Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fortunate Son by David Marlett

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.  Some of these include Robert Lewis Stevenson's Kidnapped, Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering, and Tobias Smollett's novels, The Adventures Of Peregrine Pickle and The Adventures Of Roderick Random.  The reader will be treated to a fast-paced story with unbelievable twists and turns, a famous tale that fell into obscurity over the years and is now rediscovered.  This book is recommended for readers of historical fiction.

No comments: