Novels[ edit ] English 1st edition cover of The Iron King The first six novels of Les Rois maudits were published in France by Del Duca between and , and the final volume was released by Plon in Between and , HarperCollins reissued the entire series in print and audiobook , including the last installment The King Without a Kingdom, which had never previously been published in English. Jeanne, innocent of adultery herself but complicit in the scandal, is imprisoned indefinitely. Seeking to remarry and father a male heir, Louis sends Robert of Artois to compel Marguerite to sign a statement, in exchange for her freedom, that her marriage to Louis was never consummated and that her daughter Jeanne is illegitimate. Desperate for freedom, Marguerite reconsiders, but her "confession" never reaches Robert.
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Share via Email Maurice Druon. His broadcast was followed by the stirring melody of the famous Chant des Partisans, a song just a year old, but one that had already become the unofficial anthem of the French resistance. Its haunting lyrics were co-authored by the French novelist Maurice Druon, who has died aged It opens: "Friend, do you hear the dark flight of the crows over our plains?
Friend, do you hear the dulled cries of the country in chains? The theme tune was also whistled twice a day over the BBC to introduce the Free French radio programme Honneur et Patrie one of the whistlers being Druon. It was first recorded by the singer Germaine Sablon for a propaganda film made by the director Alberto Cavalcanti, who was working in London for the Crown Film Unit.
Soon it became widely known from its first line, "Ami, entends-tu? To whistle a few bars in occupied France was to make a political statement. It has been recorded many times since, by singers ranging from Yves Montand to Johnny Hallyday. Druon was born in Paris. He never knew his father, Lazare Kessel, a promising actor of Jewish Russian descent who committed suicide at the age of 20, when Maurice was two.
In Druon served in the cavalry. The Chant des Partisans was the result. After the war, Druon embarked on a successful literary career, partly freeing himself from his uncle, whose personality was more wild and bohemian than his own. He became increasingly conservative, however, and this is partly reflected in his six-volume historical novel sequence, Les Rois Maudits The Accursed Kings , written between and It narrates the travails of the French monarchy in the period leading up to the hundred years war.
If this monument of middle-brow storytelling had a message, it would be the very Gaullist idea that France needed strong leadership. In , the series was made into a hugely successful television drama. This was a period when France was still deeply affected by the memory of the events of May Druon, now an establishment figure, immediately caused outrage in intellectual and artistic circles by announcing he was not going to subsidise artists with subversive intentions - "with a begging bowl in one hand and a Molotov cocktail in the other".
He was unfairly accused of wanting to impose censorship. He continued a brief political career, as a deputy for Paris and a member of the European parliament He remained ardently committed to a vision of Gaullism as a moral inspiration rather than a concrete policy - "a reference for France for years and perhaps more", as he once put it.
One of the obsessions of his later years was the defence of the French language, but this did not stop him from being in some respects a kind of romantic Anglophile. He deplored British policy in the EU, but remained, like many former members of the Free French, eternally grateful for the role played by Britain during the war.
It has been officially inscribed by the French government as one of the three French national anthems along with the Marseillaise and the Chant du Depart.
Druon reports that Kessel had said to him on the day they finished composing the lyrics: "You know, that is perhaps all that will remain of us. He is survived by his second wife, Madeleine Marignac, whom he married in
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