The Iron King by Maurice Druon
The most intriguing quote about this book is right on the front in bold red writing:

“This is the original Game of Thrones.” - George R.R. Martin

Yes, The Iron King is an epic, multi-book saga full of kings, queens, dark sorcery, backstabbing, twisted plots, battles for power, revenge, curses, and family tragedy. The big difference between this and the Game of Thrones saga is that “The Accursed Kings” books (The Iron King is book 1) are based on real history with real characters.

There are some real events and places...however the books are still historical fiction so the author has creative freedom with his various plotlines. Oh and the books in this series began being published back in 1955, so it is not nearly as gory or full of “mature adult content” like the GoT books.

I enjoyed The Iron King. Mainly the great characters, fantastic descriptive writing, and excellent setting which switched back and forth between Medieval France and England. There is also some surprising depth of character and introspective, deep insight in to life's purpose and the benefits/downfalls of leadership, kingship, and power. It's important to note again that readers will need to be interested in a more literary, thoughtful series of events and not be craving the constant action and violence of GoT.

To be honest though, I am not rushing out to get the next books in the series. If I see them at Half-Price or on a good deal in paperback at a bookstore, I’ll go for it. I liked the story, but not enough to definitely continue. That being said, The Iron King is a relatively short, comfortable read so I certainly recommend giving it a try and you may find yourself more firmly hooked than I am. Recommended for High School readers and up, due to some bits of violence, slight mature content between characters, and complex plot.

Happy Reading!