for the fate of Marguerite. I’m really looking forward to reading the whole series.


He was a king and knew not how to reign; he was a man and knew not how to live. p.61

To tell a Neapolitan woman, whether she be princess or merely serving-maid in a hotel, that one will fall gravely ill at not seeing her again is but the minimum obligation of courtesy. p.106

Even when we are punished for the wrong reasons, there is always a real cause for our punishment. Every unjust act, even committed for the sake of a just cause, carries its curse with it. p.191


The King is dead. Long live the King.
With King Philip IV dead, and the Kingdom left in disarray, as the fatal curse of the Templars plagues the royal house of France.
Imprisoned in Chateau Gaillard, Marguerite of Burgundy has fallen into disgrace. Her infidelity has left her estranged husband, Louis X King of France, with neither heir nor wife.
The web of scandal, murder and intrigue that once wove itself around the Iron King continues to afflict his descendants, as the destruction of his dynasty continues at the hands of fate. [Goodreads]


Maurice Druon

Maurice Druon (1918-2009) was born in Paris. He is the nephew of the writer Joseph Kessel, with whom he wrote the Chant des Partisans, which, with music composed by Anna Marly, was used as an anthem by the French Resistance during the Second World War.
In 1948 he received the Prix Goncourt for his novel Les grandes familles. On December 8, 1966, he was elected to the 30th seat of the Académie française, succeeding Georges Duhamel.
While his scholarly writing earned him a seat at the Académie, he is best known for a series of seven historical novels published in the 1950s under the title Les Rois Maudits (The Accursed Kings).
He was Minister of Cultural Affairs in 1973 and 1974 in Pierre Messmer’s cabinet, and a deputy of Paris from 1978 to 1981.




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