In the great Age of Fighting Sail, life ranging the seas for prey and prize money in the crack frigate HMS Artemis is fast and exciting. Now a true Jack Tar, Kydd sails into Portsmouth Harbour to a hero's welcome after a ferocious battle against the French. However, his jubilation is cut short when a family matter threatens to take him from the life he has grown to love, and he must return to Guildford. But the sea beckons irresistibly, and Kydd manages to ship out again on his beloved Artemis—a voyage that will take him to the fabled East and present him with fierce challenges, both personal and physical. Finally homeward bound, he faces death itself in the cruel waters of the great Southern Ocean.
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, the Antarctic, and the South Seas. Retired as a lieutenant commander, he lives in Devon, England, with his wife and literary partner, Kathy.
From a journey to the far side of the world, to navigating the Roaring 40s, the Furious 50s, and the Screaming 60s, Stockwin once again delivers a masterful and galvanizing adventure that provides us with numerous you-are-there experiences alongside Kydd. Some scenes are nightmarish. Others allow us to feel as bereft as he does. We readily identify with how changes impact existing ways of life and some professions become antiquated. The final episode in this circumnavigation of the world is riveting and disquieting, compelling us to read the next installment of Kydd’s exploits in the Royal Navy.
Period dialect and seagoing argot aplenty add credibility to the adventure, and the unworldly Kydd is an apt lens for the reader's journey.
A rip-roaring yarn that confirms . . . [Stockwin’s] ability to turn his vivid knowledge of eighteenth-century seafaring into first-rate global adventure.
A rousingly exciting and delicious full-immersion in the perils of seafaring and society during the great Age of Sail!
Comparable to C.C. Humphreys’s Jack Absolute series and the naval tales of the great Patrick O’Brian.
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.
Likable Tom and his shipmates make a snug fit in that page-turning Forester and O'Brian tradition—thanks to retired Royal Navy author Stockwin.