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Fortunate Son: A Novel of the Greatest Trial in Irish History [Kindle Edition]

David Marlett
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (169 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $1.99
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Book Description

Meet James Annesley, son of 18th Century Ireland. Though you may have never heard his name before, his story has already touched you in profound ways. Now, for the first time, novelist David Marlett brings that incredible story to life.

Stretching from the dirty streets of Ireland to the endless possibilities of Colonial America, from drama on the high seas with the Royal Navy to a life-and-death race across England and up the Scottish Highlands, from the prospect of a hangman’s noose to a fate decided in the halls of justice, FORTUNATE SON is a powerful, relentless epic. Here nobility, duels, love, courage, revenge, honor, and treachery among family, friends and ancient enemies abound. And at its center is the most momentous trial in Irish history – the trial of Annesley v. Anglesea from which our modern “attorney/client privilege” was forged, and our concept of a “jury of one's peers” was put to the test.

Carefully researched, vividly evoked, and lovingly brought to the page, FORTUNATE SON is an unforgettable work of fiction based on fact, one that will resonate deep within you long after you finish it.

Editorial Reviews


“David Marlett sets a wonderful historical novel against beautiful descriptions of Ireland in telling the story of a disputed earldom. Fortunate Son offers rich history, well developed characters, and a unique conclusion.”
– Glen Cuchine, Christian Science Monitor

“I could tell that Mr. Marlett knew his subject inside and out and I truly believe that this is what made this book so very readable…. The blood, sweat and tears, of the characters and the author are ever-present in this book. I really recommend this book to adventure fans, historical fans, and legal fans. It’s a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed it!”
– Tales of a Book Addict

“I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good historical read.”
– Shelly’s Book Shelves

“The reader will sense the drama about to unfold at the end, but be resistive, and not wanting the book to end, having become lost in the tale. It's much like coming out of a warm pool to the bracing cool air. It is hard to believe that Marlett has written such a in depth, imaginative, reality based drama. Let's hope the movie rights do get sold- I for one would love to see it brought to the big screen, but know it could never to his prose justice!”
– Bless Their Hearts Mom

“If every book I read were as textured and well-written as Fortunate Son by David Marlett, I would need to live a lot longer just to read. I was enthralled from the first sentence.”
– Bags, Books & Bon Jovi

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Lord Arthur Annesley, the Sixth Earl of Anglesea, was slopped. He had been sitting alone at his oak table in the dark back corner of the Brazen Head Tavern since half-past ten that morning. Now, nearly five in the evening, he could hear fresh rain blowing across Dublin’s Merchant’s Quay, tapping the tavern’s windows, dripping heavy in pools along Bridge Street. He was floating, his white wig askew, his fat fingers tracing the blood groove of his gold-hilted rapier lying on the table. “He’s mine, he is,” he muttered to no one. “B’god, James is mine! So he is. She’ll never take him to England.” He glanced up with his one eye, the other having been long ago shot out by his wife’s cuckolding suitor. “My son’s mine,” he boomed. “Damn you all!” A violent cough overtook him until finally he lowered his chin, rivulets of perspiration trickling down his brow.

“‘Tis well known, me lord, James is yer son,” the tavern keeper offered. “Would ye like another?”

“Ney!” Arthur shook his head, muttering, “No more boys.”

“Ach nay, me lord—would ye like another pint?”

“Ha! Ney, Keane. Best be on m’way.” He stood shakily, steadying himself on the dark wall, sheathing his rapier.

“Well den, g’night sire,” the keeper said, gesturing with his bar towel.

Arthur tapped the wrinkles from his blue, Italian cocked hat. “Keane?”

“Aye, m’lord?”

“What be the cure....” He stumbled sideways, trying to buckle his sword sash. “What be the cure for a hangover? I’ll wager you don’t know.”

“Sleep, most likely,” Keane answered, moving across the small room, delivering a dram to a large man sitting alone. “What do ye think, sir?” he asked the man.

“I have no reckon,” the man muttered, his Scottish brogue rumbling low. “Leave me be.”

“I suppose a pinch o’ snuff might do ye, Lord Anglesea,” Keane guessed, wiping his hands on his apron.

“Ney, goddamn you, Keane!” His words a lather of grumbled mush, his arm a terrier in a fox hole, fumbling through the twisted coat sleeve. He spun, shoving his hand through. “I knew you didn’t know, you damn thievin’ Irishman. ‘Tis t’ drink again!” He staggered backward to the door. “That be the cure, b’god!”

