With Kydd, Julian Stockwin introduced us to a young wig-maker from Guildford who was kidnapped and pressed into duty with the tempestuous crew of the Duke William battle ship. Now, Thomas Paine Kydd is back -- with a vengeance -- in the latest installment of Stockwin's thrilling naval adventure series.
Artemis is the eighteenth-century crack frigate that Kydd and sea-mate Nicholas Renzi are set to sail all the way to the fabled Far East. In this great age of fighting sailing ships, Kydd's voyage promises to be a perilous undertaking. But not even shipwreck, mutiny, or a confrontation with a mighty French frigate manages to thwart Artemis and her crew. It's only when Kydd receives an urgent message from home -- one that threatens to cut short his career and trap him on shore forever -- that Artemis's real journey begins.
Filled with mesmerizing suspense and vivid details of Napoleonic-era seafaring, Artemis is classic, page-turning storytelling at its best.
A young sailor battles foes on sea and land in this second entry in Stockwin's 19th-century naval series. When we last left young Thomas Kydd, he had distinguished himself in battle aboard the Duke William (Kydd, 2001). Now, Kydd and fellow novice sailor Nicholas Renzi leave the lumbering Duke William for the sleek frigate Artemis and promptly find themselves in cutthroat battle again, overmatched against the French frigate Citoyenne. The face-off ends in hand-to-hand combat and a hard-won victory for the men of the Artemis. But Kydd's jubilation is short-lived; his sister, Cecilia, arrives unexpectedly with the news that their father's health is failing. Kydd must return home to provide for his family. Renzi, with whom the virginal Cecilia has been flirting, accompanies his friend. They work dutifully but unenthusiastically to open a school, longing all the while for the sea. A reprieve comes when Cecilia finds someone to run the school, freeing Kydd and Renzi to follow their passion. Fortune favors them again; they're able to rejoin the Artemis, which is bound for the Orient. On this odyssey, Kydd also finds love (with the effervescent Sarah Bullivant) and sees a good deal of India, Macao and China. An act of desertion threatens both the valued friendship of Renzi and Kydd and their futures with the Artemis. The story peaks early with the naval battle and slowly loses speed down the stretch, but period dialect and seagoing argot aplenty add credibility to the adventure, and the unworldly Kydd is an apt lens for the reader's journey.