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 disap..Show More »pointed! 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.
That everything that was solid in The Iron King continued to be solid here. It has the same tone, characterization, prose style, etc. Going from that ..Show More »book to this one is less like ending a novel and more like ending a chapter then flipping the page.
Thus, if you liked everything about the first book, as I did, you'll like everything about the second book.
As far as this specific book is concerned, I liked how it drove home how very second-rate Louis the Hutin's court is compared to the way Phillip The Fair ran things. Phillip could be cruel, but Louis is just as cruel and much more bumbling.
As with The Strangled Queen, the measure of how much you'll like this book is how much you liked the first book. The writing is still good, the acting..Show More » is still good, Louis still sucks...
Really, he manages to be both bloodthirsty and a cream puff, impulsive and a ditherer. Peter Joyce does a really good job with this spluttering rant he gives at one point in the book. To his credit he gets a little better throughout the book, mostly due to Clemence of Hungary AKA one of the few actual nice people in France.
Favorite nugget of cynical wisdom: "It is one of the advantages of mediocrity that people frequently decide unanimously upon your name."
Love the intrigue and conniving in these stories and maybe even a little bit of history? The narration is energetic but I feel every character was a s..Show More »tereotype, all the women sounded like whining hags, and sometimes the voices got confused. Still worth the listen
Despite being the sixth book of seven, The Lily and The Lion is the true conclusion to the series. The ending was perfect- perfect for the series and ..Show More »perfect for the character who dies in it's last moments. It even has an epilogue. Everything is tied up so well here that book seven, written twenty years later in a different style and not near as good, is almost not canon for me.
There were as many if not more good moments here as in the prior books. The best scenes in this series are usually the ones where people treat each other horribly. However, while there is indeed much misery here, I think two of the best passages in the book were the friendship moments involving Robert of Artois. Besides the ever-interesting death scenes, there is an interesting portrayal of medieval document forgery, as well as the scene where Beatrice explains her odd life philosophy.
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 ..Show More »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.