The premise of this book is that Fiennes is related to almost everyone in it, so is well-placed to relate the events from his own point of view. This seems like a good idea. But as soon as we have understood that that his family is descended from the Normans and the branches can be traced back to the Battle of Hastings, we reach the limit of our indulgence. It is, in fact, intrusive to have the narrative interrupted by asides as to which of the protagonists are his ‘kinsmen’. I learnt nothing new although, in its favour it was a good reminder of the events which led up to this most famous of battles.