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  • The true story behind 'Kidnapped'

    Thu, 18 Feb 2010 11:26

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    It has, according to the Guardian newspaper, been the basis for at least five novels, most famously Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped. But the newly revealed story of James Annesley is more incredible than any of the tales it inspired:

    As yarns go, it pretty much has it all. There's a street waif who's actually an aristocrat, heir to half a dozen titles and estates in England, Ireland and Wales. A dastardly uncle who'll stop at nothing to usurp him. A kidnapping most foul, and a decade of toil as an indentured servant in 18th-century America. Then, against impossible odds, a dashing return, and a quest for justice through the courts that held all society spellbound.

    The extraordinary story of James Annesley has inspired at least five novels, including Sir Walter Scott's Guy Mannering and, most famously, Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, one of the best-loved adventure books of all time. Yet the true story behind a case that was in its day every bit as sensational as those of Oscar Wilde, Myra Hindley or OJ Simpson were in theirs has never fully been told -- and it is, if anything, even more spectacular than the fictions spun around it (more...)

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