It is 1793. 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 country to be part of the crew of the 98-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 the 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.
At the age of fourteen, Julian Stockwin went to TS Indefatigable, a tough sea-training school. He joined the British Royal Navy at fifteen before transferring to the Royal Australian Navy, where he served for eight years in the Far East, Antarctic, and the South Seas. Retired as a Lieutenant Commander, he lives in Devon, England, with his wife and literary partner Kathy.
Stockwin's debut focuses on the common seamen . . . Kydd's first storm at sea is rendered with great drama . . . warfare is depicted with gruesome, at times breath-stopping, detail.
A rousing debut . . . a brilliantly imagined account of a man overcoming fear.
Adventure and historical fans will delight in this well-crafted yarn.
A rousingly exciting and delicious full-immersion in the perils of seafaring and society during the great Age of Sail!
Period dialect and seagoing argot aplenty add credibility to the adventure, and the unworldly Kydd is an apt lens for the reader's journey.
Comparable to C.C. Humphreys’s Jack Absolute series and the naval tales of the great Patrick O’Brian.
A rip-roaring yarn that confirms . . . [Stockwin’s] ability to turn his vivid knowledge of eighteenth-century seafaring into first-rate global adventure.
Stockwin's writing is enriched by his own experiences in the Royal Navy, which gives scenes of fighting and tempest an authenticity to delight anyone who shares his passion for the sea.
Elegantly plotted . . . the writing has the power of a broadside at close range.
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.