Conquest Paperback – Sep 20 2011
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This heady adventure blends fact and fiction in rich, authoritative detail.―Nautical Magazine on VICTORY
Stockwin's descriptions of the bloody reality of naval combat 200 years ago are memorably vivid―Yorkshire Evening Post on VICTORY
Paints a vivid picture―Daily Express on KYDD
A born storyteller and a man with a vivid imagination . . . his research is accurate and first class.―Flagship on TREACHERY
More historically accurate than the Patrick O'Brien series―Royal Navy Sailing Association journal on the KYDD series
I was turning the pages almost indecently fast―Independent on KYDD
Another thundering good read for those who love seagoing stories in the Hornblower mould―Peterborough Evening Telegraph on TREACHERY
About the Author
Julian Stockwin was sent at the age of fourteen to Indefatigable, a tough sea-training school. He joined the Royal Navy at fifteen before transferring to the Royal Australian Navy, where he served for eight years in the Far East, Antarctic waters and the South Seas. In Vietnam he saw active service in a carrier task force.
After leaving the Navy (rated Petty Officer), Julian practised as an educational psychologist. He lived for some time in Hong Kong, where he was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve. He was awarded the MBE and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He now lives in Devon with his wife Kathy. More information can be found on his website at www.JulianStockwin.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So, what has Mr Stockwin done again, I hear you ask? Well, even if you have never been near the sea reading a Kydd novel by him has a uniqueness about it that is so descriptive, that you can almost taste the salt in your mouth and the spray on your face as you plunge through the waves aboard the L'Aurore captained and crewed by the utterly convincing characters at the helm and in the rigging of this ship. Whether it be in the English Channel or rounding the Cape into the Indian Ocean you can feel the surge of the vessel as she is in full sail into the next adventure or chapter, it really is that good, and that is what you want from a book. A book is something more than a collection of the words contained within the covers, a book is a device unlike any other whether it be TV or Movie or Video or Comic.
A book is a means by which an author presents to you the reader, his or her words in a way that allows you to visualise in your minds eye every detail of every character of every scene presented in full mind blowing technicolour imagery that only the imagination can present....always much more satisfying than on screen, to my mind at least.
Julian Stockwin does this so skilfully in the Kydd series and this is clearly down to the research he puts into each book in developing these quasi historical dramas. Fiction is cleverly interwoven with past reality and we find that Kydd and the crew of L'Aurore, still recovering from their own trials at the Battle of Trafalgar are tasked with the honour of bearing the body of Admiral Lord Nelson back to London for his state funeral, Having been involved in the greatest naval battle of all time you would think that Stockwin would cut them a break with some shore leave, but no, he is a hard taskmaster and no sooner is the body delivered to Greenwich and they are back on the outgoing tide back down the Thames and into the open sea, as fast as they can be re-supplied.
The Action moves onto Maderia where Kydd is attached a a squadron bound for Africa with Army units with orders to relieve the Dutch of their possession of the Cape and surrounding environs and bring it into the Empire. Kydd is attached to Commanding General's staff on land for the first battles and is horrified by the carnage that he sees and that we feel as we also read the description of what takes place, and we like him are praying for relief by being allowed back to OUR ship.
Having won a decisive but unexpected victory, while the main opposing forces carry out a tactical withdrawal , well that's what British Army commanders call them, but if you were a grunt like me the shorter version was usually just a retreat, in land, the commander left in charge of the Cape capitulates and hands the town and fort over to the British. Kydd is reunited with his ship but arranges for dear Renzi to then become attached to the Commanding General who has become the 'New' Governor and in need of a 'Colonial Secretary'. If you haven't read any of the Kydd novels (why not?) you will understand the sublime happiness that this unexpected turn of events gives to the reader to see poor Nicholas so elevated, but you will need to read the previous books to get that feeling you get where Nicholas Renzi is concerned (sometimes you just want to give him a kick in the pants to get him motivated, but you do feel for him).
So, the race is on by the British to secure their new holdings and once again Kydd is in the mix, fighting the sea and the French to preserve this new part of Empire and all I can say is if you haven't read any of Julian Stockwin's novels you really are missing out. They are both entertaining and educating. Did you know that Royal Navy ships of old, for example, required both a Captain and a Sailing Master. The ship could not sail without the latter who was responsible for navigation, not a function that the Captain was expected to carry out, well, neither did I until I started reading Mr Stockwin, so there you go, have a thoroughly enjoyable read and education for the price of one, what more can be had from a good historical drama............
Well that has changed. Renzi emerged from the shadows and did something worthwhile. I hope that he will continue to do so. As for the rest of the tale, well we see see a great piece of history but I seem to feel that we are being given a little less than a full story once more.
Perhaps Julian is not spending as much time as he should at his computer writing. Where was a great naval action. The one that there is, Kydd runs away in the middle giving us tension and drama, but in this sea tale, not enough of cannons, and boarding action.
There are a great deal of historical significance, but each time it comes to a fight, it seems this is rather glossed over, and here we also have a land action that could fill the pages.
Something seems to have gone missing. Stockwin still ranks above O'Brien in my thought, but this one is good for everything that doesn't happen on the sea, and shouldn't we see more of what does.