Victory Hardcover – Jun 24 2010
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'Well-written mixture of high-seas adventure and character-based drama ... impossible not to enjoy' -- Booklist 'Elegantly plotted ... the writing has the power of a broadside at close range.' -- Oxford Times 'More historically accurate than the Patrick O'Brien series' -- Royal Navy Sailing Association journal on the KYDD series 'This latest book is as fresh as the first to be published ... the characters have matured as the tales unfolded and each story adds a new layer of complexity ... a fictional tale that takes forward the careers of his two heroes in such a natural way that they feel to be a genuine part of history, interacting with the real story of Nelson, Trafalgar and Victory.' -- Firetrench 'The book doesn't disappoint. Blended with fact and fiction, it is written with authoritative detail by a gifted storyteller who is passionate about the Great Age of Sail.' -- Western Morning News 'This heady adventure blends fact and fiction in rich, authoritative detail. The author closely follows historical record, taking readers into the world-defining events of 1805.' -- Nautical Magazine 'The full-blooded seagoing adventures of Commander Thomas Kydd reach another thrilling chapter as our hero's ship joins Admiral Nelson's fleet in a determined move to thwart Bonaparte's plans for the invasion of England.' -- Peterborough Evening Telegraph 'The false sightings of the enemy fleet, Nelson's dramatic chase across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the final confrontation at Trafalgar are all expertly described. Stockwin's descriptions of the bloody reality of naval combat 200 years ago are memorably vivid, and reveal a profound respect for the seamen who were willing to sacrifice their lives to help save their country.' -- Yorkshire Evening Post '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 'Another ripping yarn' -- Good Book Guide on TREACHERY 'Stockwin paints a vivid picture of life aboard the mighty ship-of-the-line...the harsh naval discipline, the rancid food, and the skill of the common sailor are all skilfully evoked.' -- Daily Express on KYDD 'Stockwin is a born storyteller and a man with a vivid imagination. Importantly, his research is accurate and first class.' -- Flagship on TREACHERY 'You'll live life at sea and in those times throughout this novel. Much has been written about the Battle of Trafalgar. Much has been said about Lord Nelson. Be there, meet him, in the pages of VICTORY.' -- Booksville
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.
Top Customer Reviews
I found my first Kydd novel (Seaflower) in a bargain bin at a major book seller. I was hooked quickly and eagerly await each new edition. There is a wonderful newsletter for fans by the Bosun, can be found on Julian's website.
This novel can be read by itself, a smashing good tale as it were, however, if one follows through the series there is a great deal waiting for the reader to engage with and enjoy.
Well done Julian. Keep writing!
I most heartily commend Julian Stockwin and recommend his Thomas Kydd series to you.
James (Jim) Parker
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
On a side note, I'm puzzled at the Publisher's Weekly review above that complained of the seemingly slow pace leading up to battle - perhaps completely missing the point that, like a game of chess, a long period of tense but exciting maneuvering for advantage precedes the eventual clash, another fine example of Stockwin teaching the reader something of naval strategy in the correct historic context of the Battle of Trafalgar. Kydd did not have an iPhone when learning of the French fleet's escape - instead having to "crack on" furiously back to the fleet, rowing madly in his gig to the flagship, then dashing up the side to bring news to the eager Nelson waiting on deck, the 1800's equivalent of a text message. For the fan of fine historic fiction and naval adventure, including the fans of Patrick O'Brian, David Donachie, C.S. Forester, and others, buy this book today.
We certainly have exhausted our heroes side kick, Nicholas at this stage. Before he was a guide, but bow he seems as useless as a jellyfish. His classical learning helps at one point, but his angst ridden presence just takes up too much space. Certainly time to either make use of him, or get rid of him.
We spend so much time with the secondary sidekick, and Nelson, that we have little development of our hero, despite his getting made Post Captain and a frigate. This should be a great focus on him, as well as his POV of watching Trafalgar unfold.
Instead Stockwin is proud of his plot device, putting a former midshipman of Kydd's into Victory and watching some of the main action from there. I am not sure that this works. Kydd is part of the squadron of the great Admiral. That is more than enough, though their are moments portrayed with this plot device that are unique.
Still, since we do not see the battle through the eyes of our series hero, the entirety feels as if this is a transition book. A book that Stockwin needed to tackle because Trafalgar is essential to the saving of England. I am not of the belief that everything was as dire as Stockwin builds on, in his private meetings with a dying Pitt, and other vignettes we see.
But as a whole, the sense of urgency in which Trafalgar was needed to be fought is conveyed. Just wish we had seen it through more of Kydd's POV.
If you have time, start reading the first of Stockwin's books about Kydd. It will both enrich your understanding and increase your enjoyment of this book as you read of the culmination of Kydd's career with Lord Nelson during the Napoleonic wars.
It's important to remember that Nelson is not a British national hero merely by the effects of history. In fact, he was the greatest celebrity of his own day, idolized not only by the majority of officers and seamen of the Royal Navy but by virtually all the civilian inhabitants of Britain. His status was even greater than that of Churchill in World War II, and far exceeded the renown of 20th century military figures like McArthur and Patton. Partly, of course, this is because of his successes against the enemy and his larger-than-life personality but also because, unlike in modern warfare, he was on his own when it came to making strategic decisions. The Admiralty was more than six weeks away in sailing time; the architects of the naval war in London had simply to make what plans they could and then stand back and trust their fighting admirals to make the right choices. And Nelson deserves the adulation. Kydd had known Nelson from the great victory at the Nile and the commander-in-chief has a high regard for Our Hero's abilities. It's well known, in fact, that Nelson was partial to officers who had come up to the quarterdeck through the hawse-hole -- his own flag captain and lieutenant were self-made men like Kydd -- so Stockwin isn't just being fanciful.
In war, context is everything to a strategist. Stockwin does a good job of laying out the intricacies of diplomatic and political affairs in the Mediterranean, what with the Russians, the Ottomans (especially the individualist governors in the Greek dependencies), the remains of Venice, independent Naples and Sardinia, and the Balkan states. Being a frigate captain, as Kydd observes with a sigh, involves a good deal more than just being able to lay a course. The author also spends considerable time on the geekier aspects of running a frigate or a three-decker, from watering to signals. And his battle scenes are especially vivid, as is the death of Nelson in his (and his nation's) moment of triumph.
If I have a complaint about this episode in Kydd's career, it's that it's not *long* enough -- barely 300 pages. L'Aurore doesn't join up with Nelson's Mediterranean Fleet until the halfway point and much of the long chase and return across the Atlantic in pursuit of Villeneuve is compressed into too few pages. This lead-up to the climax at Trafalgar should be the focus of the story -- it was certainly the focus of the war at sea against Bonaparte, and everyone knew it -- and while chase and the great sea battle don't get short shrift, exactly, there ought to have been far more detail and extended description and discussion, especially in its earlier phases, which I personally would have fascinating. Calder's inconclusive confrontation with Villeneuve -- a fascinating and not well-known encounter -- ought to be good for fifty pages by itself, not just a couple of sentences. And why couldn't we see some of this from the French viewpoint, since Stockwin doesn't hesitate to jump to the First Lord and the Prime Minister to explain things. At least the desultory romance between Kydd's sister, Cecelia, and his best friend, the aristocratic and not particularly likable Nicholas Renzi (he's become a self-absorbed whiner) kept somewhat in the background this time by the press of events.