Internationally bestselling author Julian Stockwin's seafaring hero, young Thomas Kydd, comes of age in this epic naval adventure set in the Great Age of Sail.
Writing in the sweeping tradition of Patrick O'Brian and C. S. Forester, acclaimed author Julian Stockwin continues the saga of Seaman Thomas Paine Kydd as he moves up the ranks of the Napoleonic-era British navy.
The year is 1794. Kydd and the other shipwrecked sailors have returned to England for the court-martial of the sole surviving officer of Her Majesty's frigate Artemis. Kydd was on duty the thirteenth of April as quartermaster of the starboard watch. He knows what happened that dreadful night. His evidence can destroy an officer's career.
Kydd is devastated by the loss of his ship, and he's shocked when he's not allowed to tell the court his story. Instead, Kydd and his good friend Nicholas Renzi are forcibly shipped off to the Caribbean. After many lonely months at sea, they don't even have a chance to go ashore to see family and friends.
New adventures await, however, as both Kydd, a man of humble origins gradually rising through the ranks, and Renzi, whose exalted family heritage remains a tantalizing mystery, discover the pleasures and hazards of a lush new land.
The journey will take Kydd from a dockyard in Antigua to a life-and-death struggle on the high seas aboard the plucky naval cutter Seaflower. While war between England and Revolution-torn France escalates, Kydd's mettle under fire -- as a sailor and a man -- receives the ultimate test.
Set at the dawn of a new century, Seaflower gives us the primal forces of nature at sea where they are at their most untamed and exhilarating. This is classic storytelling at its powerful best.
The latest installment of this rousing naval adventure series set during the Napoleonic wars finds stalwart British seaman Thomas Kydd and his comrade, slumming aristocrat-philosophe Nicholas Renzi, ping-ponging around the Caribbean as Britain and France fight over the West Indies. The manic plot encompasses four battles, three courts of naval inquiry, two hurricanes, two shark attacks, a shipwreck, yellow fever, the rescue of French Royalists and a few floggings and dinner parties. As Kydd surmounts all leadership challenges, his courage and resourcefulness are praised by a series of ever more august naval father figures, and he experiences a dizzying social ascent from ordinary sailor to master's mate, picking up along the way the navigational skills and drawing-room manners of an officer and a gentleman. The oedipal fantasy at the heart of the book dovetails with simplistic anti-Jacobin politics, in which the British Navy is a bastion of meritocracy and upward mobility, achieving through incrementalism and rational hierarchy what the French fail to achieve through social revolution. Kydd's two-dimensional character is all virtue and heroism even a stint as a slave overseer leaves him morally uncompromised and the book never surpasses the level of vigorous melodrama. Still, Stockwin's richly detailed, if idealized, portrait of life on ship and shore in Britain's oceanic empire is engrossing. He writes evocatively of shipboard routine, the panic and confusion of combat and the terrifying approach of a storm at sea, and he knows how to stage enthralling action scenes. His ability to tap into male wish-fulfillment will ensure a growing readership.