It is two years since Thomas Paine Kydd was spirited away in the night to serve his country aboard the 'Duke William'. Now, with his friend Nicholas Renzi and crew members from the 'Artemis', Tom is a shipwrecked sailor back in the land of his birth.
©2003 Julian Stockwin (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is book three in the Thomas Kydd series of historical nautical fiction. Stockwin’s richly detailed portrait of life on ship and shore during the Napoleonic Wars is engrossing. He writes of shipboard routine, the panic and confusion of combat and the terrifying approach of a hurricane at sea. Stockwin writes from the view point of a common sailor in the 18th century British Navy. It is all here the cramped conditions, the disgusting food, the underserved punishment and cruelty of some officers and the unremitting toil.
From the beginning of the book we are plunged into a fast paced series of actions. The manic plot encompasses four battles, three courts of naval inquiry, two hurricanes, two shark attacks, a shipwreck, yellow fever, and rescue of French Royalist and a few floggings and dinner parties.
Kydd goes from an ordinary sailor to a Master’s mate, picking up along the way the navigational skills and drawing room manners of an officer and a gentleman. The setting of the story is in the Caribbean as Britain and France fight over the West Indies in about 1795. Christian Rodska does his usual great job in narrating the story.
The Author comes very close to O'Brien's telling of the nature of Nineteenth Century life aboard a Royal Navy ship. Stockwin actually gives a more complete insight into ship board terms and the duties of ordinary seaman.
I like the way Stockwin has his hero advancing, from the lowest of the low, to even more adventures. Although trials still abounded here, and wonderful cruise with old shipmates, was like a vacation cruise in the series.
"Seaflower - No Shrinking Violet"
This is one of my favourites in the Kydd series. Kydd and Renzi advance continue to navigate through the trials of both naval and social life this time in the Carribean. The relationship between the two develops further as Kydd tries to emulate the smooth manners of the gentleman that is Renzy. Both men have outstanding skills and talents but are as different as chalk and cheese.
Stockwin understands his subject. The descriptions of life on board ship, the claustrophobic existence between decks, the risk and danger simply of sailing one of those majestic vessels plus obviously the nerve shredding terror of combat aboard are all captured and described expertly.
On top of that the difficulties of progressing through the ranks and the other skills that are required provide an interesting counterpoint to the significant amounts of action.
Rodska delivers it all with consummate skill and has a voice perfectly suited for naval characters of the period. Somehow he also manages to carry off the social aspects of the book too though I can guess which part he feels most comfortable doing!
"First class seafaring yarn."
Admirable story of adventures reminiscent of Hornblower superbly narrated by Christian Rodska. Very much appreciated.
Excellently narrated. Julian Stockwin is growing the characters very well. If you are looking for a page turning frenzy of action then this is not going to fit the bill as Stockwin builds commendable depth into the plot. He has grown a commendable supporting cast around his central character which Christian Rodska brilliantly brings to life. Having listened to a number of woeful narrations in the Jack Aubrey series on this site it is a real pleasure to soak up his engaging style. (By the way - beware following the Jack Aubrey series on Audible - they have no more books after volume 17 which is more than annoying). Looking forward to getting stuck into the next novel, Mutiny.
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