Day 748: The Lily and the Lion

Cover for The Lily and the LionBest Book of the Week!
The sixth book of Maurice Druon’s The Accursed Kings series follows the fall of Robert Artois, the prime mover in many of the events of the other five novels. It is the reign of Philippe VI, the first Valois king, so you’d think the curse of the Knights Templar against the Capet kings would be complete. But Druon points out that there is one Capet we’ve probably forgotten.

It is Robert Artois who ensures that his Valois cousin is chosen from the candidates proposed for the crown, despite the better claims of Isabella of France, the only surviving sibling of the Capet King Charles IV, for her son Edward III of England. But even though by supporting the victorious candidate Robert finally gains a peerage and property of his own, he is still obsessed by the theft of his county of Artois by his Aunt Mahaut years ago.

He hears of the existence of a copy of the will and deeds that left him the property when he was a boy. The originals were stolen and destroyed by Mahaut and her minion, Monseigneur Thierry. But the Monseigneur kept the copies to protect himself, Robert is informed by Jeanne de Divion, the Monsiegneur’s mistress. Now that he is dead, Mahaut has treated Divion so poorly that she offers to steal the papers from the Monseigneur’s office. Before she gets the opportunity to do so, however, Beatrice d’Hirson, Thierry’s niece and Mahaut’s servant, steals them for her mistress. Robert then makes the decision that will decide his fate. He decides to forge the papers.

In the meantime, Isabella and Roger Mortimer have taken the throne from Edward II for his son, but the young king is a ruler in name only. Mortimer’s abuses are just as bad as those of the previous reign perpetrated by Edward II’s favorites. In addition, Edward III hasn’t forgiven Mortimer for having his father murdered. Soon, Edward will act for himself.

As with the others in this series, this novel is packed with traitorous acts, poisonings, and other skullduggery, as well as amazingly readable historical detail. Druon peppersĀ his tales with plenty of cynicism and sly remarks. As always, I highly recommend this series.

Related Posts

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6 thoughts on “Day 748: The Lily and the Lion

  1. Naomi August 4, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    I tend to avoid series, but this does sound like a good one.

    • whatmeread August 4, 2015 / 12:17 pm

      It was written in the 1950’s, before everyone and their brother started writing series.

  2. Helen August 4, 2015 / 2:56 pm

    I’ve just finished reading a book about Isabella and Mortimer, as you know, and I’m looking forward to reading this too. I have only read the first two books in the Accursed Kings series, though, so it’s going to be a while before I get to this one!

    • whatmeread August 4, 2015 / 2:57 pm

      Oh, you’ve read some of them? Most people haven’t heard of them! I hope you like them so far.

  3. Jane @ Beyond Eden Rock August 5, 2015 / 5:35 am

    I spotted this series, liked the look of it, but wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to a series of big books. That you’re enthusiastic six books in definitely encourages me to look more closely at the first book!

    • whatmeread August 5, 2015 / 7:26 am

      Some of them aren’t too long, but others are, especially the last couple of books.

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