Category Archives: Naval Fiction

Review: Kydd by Julian Stockwin


Cover of "Kydd"

Cover of Kydd

Kydd
Kydd by Julian Stockwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kydd by Julian Stockwin

I came late to the books of Julian Stockwin and that I started to read his stories is because being disabled and not always able to get out myself, Maureen was the one who saw “Conquest” the quick choice shelf at Pimlico library and knowing how much I am partial to yarns of this sort she had no worries in getting it for me, in any case I read this novel and was instantly captivated by the escapades of Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi.
I read two more books that was out of sequence these were “Treachery” and “The Admiral’s Daughter”, I made a determined effort to start again at the beginning of the series of books and so we now start with;
“Kydd”;

Thomas Paine Kydd is press-ganged in Guildford, and is wrenched from his safe profession of wig making to join the crew of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. We have been treated to the horrors of the below-deck life of the common seaman before, but Stockwin renders these scenes as exuberantly as any of his predecessors. He is also particularly good at delineating the changing character of his hero, as Kydd comes to admire the skills of the seamen and (of course) becomes a true sailor himself. Although, at times, the book has the feel of the setting up of a new series, it’s none the worse for that. Stockwin can command your attention with ease when his writing has such unyielding power as:

This the first book in a series of stories about Thomas Kydd and his friend Nicholas Renzi, and I liked it I now know who, what, why and where these two met and as this is another rollicking good yarn from one of my favourite story weavers of true boy’s own adventures I was well pleased.
I really appreciated the meticulous background knowledge that Julian Stockwin gives of life at sea at the time of the Napoleonic wars and found myself transported back to the era that made the Royal Navy under the command of great seagoing heroes like Nelson great.
This story follows the life of Thomas Kydd who is against his will pressed into naval service, a much more ruthless world in contrast to his life ashore as a wig maker.

At times I did find myself paying a visit to the dictionary or the laptop to translate some of the naval slang and jargon along with some 18th century wording, but I didn’t mind that as Julian wants us to be immersed into that era for a more complete adventure (I think).

As I have already read some of this series I recommend this book I believe that Julian Stockwin is an instinctive teller of tales and, with Thomas Kydd and the captivating intrigues he is a man with a stunning imagination and just as unfalteringly his research is truthful and matchless.

I can’t recommend the stories of Thomas Kydd by Julian Stockwin highly enough.

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Review: Conquest by Julian Stockwin


ConquestConquest by Julian Stockwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I came late to the books of Julian Stockwin and this novel is the first one I have read, out of sequence I know but my excuse is that being disabled and not always able to get out myself, Maureen was the one who saw this book on the quick choice shelf at Pimlico library and knowing how much I am partial to yarns of this sort she had no qualms in getting it for me, in any case I read this novel and was instantly captivated by this escapade of Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi.
After the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar removed the image of invasion and England is now free to seek conquests and colonies in the furthest reaches of the world.
Captain Kydd joins an expedition to take Dutch-held Cape Town, a strategic imperative to secure the rich trade-route to India. But even if the British can defeat the enemy and take possession of the capital, there is still more fighting to be done.
Kydd and his men must defend the fragile colony from attacks by the enemy from all sides, while braving the wild beasts and hostile environment of Africa‘s vast and savage hinterland.
Conquest launched me in what I trust will be a series of brand new adventures, a twelve book exploration in the Thomas Kydd series.
I found this book to be attention-grabbing historically owing to the story being set at the emergence of the British Empire which is one of the main periods of history I am interested in and studied.
Stockwin vividly links fact with fiction and I found the entire story enthralling and compelling at the same time.
The account of the landing and ensuing ground campaign was agreeably written and the mind images depicted ship you back to the actions as they happened.
To do research is vital when writing stories of this kind and Julian Stockwin surely shows the way in his interpretation of life in the Cape in the early 1800’s along with the actual characters of the time and his skill to steer clear of disorder really cut to the chase.

