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Kydd: A Naval Adventure [Paperback]

By Julian Stockwin (Author)
Our Price $ 11.90  
Retail Value $ 14.00  
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Item Number 150216  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.9" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2002
Publisher   Touchstone
ISBN  0743214595  
EAN  9780743214599  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Paperback $ 14.00 $ 11.90 150216
Paperback $ 18.00 $ 15.30 426468 In Stock
Item Description...

Europe is ablaze with war. The British prime minister is under pressure to intimidate the French and dispatches a Navy squadron to appear off the French coast. To man the ships, ordinary citizens must be press-ganged.

Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized and taken across the country to be part of the crew of the ninety-eight-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast. Despite all he goes through, amid dangers of tempest and battle, he comes to admire the skills and courage of his fellow seamen, taking up the challenge himself to become a true sailor and defender of Britain at war.

Kydd launches a masterly new writing talent and is the first installment of a thrilling new series. Based on dramatic real events, it is classic storytelling at its best, rich with action, exceptional characters, and a page-turning narrative.

Buy Kydd: A Naval Adventure by Julian Stockwin from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780743214599 & 0743214595

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More About Julian Stockwin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Julian Stockwin is the internationally bestselling author of "Kydd, Artemis, Seaflower, " and "Mutiny, " the first four novels in the Kydd adventure series. Having joined the Royal Navy at age fifteen, he retired from the Royal Naval Reserve as a lieutenant commander and was awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE). He and his wife live in Devon, England. Visit the author's website at

Julian Stockwin currently resides in Devon.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [79254  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Action & Adventure   [11045  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical   [11224  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Thrown in to sink or swim!  Jun 5, 2008
Thomas Paine Kydd is a young wig-maker from Guildford who goes out for a drink in the local tavern one night and finds himself caught up by a Press Gang. He's thrown into the alien world of a ship-of-the-line in the year 1793, when Britain is at war against the French. He can not escape this fate and what lies ahead of him is life as the lowliest of the low aboard the ship... or he can try to better the lot he's been thrust into. Bowyer, an experienced seaman sees something in Kydd and helps him literally learn the ropes.

Seeing the harsh, unique world of a navy ship during time of war from the viewpoint of a pressed man who has never been near the sea was fascinating. The narrator, however, is thoroughly steeped in nautical terminology and the words and phrases flow thick and fast, giving the less-experienced reader a hint of the confusion of Kydd's first days. The author's sense of the period and life aboard ship seems thorough and assured.

Kydd is a fine everyman to relate to, having had a decent but unremarkable life during his twenty years. There doesn't seem to be much to mark him as someone who may actually succeed in this new environment, but perhaps it's nothing more than a willingness to learn and adapt and make the best of situations that cannot be changed.

As fascinating as Kydd's adjustment to life at sea is, there are also battles against the French both on land and sea, all well described and full of action. The secondary characters were also interesting, varied and unusual.

I enjoyed this first installment in what looks to be a great series. Kydd, unlike many other heroes of seafaring adventure tales, has a long way to go and a lot to prove, against great odds. I'm curious to see how he overcomes his obstacles to not only survive, but to thrive in a career he was forced into.
Solid but not spectacular start to new naval history series   May 29, 2008
Kydd is unusual among British naval history series in telling the tale from the vantage point ,not of an officer ,but a lowly seaman .Thomas Kydd is in fact a pressed man .Originally a wig maker in the prosperous Surrey town of Guildford ,he is taken by a press gang and compelled to serve in a ship of the line ,the Royal William .The year is 1792 and Britain is at war with Revolutionary France .Prime Minister Pitt the Younger is reluctant to initiate any action but is under increasing pressure to set naval action in train .While the fleet has a sufficiency of ships ,men are in short supply -hence the press gangs .

The vessel is set to patrolling the French coast .The work is physically arduous ,conditions Spartan but Kydd finds himself increasingly drawn to the life of the seaman and finds a mentor in the kindly and experienced Bowyer who teaches him the skills required on board a ship.He is also befriended by the enigmatic Nicholas Renzi ,a man of learning who is exculpating the sins of his landed family but voluntary exile at sea .

The first part of the book looks in some detail at shipboard life .Without ever quite going into the immensely precise detail of say Patrick O'Briens Jack Aubrey books these pages do convey a real feel for what life must have been like on board a ship in that era .The book is almost at the 200 page mark before we any contact with the enemy is made and then ,ironically in a naval series ,it is a land skirmish as the navy is deployed to assist the Army is supporting a Loyalist uprising in France ,an event which turns into a fiasco.
during the course of the book Kydd loses friends ,is unjustly flogged and even deserts briefly before a fianl twist sets up a sequel ,Artemis .

