Our genes are the hand we are dealt at birth. Unlike poker we do t have opportunity to swap unfavourable genes during the game of life, though research and advances in biotechlogy are just beginning to change the rules in this regard. This book explores how genes, and in particularly genetic disorders, have impacted on peoples' lives. Some people are dealt marked cards and when this happens to influential people the impact of the disorders goes far beyond individual lives. Through their impact on kings and queens, and on political leaders, genetic disorders have altered the course of World history. Historical events that have been influenced directly by genetic disorders include, for example, the Russian Revolution and the American War of Independence. Through their impact on great painters such as Van Gogh and great composers such as Beethoven, genetic disorders have guided the evolution of art and music. Even much of the myth and folklore that has come down to us through the ages has been fashioned by genetic disorders. Examples include the tales of elves, vampires and werewolves. The many stories in the book are used to draw the reader through the principles of genetics towards an understanding of the origin and inheritance of genetic disorders and an appreciation of the power they wield. Many of the examples used relate to historical figures and celebrities but the vast majority of the lives devastated by the random cruelty of genetic mutations are otherwise ordinary ones. But genetic disorders can turn ordinary lives into extraordinary ones. So often in these cases the power of the human spirit soars above adversity and many of those so cruelly affected have fought back in their efforts to expand awareness of genetic disorders and thereby raise funds for research. This book is respectfully dedicated to those people, and half of all the royalties accrued by this book will go towards this research - research that is w just starting to rein back the power of the gene.