I look forward to reading the whole series hopefully in series order to find out just how the two friends met and how Kydd rose from before the mast to the quarterdeck.
For me Conquest ticks all the usual boxes for a rollicking good read with its indefatigable plot and rate of knots, but always told with enthusiasm and historical intensity, here I find a writer who not only knows his subject but cares for it deeply, I loved each and every page and you must not miss this brilliantly written book but unlike me get your books in series order. I strongly recommend Conquest to all readers attracted to naval fiction and indeed historical fiction in general.

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Review: The Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin


The Admiral's DaughterThe Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts and Comments on The Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin

From my last review you will all know that I came late to the books of Julian Stockwin and once again this is another of his rip-roaring yarns I have read out of sequence again you will all know the reason why but I’ll tell you again that my excuse is that being disabled and not always able to get out myself, Maureen is the one who saw this book on the shelf at Pimlico library. I have now started to order the books online so hopefully I will get to read the in some sort of sequence.

As I said this is another first-rate read for those of us who are keen on seafaring yarns in the Hornblower and Bolitho style

In this the eighth book of this series, Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi return to England in 1803 after tumultuous episodes on the other side of the world to find England in peril of starvation and bankruptcy. Kydd is placed back in command of his beloved vessel, Teazer, but he barely has time to prep her for the sea when he is sent on an urgent mission. Smugglers, enemy privateers, and treacherous sea conditions await Kydd on his journey to northern France on the eve of war, but equally worrisome events are occurring ashore. A growing attachment to the admiral’s daughter curbs Kydd’s blissful reunion with Teazer and he is forced to make a terrible decision that may cause the end of his friendship with Renzi, or the end of his naval career.

The Admiral’s Daughter by Julian Stockwin is another super first-class yarn from this superb writer of the sea, crammed with twists and turns he manages to keep steady Kydd’s spell at sea and ashore well, along with his portrayal of life for Kydd in early nineteenth century England is spellbinding.

The further I read about Thomas Kydd, the more I connect to him and as I expected to I prized reading the seafaring chapters, which this master story-teller brings alive, pulling the reader into the location in a way that makes you to feel as though you are actually there.

Once again I find that I must recommend you all to read the narratives of Julian Stockwin a master teller of tales who with just a few words can transport you in your mind’s eye to a time and place long gone, but not forgotten, reading these stories are almost like travelling in a time machine.

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Review: Treachery by Julian Stockwin



Treachery by Julian Stockwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Again I have read out of series order, but that doesn’t really matter, as this is another rollicking good yarn from one of my favourite story weavers of true boy’s own adventures, in this one we find that;
Thomas Kydd has dragged himself up in the Navy from press-ganged seaman to captain of his own ship. Now he faces disgrace. After losing favour with his superiors, and suffering terrible personal tragedy, Kydd and his ship are sent to guard the Channel Islands from Napoleon’s forces. When he is brutally betrayed off the Normandy Coast and removed from command, only his old friend Renzi is willing to stick by him.
Kydd is determined to clear his name, but soon finds himself fighting yet another battle he seems to have no chance of winning. Can he defeat his enemies on both sides, and win back the glory taken from him?
Julian Stockwin has done it again he has cast an enchantment over the booklover to heave them into the exciting world of Thomas Kydd, a working class lad who has advanced from being a pressed man of the lower deck to the quarterdeck over a succession of seafaring yarns.
A superbly written book, progressing the story of Thomas Kydd and his best friend Nicholas Renzi.
Through more twists and turns than a first-rate murder mystery this paperback is in basic terms outstanding and once started it is easier said than done to put down, Julian Stockwin weaves a remarkable account set early on in 18th Century England as well as sticking to his guns with the standard of story telling he has made me appreciate.
Julian Stockwin is a instinctive teller of tales and, with his Thomas Kydd and the captivating intrigues a man with a stunning imagination and just as unfalteringly his research is truthful and matchless, I can’t recommend Treachery highly enough.

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