It is 1793.
Europe is ablaze with war. The British prime minister is under pressure to intimidate the French, and dispatches a Navy squadron to appear off the French coast. To man the ships, ordinary citizens must be press-ganged.
Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized and taken across country to be part of the crew of the ninety-eight-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast. Despite all he goes through, amid the dangers of tempest and battle, he comes to admire the skills and courage of his fellow seamen, taking up the challenge himself to become a true sailor and defender of Britain at war.
Kydd launches a masterly new writing talent and a thrilling new series. Based on dramatic real events, it is classic storytelling at its best, rich with action, exceptional characters, and a page-turning narrative.
Thomas Paine Kydd. Arrr, matey, there's a name to hang a man for sure. In this delightful first installment in a new series in the tradition of Patrick O'Brian, Kydd is a bright lad pressed into the service of his majesty (Farmer George, the Madness himself) on the ship-of-the-line Duke William. It's 1793, and England is on the brink of war with the French. In what seems almost a day-by-day account, we follow Kydd from his nightmarish introduction to naval life to his promotion to ordinary seaman. Befriended first by Joe Bowyer, a simple, honest sailor who teaches him the ropes, Kydd later makes the acquaintance of Nicholas Renzi, a cultivated-looking man with a secret. Camaraderie, grog and pride in their work is all the sailors have to ease the hardship of life on board ship. It's a rough life, and Stockwin skillfully makes readers share the pain and tedium of it, but this is more than a historical adventure tale: it is the story of the education of a young man. Stockwin, who joined the Royal Navy at 15 and retired a lieutenant commander, knows his ships and his men as well as his historical era. Kydd, a strong, ordinary sort with a mind of his own, is a convincing character and so are his shipmates. The jargon comes thick and fast, so much so that the book would have benefited from a glossary a ship's diagram would have come in handy, too. But the skim of the story and the depth of the characterizations will ease readers past any obscure terms.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a great series. So if you like sea stories don't miss this one! I have purchased three more of the Kydd series and so far they have not disappointed me. The only thing that would make them better is a glossary of terms .