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Thomas Paine Kydd is press-ganged in Guildford, and is wrenched from his safe profession of wig making to join the crew of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. We have been treated to the horrors of the below-deck life of the common seaman before, but Stockwin renders these scenes as exuberantly as any of his predecessors. He is also particularly good at delineating the changing character of his hero, as Kydd comes to admire the skills of the seamen and (of course) becomes a true sailor himself. Although, at times, the book has the feel of the setting up of a new series, it's none the worse for that. Stockwin can command your attention with ease when his writing has such unyielding power as:
The boatswain's mate advanced, taking the cat-o-nine-tails from the bag. He took a position a full eight feet away to one side, and drew the long deadly lashes through his fingers, experimentally sweeping back to ensure that there was enough clear space to swing it. Kydd stared across the few yards of empty deck at the man's pale, helpless body. At the instant it flew downward the drumbeats stopped, so the sickening smack of the blow came loud and clear. Donelly did not cry out, but his gasp was high and choked. The nine tails not only left long bruised weals, but at every point where they landed, blood began to seep.--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
As a first novel, this book is impressive. Sometimes the story line seems a bit implausible, but the characters are vivid and realistic. Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2003
I'm a Hornblower fan, but unlike so many others, I've never enjoyed Patrick O'Brian's naval books. (They are fine books, I know; for some reason, they just don't click with me. Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2003 by Amazon Customer
For those of us mourning the loss of Patrick O'Brien and the end of his wonderful Aubrey/Maturin series Julian Stockwin's Kydd is a welcome addition to the genré. Read morePublished on Aug. 28 2002 by Jason P.
I find Julian Stockwin's novel "Kydd," the first in a projected series about the adventures of a Royal Navy seaman during the Napoleonic wars, to be a glass both half full and half... Read morePublished on May 8 2002 by Bruce Trinque
A wig-maker pressed into service against his will (yes, the press was around then) and an aristocrat on self-imposed exile, form an unlikely friendship as one struggles to master... Read morePublished on May 5 2002 by Tony Watson
This is an outstanding first effort, and the first book on naval fiction that presents the British navy in the age of Napoleon from the viewpoint of a pressed man. Read morePublished on May 1 2002 by bookjunkiereviews
Julian Stockwin's "Kydd" has a strong first half but dissapointed me during the second half. Read morePublished on April 30 2002 by steven moss