John M. Burton QC was born in the north-west of England. He studied Law at London University and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1979. He has practiced as a barrister in London ever since and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2010. His main area of practice has been and remains, Criminal Law and he has used his knowledge and experience in that area to write novels about murder cases in the United Kingdom, titled, 'The Silk Tales'.
John has a passionate interest in history and has also written a number of novels dealing with real historical events including; a history of the Spartans in the Peloponnesian wars, two books dealing with Roman trials in the 1st century BCE, a notorious 18th century naval court martial and a novel about the Princes in the Tower.
THE SILK TALES
THE SILK BRIEF
"The Silk Brief" was John's first novel. It is a work of fiction but is based on John's extensive knowledge of real criminal trials and procedure. It deals with the life of David Brant QC, a Queen's Counsel's (a 'Silk') who is instructed in a murder case. The book takes the reader from the early stages of preparing the case all the way to jury's verdict.
THE SILK HEAD
"The Silk Head" is the second book in the series and sees David Brant QC again dealing with life at the Bar and problems in his chambers as well as his instruction in a difficult and complex murder case.
THE SILK RETURNS
"The Silk Returns" is the third book in the series and sees David Brant QC now a Head of Chambers dealing with criminal trials returned to him from other silks, namely, "Silk Returns". Everything in his life seems to be good until he is instructed on what seems on the face of it a simple murder case but increasingly becomes more complex. At the same time, serious problems arise in both his professional and personal life which seemingly have no easy solution.
THE SILK RIBBON
David Brant QC is a barrister who practices as a Queen’s Counsel at Temple Lane Chambers, Temple, London. He is in love with a bright and talented barrister from his chambers, Wendy, whose true feelings about him have been difficult to pin down. Just when he thinks he has the answer, a seductive Russian woman seeks to attract his attention, for reasons he can only guess at.
His case load has been declining since the return of his Head of Chambers, who is now taking all the quality silk work that David had formerly enjoyed. As a result, David is delighted when he is instructed in an interesting murder case. A middle class man has shot and killed his wife’s lover. The prosecution say it was murder, frustration caused by his own impotency, but the defence claim it was all a tragic accident. The case appears to David to be straight-forward, but, as the trial date approaches, the prosecution evidence mounts up and David finds himself against a highly competent prosecution silk, with a trick or two up his sleeve.
Will David be able to save his well-to-do client from the almost inevitable conviction for murder and a life sentence in prison? And what path will his personal life take when the beautiful Russian asks him out for a drink?
THE SILK CHILD
This is the fifth volume in the series, the Silk Tales, dealing with the continuing story of Queen’s Counsel (the Silk), David Brant QC.
Their romantic Valentine's weekend away in a five-star hotel, is interrupted by an unexpected and life-changing announcement by David’s fiancé, Wendy. David has to look at his life afresh and seek further casework to pay for the expected increase in his family’s costs.
The first case that comes along is on one of the most difficult and emotionally charged cases of his career. Rachel Wilson is charged with child cruelty and causing the death of her own baby by starvation.
The evidence against Rachel, particularly the expert evidence appears overwhelming and once the case starts, David quickly notices how the jurors react to his client, with ill-disguised loathing. It does not help that the trial is being presided over by his least favourite judge, HHJ Tanner QC, his former pupil-master.
David will need all his skill to conduct the trial and fight through the emotion and prejudice at a time when his own life is turned upside down by a frightening development.
Will he be able to turn the case around and secure an acquittal for an unsympathetic and abusive client who seems to deliberately demonstrate a lack of redeeming qualities?
THE CHRONICLES OF SPARTA
THE MYTH OF SPARTA
"The Myth of Sparta" is a work of fiction although it is based upon years of research into the history of the Spartans. It covers a period of 55 years from the death of King Leonidas and the Three Hundred Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae until the battle of Sphacteria with its surprising conclusion.
THE RETURN OF THE SPARTANS
"The Return of the Spartans" is a sequel to "The Myth of Sparta" and is Volume 2 of the Chronicles of Sparta. It continues where that novel left off with the battle of Sphacteria and covers the next seven years of the Peloponnesian War. It includes detailed accounts of all the major battles during that period from the eyes of those who participated in them, including the Philosopher, Socrates. It also provides an insight into the comic plays of Aristophanes, who viciously lampooned many of the political characters of the day.
THE MURDER TRIALS OF CICERO
"Parricide" is a combination of a court room drama and an historical novel set over two thousand years ago in the Roman courts. It covers in gripping detail the first murder trial conducted by the famous Roman lawyer, Marcus Tullius Cicero. It is based upon Cicero's published speech made on behalf of Sextus Roscius the younger, who was accused of the crime of 'Parricide', allegedly killing his own father. The novel deals with the politics behind the trial as well as the trial process itself and the surprising aftermath of the case.
It is six years since Cicero’s forensic success in the Sextus Roscius case and his life has been good. He has married and progressed through the Roman ranks and is well on the way to taking on the most coveted role of senator of Rome. Meanwhile his career in the law courts has been booming with success after success. However, one day he is approached by men from a town close to his hometown who beg him to represent a former slave on a charge of attempted poisoning. The case seems straight forward but little can he know that this case will lead him on to represent a Roman knight in a notorious case where he is charged with poisoning and with bribing judges to convict an innocent man. Cicero’s skills will be tried to the utmost and he will face the most difficult and challenging case of his career where it appears that the verdict has already been rendered against his client in the court of public opinion.
THE HISTORICAL TRIALS SERIES
THE TRIAL OF ADMIRAL BYNG
"The Trial of Admiral Byng" is a fictionalised retelling of the true story of the famous British Admiral Byng, who fought at the battle of Minorca in 1756 and was later court-martialled for his role in that battle. The book takes us through the siege of Minorca as well as the sea battle and then to the trial where Byng has to defend himself against serious allegations of cowardice, knowing that if he is found guilty there is only one penalty available to the court, his death.
TREACHERY, THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER
'Treachery - the Princes in the Tower' tells the story of a knight, Sir Thomas Clark who is instructed by King Henry VII to discover what happened to the Princes in the Tower. His quest takes him upon many journeys meeting many of the important personages of the day who give him conflicting accounts of what happened. However, through his perserverance he gets ever closer to discovering what really happened to the Princes, with startling consequences.