Saturday, March 29, 2014

Guest Post | Fortunate Son by David Marlett

Combining elements of a historical odyssey, a courtroom drama, and an epic adventure, FORTUNATE SON is based on the true story of the greatest trial in British history.

-A tale that spans Ireland, England, Scotland, and the American Colonies in the early 1700s
-The story which loosely inspired Robert Louis Stevenson in writing his novel, Kidnapped
-A narrative that involves the iconic Kennedy family, generations before they emigrated from Ireland

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. 

What inspired you to write this book?

My incredible journey toward FORTUNATE SON began while I was in my first year of law school at the University of Texas. A portion (later proving to be a very small portion) of the plot came to my attention in a textbook on legal ethics. Near the beginning of that book, the author illustrated a point by referring to an obscure 1743 trial transcript. That excerpt featured one attorney cross-examinning another attorney, questioning the examinee's credentials and moral guidelines. Like an archeologist inspired upon finding a chip of dinosaur vertebrae, I decided to dig deeper.
That evening I found the entire trial transcript in the UT Law Library (which happens to be one of the largest law libraries in the world). I was so transfixed that I was locked in the stacks overnight, reading. The next morning I was certain that someday I would tell this story.
What I didn't know then, but would learn over the subsequent years of research and immersive trips to Ireland, Scotland and England, was that the transcript of the Annesley v. Anglesea trial contained but a portion of the extraordinary story of James Annesley -- a story very well known in the mid-1700's. I feel exceptionally privileged to bring James's story to the modern world in the form of FORTUNATE SON.


David Marlett is an attorney, artist, and self-trained historian who grew up in a storytelling Texas family. He attended Texas Tech University where he earned multiple degrees in finance, economics and accounting. Subsequently, he earned his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

David has created and written stories and screenplays since childhood, and is particularly interested in richly textured history and the drama behind major courtroom battles, such as in his first novel, FORTUNATE SON. His second novel, AMERICAN RED, another historical courtroom drama, is due to be published in late 2014.

He is a serial entrepreneur focused primarily on the arts. (He once owned eight bookstores across the United States.) David currently speaks and lectures at conferences and universities on transmedia, storytelling, entrepreneurship in the arts, and crowdfunding. He has been a featured contributor to MovieMaker magazine, Digital Book World, and many other publications.

He has developed and sold a number of film scripts and has directed/ acted in many regional theatrical performances. David is also a photo artist whose work has appeared in several galleries across the United States, and can be also seen at He lives outside Dallas, Texas, and has four children. 

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