The book is well enough done to sustain interest and keep one looking out for the second book in the sequence but it is not without flaws ,mostly those of pacing with an overly leisurely first half trying the patience a tad .The battles are well done and the writing clear and polished ,although the technical jargon is a tad opaque at times .

Lovers of the naval action genre and miltary yarns in general will find much to enjoy but its not quite top drawer ,at least at this stage in the series
The adventure of a lifetime begins.....  Jan 27, 2008
I like many other fans of this genre, started with books by Forester, and Kent. Later, I found the books of Pope, O'Brian and Woodman to name but just a few. As the relative newcomer, Julian Stockwin has charted a different course from his illustrious counterparts. This series has come on the scene in the form of breath of fresh air. No longer are we to follow the adventures exclusively from the quarterdeck. The feeling of being forced unwillingly into this life immediately evokes sympathy from the reader and gets the reader to support the character almost immediately. The pressing of men into the King's Service was harsh, but legal in the time of Kydd. We learn the ropes along with the main protagonist. What we may not know as readers is mirrored by Kydd, and through him we learn as well.

The loss of some of the main supporting characters is refreshing as well; life at sea is hard and unforgiving. The gritty view of life from between decks was intense and very evocative. The believability rang true to the stories I heard from my grandfather who was a merchant seaman in the early 1900's in the waning days of the age of sail. To modern sensibilities the plotlines may seem a bit contrived and unbelievable, I would say they may be fantastic but no more so than the lives of some of the actual people who lived in that time. Consider that Admiral Bligh, from Mutiny on the Bounty, was involved in not just one but three mutinies in his career. What is the likelihood of that? A check of the Trafalgar Roll shows numerous sailors and officers that served in many of the climactic battles of the time. As for the seemingly episodic nature
of this genre, that is the sailor's life. The sailor's life is one of long periods of boredom, drudgingly tedious work interrupted by minutes to at most hours of excitement and danger. An account of those tedious hours wouldn't make for very good reading, nor would it sell books.

I for one could not put this book down. I am convinced that this is a must-have series. I will pick up every new installment. Kydd is destined for bigger and better things and so are we as readers.


Ken Erichsen
Life on the High Seas--another adventure!  Aug 30, 2007
In "Kydd, A Naval Ad venture," we find yet another historical (fictional) account of life on the high seas with the Royal Navy. Julian Stockwin relies upon his own knowledge of sea life (albeit from some three centuries or so later) to begin what has become a mesmerizing series. A young Thomas Paine Kydd is "inducted" into the Royal Navy the popular and easy (not to mind illegal) way of shanghaing whatever man and boy the press gangs could find for His Majesty's naval (his majesty being George III, still reeling in his madness and the loss of "his" colonies across the pond). is "inducted" into the Royal Navy the popular and easy (not to mind illegal) way of shanghaing whatever man and boy the press gangs could find for His Majesty's naval (his majesty being George III, mad and mad about the loss of those colonies across the Atlantic).

Thus, hog-tied and dumped unceremoniously aboard the grand ship the Duke William, young and innocent Tom Kydd begins his "education" at sea, whether he likes it or not. As the story progresses, of course, Kydd certainly does get an education, meeting up with the gamut of sea dogs and sea life, mean and cruel, yet with some moments of humanity.

Stockwin's book moves easier than the O'Brien series and certainly more modern in its concept of characters and settings than the Hornblower series. Fans of these books may (or may not) adapt to Kydd's adventures, sometimes being more simplistic and sometimes becoming anchored by shiplife, lore, and jargon that perhaps some non-seamen/women can digest. Still, that aside, Kydd becomes a kid you like and the readers' sympathies go with him. His relationships with the various crew members (not that kind, of course) are a mainstay in the plot development, as readers find they really do care about what happens. Stockwin's story borders on the Billy Budd with shades of Pirates of the Caribbean (although this is a wild stretch!). Certainly Kydd and Budd have a lot in common, although Stockwin's protagonist does not carry with him the lessons of Melville or the tragic character of Budd (after all, Stockwin has a series to complete).

Still, don't hesitate to wade in the deep waters of Stockwin's book. The pace is fast enough to keep modern readers on board; the seascape and atmosphere roll around easily on the ocean breezes; and the storyline floats along well, only going off course in minor areas, probably just to make sure we keep our sea (reading) legs. A good read.

Ok story and a quick read.  Mar 19, 2007
The premise is good but the story becomes a bit unbelievable. The character does things that should have had him charged with desertion and he gets away with it. I'll reserve judgement on the series until I've read the second book.

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