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Victory [Hardcover]

Julian Stockwin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 24 2010
Commander Thomas Kydd is eager to play his part in thwarting Bonaparte's plans for the invasion of England. Joining Admiral Nelson's command, Kydd and his ship soon find themselves at the heart of the action that leads up to the famous clash of the mighty British and French fleets at Trafalgar. Kydd's journey takes him from false sightings of the enemy and dramatic chases across the Atlantic, to the bloody annihilation of the enemy during the actual battle, and the heroic aftermath. This is Kydd's most important adventure so far, and the most thrilling - the description of Trafalgar itself reads as freshly as though it happened yesterday, and Stockwin's trademark rich historical detail and heart-pounding action combine to bring the life the greatest sea battle in history.

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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.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Victory Sept. 18 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read every book that Julian Stockwin has written. I have yet to be disappointed. Brilliant writer.Second to none.
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Format:Paperback
When I 'sign on' to a book series, three factors must satisfy me: First, believability/accuracy. Second, excitement. Third, consistency/continuity. In a series, I find the third factor the most important. Consistency in a book series for me, means consistently good writing throughout the WHOLE series. Julian Stockwin has achieved this in his ten Thomas Kydd books, not an easy task to succeed at. Stockwin is successful in the consistency department because of his in-depth research, his unique choice of lead character and his obvious love of this genre.

I most heartily commend Julian Stockwin and recommend his Thomas Kydd series to you.

Sincerely

James (Jim) Parker
[...]
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5.0 out of 5 stars Destined to be an oft' read favourite! Sept. 29 2010
Format:Hardcover
Ahoy Shipmates! In this latest Kydd tale Julian Stockwin builds upon his character development and understanding of the era to produce a wonderful and gripping story. The first three chapters take us through a journey of loss, despair and elation that captures the attention. The saga unfolds and leads the reader to Trafalgar with an excitement and uncertainty, even though we know the historical outcome of the battle, we read with anticipation it's description.

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!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VICTORY FROM THE MASTER Sept. 14 2010
By Quarterdeck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
VICTORY is Julian's Stockwin's best yet in a masterful series that improves with each succeeding title. The author's latest triumph follows Thomas Kydd through a series of personal and professional peaks and valleys en route to a new command in Nelson's fleet and ultimately the climatic Battle of Trafalgar. The pace never slows from the first to the last page, as England faces the real possibility of invasion from across the Channel. Kydd's flawed, human qualities continue to shape his character among his friends and family even as his star as an officer in the King's Service ascends. The unpredictable intrigue between Nicholas Renzi and Cecilia, Tom's sister, adds considerable interest. Midshipman Charles Bowden, once a Kydd protege aboard 'Teazer', affords a uniquely intimate view of the Trafalgar campaign from aboard Nelson's celebrated flagship, HMS 'Victory'. The behind-the-scenes events leading up to the battle are related in Julian Stockwin's inimitable fashion, including a virtual tour of 'Victory' allowing armchair sailors to step aboard in the weeks preceding the fateful encounter. Naval fiction buffs will enjoy Stockwin's attention to detail, especially as it relates to seamanship and the internal workings of a man of war. This extraordinary book will be read and re-read!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vastly Entertaining and Edifying Sept. 22 2010
By James Sheire - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Julian Stockwin in this latest installment of the thrilling Thomas Kydd series at last brings us to the epic Napoleonic era Battle of Trafalgar, the most momentous clash of the great age of fighting sail. Stockwin puts Kydd right in the action among Admiral Horatio Nelson's desperate chase of French Admiral Villeneuve across the Atlantic and back and finally to the momentous battle that changed the course of history. In an example of how a series such as this entertains and edifies, Stockwin the expert provides this amateur reader a fine naval history lesson in placing Kydd the Frigate Captain in his proper role - first of providing his Commander in Chief with intelligence on the enemy's movements (as Stockwin has Nelson himself explain to Kydd) that brings the large line-of-battleships into action, then standing off in a support role. Kydd views the action from a distance, much as we the reader view it from the long gulf of history. Stockwin puts us into the center of action on board H.M.S. Victory as well, a vivid description of the horror of the battle, the exultation of triumph, and the tragedy of Nelson's death at the moment of victory.

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where's our Kydd? Sept. 21 2012
By David Wilkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stockwin doesn't disappoint, but things are getting long winded for some of his characters.

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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Land Lubber's Review Sept. 24 2010
By Blockhead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Julian Stockwin's Victory really punches up British history. The smoothness of the writing and the vivid descriptions make the reader feel as if one is watching "live action footage" - but with words. I found the author adroitly worked in nautical explanations so smoothly I wasn't frustrated or blocked from following the story line. It's written from the former ordinary seaman, Thomas Kydd's point of view, not from the aristrocacy or from a history teacher's dry writings. Stockwin does a great job of pulling empathy out of the reader. His analogies are strong. It's easy to understand the emotional and social environment.
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's difficult when the setting is so famous, but Stockwin could have handled it all rather better Feb. 8 2011
By Michael K. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is the 11th outing for Thomas Kydd, once a young wigmaker in Guildford -- before he was pressed into the Royal Navy as a landsman, discovered a natural talent for life at sea, moved up the ladder to Able Seaman and then a warrant as quartermaster, was raised to master's mate, got himself commissioned a lieutenant, and finally gained independent command of a small brig-sloop. All that in a decade. Now it's 1805 and, having lost his ship through no fault of his own, and with no "interest" with the powers that be, Commander Kydd half expects to be left on the beach in favor of those with far more seniority. But Bonaparte is on the verge of launching his invasion fleet and if that happens, it's all over for Britain. The Navy needs every man and officer and Kydd has unknown friends willing to do him a good turn -- like seeing that he's made post. He gets L'Aurore, a newly captured French frigate, lightly built and of rather old-fashioned style but very agile, and so trim she can make headway even in the lightest breeze. So Kydd acquires a new crew (the hard way -- and they don't like it even a little bit) and off he goes to join Admiral Nelson's Mediterranean fleet. And Our Nel becomes the focus of the book, as seen through the eyes of Kydd, the junior captain in the fleet, and from the close-up viewpoint of Midshipman Bowden, newly assigned to Victory, the Admiral's elderly flagship.

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.
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