Anna Massey tells the story of some of the ambitious families who helped shape the history of the British Isles and have wielded power behind the scenes for the past 1000 years. The Dynasties relates how the loyalties of this privileged elite, many of whom are older than the monarchy itself, were tested and rewarded: it also uncovers a multitude of murderous plots, bloody battles, adulteries, intrigues and shocking executions. In this first volume, three powerful houses are examined. The Godwines counted amongst their number the Earl of Wessex, who helped make Edward the Confessor king, as well as Harold II who fought the Battle of Hastings. The north-dwelling Percys produced Hotspur, who Shakespeare immortalised; whilst the royalist Despensers won land from the Welsh but were destined for a violent end.
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