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This is book three in the Thomas Kydd series of historical nautical fiction. Stockwin’s richly detailed portrait of life on ship and shore during the Napoleonic Wars is engrossing. He writes of shipboard routine, the panic and confusion of combat and the terrifying approach of a hurricane at sea. Stockwin writes from the view point of a common sailor in the 18th century British Navy. It is all here the cramped conditions, the disgusting food, the underserved punishment and cruelty of some officers and the unremitting toil.
From the beginning of the book we are plunged into a fast paced series of actions. The manic plot encompasses four battles, three courts of naval inquiry, two hurricanes, two shark attacks, a shipwreck, yellow fever, and rescue of French Royalist and a few floggings and dinner parties.
Kydd goes from an ordinary sailor to a Master’s mate, picking up along the way the navigational skills and drawing room manners of an officer and a gentleman. The setting of the story is in the Caribbean as Britain and France fight over the West Indies in about 1795. Christian Rodska does his usual great job in narrating the story.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about this story?
I like the way Stockwin has his hero advancing, from the lowest of the low, to even more adventures. Although trials still abounded here, and wonderful cruise with old shipmates, was like a vacation cruise in the series.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is one of my favourites in the Kydd series. Kydd and Renzi advance continue to navigate through the trials of both naval and social life this time in the Carribean. The relationship between the two develops further as Kydd tries to emulate the smooth manners of the gentleman that is Renzy. Both men have outstanding skills and talents but are as different as chalk and cheese.
Stockwin understands his subject. The descriptions of life on board ship, the claustrophobic existence between decks, the risk and danger simply of sailing one of those majestic vessels plus obviously the nerve shredding terror of combat aboard are all captured and described expertly.
On top of that the difficulties of progressing through the ranks and the other skills that are required provide an interesting counterpoint to the significant amounts of action.
Rodska delivers it all with consummate skill and has a voice perfectly suited for naval characters of the period. Somehow he also manages to carry off the social aspects of the book too though I can guess which part he feels most comfortable doing!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The combination of this great story combined with the beautiful pace and characterisation by Christian Rodska make this a very entertaining and absorbing experience.
The first chapters were a bit "ho-hum". But the middle manages to teach us how a 1797 shipyard operates in an interesting way. And the last chapters are a rollicking mix of storms, battles, and a gripping account of being lost at sea.