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 fourth volume, the Cavendishes first appear in history with Sir John, the 14th century chief justice who had his head cut off by rebels. The Comptons, a seemingly unremarkable aristocratic family, have at times been influential in the governing of England. The Russells' most famous member is Bertrand, the philosopher, yet they also produced politicians, generals, writers and marquesses.
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