Book Beginnings: The Iron King

Well, I finished a couple of books this week, including the Malazan book I was reading (Return of the Crimson Guard… good, but still not quite as awe-inspiring as the main series), and I’ve also been fighting off what I really hope isn’t the Walking Dead virus. I do live in Atlanta, so that is entirely possible, though. I have a few shorter books that I’m reading (a book of essays about books by Anne Fadiman, A Clockwork Orange (yes, yes, I’m sorry, I’ve not yet read that) but the one I’m going to share today is The Iron King by Maurice Druon.

I only recently heard of this series and I kind of regret that fact. Already, the first book is captivating me in a way well-written historical fiction does. (That’s perhaps the reason I have little to no patience for poorly written historical fiction.) The series was apparently a big influence on George R. R. Martin and his own A Song of Ice and Fire, and while I haven’t gotten to any of the more colourful happenings of that series, I can already tell that I’m going to plow through all seven books of the Accursed Kings.

Here’s the prologue:

The Grand Master felt surging within him one of those half-crazy rages which had so often come upon him in his prison, making him shout aloud and beat the walls. He felt that he was upon the point of committing some violent and terrible act — he did not know exactly what — but he felt the impulse to do something.

He accepted death almost as a deliverance, but he could not accept an unjust death, nor dying dishonoured. Accustomed through long years to war, he felt it stir for the last time in his old veins. He longed to die fighting.

He sought the hand of Geoffroy de Charnay, his old companion in arms, the last strong man still standing at his side, and clasped it tightly.

Raising his  eyes, the Preceptor saw the arteries beating upon the sunken temples of the Grand Master. They quivered like blue snakes.

The procession reached the Bridge of Notre-Dame.

That’s from the very beginning, and the book proper starts in the early 1300s during the reign of Philip IV. The entire series promises to be good, and I’ll keep you updated on it. I’ve heard from many readers I respect that it’s a shame it’s not very popular in the US.

As with every Friday, I’m linking to Rose City Reader and their “Book Beginnings” feature. Earlier, I spent a bit of time this afternoon waiting for the cold drugs to take effect, and I will say I’d rather spend five or ten minutes browsing the beginnings of books that other readers are enjoying than mindlessly consuming clickbait. Check them out.

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