“Aye, me lord,” said Keane. “So I’ve heard.” Now the Scotsman was standing too.

“T’ drink again!” Arthur bellowed, throwing his arms up. “T’ drink again, ‘tis all you need!” Turning, he careened through the doorway, along the rickety boardwalks, lurching into the muck of Bridge Street. “‘Tis all I need!”

A large hackney coach pulled by six horses was crossing the Father Matthew Bridge, gaining speed in the pelting rain. The horses snorted against the driver’s whip as he yelled from the box, his cloak flailing in the wet wind. “Up with ye curs! Now! Up! Up!” Again and again he cracked the long leather across their backs. The loud roar and stirring commotion of the coach and six easily cleared traffic from the bridge, opening a wide swath up Bridge Street beyond, like a plow cleaving mud. When the horses reached the quay on the far side of the River Liffey they were pulling so hard and running at such a blaze that all four wheels left the ground before crashing back to earth to spin in the slurry sludge. Galloping past the Brazen Head Tavern, with nostrils flared and eyes mad wide, they would not and could not stop for anything in their path.

Against the whir of voices the ale had loosed in his head, Arthur heard charging hooves, people shouting, and through the stinging rain, he saw a maniacal blur rushing him. But he couldn’t move. A black surging wall, yet he stood, stammering something about God. Finally one step toward the side, but it wasn’t enough—the violent impact threw him back and down. Twenty-four hooves thundered over him, snapping his right leg like straw, driving it into the thick mud. Another hoof trampled his gut, his ribs shattering. Instant fire. Then the coach hit him, the splinter bar catching his chin, the front axle crushing his larynx, cracking spine, whipping his head into the path of the rear wheels which slammed over him, mashing his face into the filth and black ooze.

His one eye fluttered open, stinging, but he couldn’t breathe. To one side he saw muddy boots and spurs—some standing, others moving away. His bloody mouth sagged, convulsing for air. He felt warmth trickle from his ears. Life abandoning him. Then, between the clamoring shouts and splashes, he heard the massive bells of Christ Church Cathedral begin their solemn peel, announcing the time. He stopped moving, and there in the shadows of his mind he saw James, no more than five, standing on a rocky hill, laughing, the sea air tousling his auburn hair. Suddenly James sprinted off, through an emerald field, clambered over a low stone fence, then raced on, away, toward a man who was waiting, watching—a man Lord Arthur Annesley, the Earl of Anglesea had never been.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2400 KB
  • Print Length: 350 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611881595
  • Publisher: Story Plant, The (February 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GQFBO26
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Irish Historical Based On Fact March 12, 2014
The year is 1727 and the place is Ireland. James Annesley is thirteen, the son of The Earl of Annesley, one of the richest peerages in England and Ireland, with extensive land holdings in both countries. The current Earl is killed in a street accident, which makes James the seventh Lord Annesley. That is, until his wicked uncle rides into town the day of the funeral, beating James in the street and sending him into hiding while he claims the title for himself.

Richard, the wicked uncle, claims that James was not the legitimate child of his father, but born of an alliance with the woman who was James' wet nurse. This woman, Juggy, was in love with Flynn, the stableman who was James' emotional father and the father of his best friend, Sean. Flynn and Sean try to protect James from Richard, but it is soon evident that he wants to have him killed to remove the threat he represents. He doesn't manage to have James killed, but instead James is kidnapped and sent as an indentured servant to the Colonies.

James is given a seven year sentence and when he attempts to escape, a further nine. When James is twenty-seven, he returns to England where he plans to mount a case against Richard and reclaim his inheritance. The trial is the biggest trial in English/Irish history, and everyone knew the story. The most amazing thing about this novel is that it is based on a true story.

David Marlett has written a fascinating tale of noble skulduggery, of a time when nobles were truly lords of all they surveyed, and they were able to commit heinous acts without fear of punishment. The case was so well known that it echoes in books based on the story.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
David Marlett's story Fortunate Son opens with the death of Lord Arthur Annesley in 1727, an apparent accident in Dublin, Ireland, which sets the circumstances for the struggle over the Anglesea Estate. The tale of young James Annesley's fight to reclaim what is rightfully his from uncle Richard Annesley, has the ingredients of a 'fine mess' in which to make a good story. In the first chapter Fortunate Son is an exciting read, suggesting an adventurous approach that will put the reader in the shoes of young James as he fights to stay alive and overcome the odds stacked against him. However by the time Lord Annesley's funeral is through, the second chapter, it's clear this historical novel will not be skimping on detail explaining the relationships and history around the main character.

