By Adam Nicolson

Quarrel with the King tells the tale of the 1st 4 earls of Pembroke, their other halves, youngsters, estates, tenants, and allies, following their excessive and glamorous trajectory from the 1520s via 1650—the so much turbulent and dramatic years of English history—across 3 generations of switch, ambition, resistance, and conflict. The Pembrokes have been on the middle of all of it: the richest relatives in England, with previous blood and new force, led as a lot by way of a succession of outstanding ladies as by way of their husbands and sons.

it's also the tale of an influence fight, over an extended century, among the kin and the turning out to be energy of the English Crown. for many years, questions of loyalty simmered: was once govt approximately contract and appreciate, or authority and compulsion? What prestige did conventional rights have in a altering global? Did a countrywide emergency suggest these rights can be missed or overturned? those have been the problems that during 1642 might bring about a brutal civil struggle, the bloodiest clash England has ever skilled, during which the earl of Pembroke—who have been unswerving until eventually then—had no selection yet to insurgent opposed to a king who he felt had betrayed either him and his kingdom.

At different instances, the Pembrokes either threatened the Crown and acted as its bruisingly effective and violent brokers. They have been ambivalent figures: flag bearers for an old England and time servers in probably the most corrupt courts England has ever recognized; fawning courtiers and extravagant landlords; puritanical aristocrats and insurgent grandees. Nicolson's publication quantities to a examine in the entire ambiguities all in favour of the workout and upkeep of strength and standing.

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