THE CURMUDGEON'S TREE traces the character roots of Lassiter Malone, a hard-bitten amoral bastard who, by genetic osmosis and the twists of circumstance, emerges as the idiosyncratic, even brutal, composite of those who preceded him. Against a vibrantly written backdrop of American history and today's bureaucratic avarice, Malone pens his recollections of a life lived on the razor's edge. From his Irish immigrant ancestry to manipulative modern-day kingpin, he is a callous, cynical cuss you may, albeit begrudgingly, come to admire.
Hard though Lassiter Malone's heart became it was won over by two women, the mercurial Kathleen Lowell Prescott, the high-spirited daughter of a powerful media magnate, and the ethereally beautiful Scarlett Belle Tannehill, born to the wealth carved out of the towering Louisiana pine forests. The impetuous Kathleen broke that heart. Steadfast Scarlett would later do everything she could to mend it. But when Malone's destiny crossed paths with Ethan Cantrell, a shadowy operative with the Central Intelligence Agency, his life was set on a course complete with murder and machination, back alleys and boardrooms, cupidity and corruption.
The family saga evolves into a topical thriller in which Malone must endure the witchhunts of those bent on his destruction. From the vicious attacks initiated by billionaire Ellison Green and his politically ambitious, empty-headed son Stanford, to the inquisitions launched by the FBI and bleeding-heart crusaders to bring him down, he must battle to survive long enough to set in surprising motion one last redemptive act of decency.
David Branon, a Harvard magna cum laude graduate, was the chief executive
officer of a very successful business that was ultimately folded into a worldwide sporting goods conglomerate. He became chairman of that entity's multi-million dollar Americas operation before strapping on an early parachute to pursue the passion of words rather than the sterility of numbers, however lucrative the latter may have been. He lives with his wife in Greenville, South Carolina.
"A chilling and timely look at the genealogy of power. A fearsome self-autopsy.
Corporate greed feasting on the vulnerability of the weak. Passionate love lost,
committed love gained. As American history: concise and compact. As novel:
compelling. As literature: just open to any page. A gritty, relentless read. Humor. Insight. A tremendous talent."
--Bill Branon, author of Let Us Prey, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year