Like the beginning I found much of this book an enthralling read, in particular the abduction that carries James off to America together with the court scenes that see him back in Ireland again. While the story progresses there were times I found my attention flagging in the banality of James' 14 year indentured life in Pennsylvania and Virginia, the somewhat unlikely coincidence of, when in the rush of escaping, James finding his childhood friend in crowded Yorktown, America, and the awkward plot-relationship throughout the book of this friend Sean, Sean's dad Fynn and how they came to be in James' life.

While David Marlett says that Fortunate Son is a work of fiction the author has gone to great lengths to build the story around a set of facts. To this end he has my respect but I feel it's at the expense of narrative flow.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel Fortunate To Have Read Fortunate Son! February 25, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fortunate Son invokes a range of emotions, ranging from empathy and compassion to loathing. I was pleasantly surprised to shed many a tear in even the earliest stages of the novel, a beautiful tissue alert!

In my opinion, a good writer TELLS you about the interaction between characters and a great writer makes you FEEL that interaction between characters. David Marlett did a superb job in seamlessly developing his characters spanning a period of decades, a daunting task to accomplish well. He does a masterful job at combining well-researched fact with enticing and passionate, yet believable, fiction.

At times I was cheering, other times I found myself using words that I specifically invented for Jemmy’s evil “Uncle” Richard. All along the way, I wanted to hug Jemmy and tell him it was going be OK.

So why did I give it 5 stars? In short, it is one of the best books I have read in many years. A legal thriller at its best, but includes phenomenal characters that are extremely well crafted - not all likeable, but completely real. The pace of the story nicely snowballs - adding in essential tension with the addition of various factual events.

I for one can’t wait until Marlett’s next book, American Red, arrives later this year!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fortunate son, but most of all, fine character May 20, 2014
By Nonna
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although I didn't give it a top rating, I did enjoy the book. The story kept me attentive and anticipating the next adventure. The ending was what I had hoped for but the surprise came when I learned that it was a historical story with
Connections to our modern day. I won't say more as I don't want to spoil it for new readers. I do recommend it.'l
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read.
Published 24 days ago by Pamela FitzPatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Good writing. Based upon a trial held in Dublin ...
Good writing. Based upon a trial held in Dublin in 1743. Exposed how the Irish were involuntarily transported to US and sold as (indentured servants - slaves).
Published 1 month ago by Sally MooreGoldman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed reading this book based on true story not revealed until authors notes at end.
Published 1 month ago by Mukul
4.0 out of 5 stars The writer made me feel as though I was taking ...
The writer made me feel as though I was taking part in the action and transported me back in time. I got caught up in the trials and tribulations of the main character. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tina M. Bryan
3.0 out of 5 stars NEEDS PATIENCE
Very good--surprise ending--but takes too long to get there. Good writing tho. My book club was divided in their praise--most like it with most also thinking it could have been... Read more
Published 3 months ago by computer face
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable story
A well told his historical novel. I'm going to assume the author kept true to the actual facts. But this was told in such a way that you felt like the authoress actually there.
Published 3 months ago by nursey
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
Lots of accurate history, the story line is exciting and moves well.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and had problems putting it down when I should have been going to bed. Lol
Published 3 months ago by Wlp
3.0 out of 5 stars Fortunate son
This drags in places. I could not wait to finish. The trial was the best part and the epilogue. Do not know how much was fictionalized. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Samantha
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Certainly makes the case for social equality. Well-written characters drawn from the historical record. A unique victory for the oppressed.
Published 3 months ago by SScout
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 4 months ago by Warren
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More About the Author

David Marlett is an author, producer, photoartist, crowdfunding expert, attorney, PhD candidate in Immersive Cinema, filmmaker, innovator, screenwriter, designer, father of four beautiful kids, and all-around raconteur... but definitely not in that order.

He has begun a new genre of historical fiction: historical trial novels. In these novels, David brings alive the characters and events surrounding major trials that have otherwise been lost to history. FORTUNATE SON, the first of these, will soon be followed by AMERICAN RED, and then FLYING HORSE in 2015.

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