Available for the first time in English, The King Wihout a Kingdom is the seventh and final volume of The Accursed Kings series.
The reign of the Capetian kings has ended and John II, ‘The Good', second of the Valois dynasty, has taken the throne.
Under his leadership the Hundred Years War, one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in history, escalates and England and France begin to tear each other apart.Cardinal Périgord, narrating the drama, shows us a monarch as vain and cruel as he is incompetent.
Under his turbulent reign, warring factions plunder the land, famine threatens the people and the Black Death spreads far and wide. France is bleeding to death around the new king.
©2014 Maurice Druon (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"Iron kings and strangled queens, battles and betrayals, lies and lust, the curse of the Templars, the doom of a great dynasty - and all of it (well, most of it) straight from the pages of history, and believe me, the Starks and the Lannisters have nothing on the Capets and Plantagenets. Whether you are a history buff or a fantasy fan, Druon's epic will keep you turning pages. This was the original game of thrones" (George R.R. Martin)
"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
This book can be summarized in one word: unnecessary.
The story of The Accursed Kings spans six books. The first was published in 1955, and the sixth in 1960. That book finished the story, epilogue included. Then, seventeen years later, book seven came out. This is pretty much a history-notes appendix taking us from book six to the Battle of Poitiers.
Unlike the prior books, The King Without a Kingdom takes the form of a monologue given by an old cardinal on a road trip, occasionally pausing to go on tangents or address someone off-screen. His narration is the only one we hear, confining Peter Joyce's talent to just one character voice and losing us his usual third-person voice (except in the prologue).
It's not all negative, however. Though not enough to carry the book alone, Cardinal Talleyrand-Périgord is still a well-written character and the history he's reciting can be engaging, especially Poitiers.
That said, I can only recommend this to completionists or those who, for whatever reason, want to hear a snarky, vain old man recount a chunk of medieval French history.
I enjoyed the story a lot but it was hard to listen to ONE voiced character through a whole audiobook. nevertheless I do feel that it is a very unique and enjoyable addition to the series, maybe just better read though...
"Different and weaker than the earlier books"
This novel was published seventeen years after the others and was written in a far different style as it is completely narrated by one character, a vain Cardinal Hélie de Talleyrand-Périgord, an important diplomat for the Avignon Papacy who relays the story of the failed monarch Jean II the Good and very successful campaign of Edward the Black Prince. The differing points of view of the characters with their different motives was what made the earlier books so enjoyable and by only having the one characters viewpoint in this book the story becomes much weaker. Its a disappointing finish to a great series.
"great narrator but over stylised narrative"
I loved the early books in this series but this one was harder going than the rest. The first person narrative was an interesting but deeply artificial way of recounting history.
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