Victory

Having reviewed ten previous stories of Kydd and Renzi, this latest book is as fresh as the first to be published and takes the author one story past his original intention to write only ten tales with these two characters. This book is different from the previous ten volumes. Stockwin has included his trademark technology item although it is more of a supporting anecdote. There are twists and turns to keep the reader guessing Book Reviews Broadly Boats Aerospace & Defence Nighthawk Firetrench Directory NAME: Victory, Kydd Nelson and Trafalgar CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews FILE: R1606 Date: 160610 AUTHOR: Julian Stockwin PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton BINDING: Hard back PAGES: 342 PRICE: GB £12.99 GENRE: Fiction SUBJECT: Kydd, Renzi, Nelson, Battle of Trafalgar, 1805, Napoleonic Wars, naval warfare, sailing battleships, line of battle ship, frigate, railway, Corinthian Canal, Mediterranean ISBN: 978-0-340-96119-3 IMAGE: B1606 LINKS: http://tinyurl.com/ DESCRIPTION: Having reviewed ten previous stories of Kydd and Renzi, this latest book is as fresh as the first to be published and takes the author one story past his original intention to write only ten tales with these two characters. It is very common for successful authors to run out of ideas or interest in a series of tales which have become best sellers. It was a great relief to see that this is not the case here. The characters have matured as the tales unfolded and each story adds a new layer of complexity that maintains interest. Stockwin has handled what might have been a difficult stage very well. Any author who sets a fictional story in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars era must work with the reality of the three titanic figures of Nelson, Wellington and Pitt. For an author focusing on naval fiction, Nelson is an almost overwhelming figure and HMS Victory is the ultimate icon not only of that period but for the Royal Navy. This makes it all the more difficult for an author of fiction to work the story around Nelson and Victory. Every year there is a new non fiction title that covers Nelson and/or Victory to some degree. With a multitude of historical works already published it seems impossible that anything new can be discovered and yet, with a few exceptions, each historian discovers some new factor that everyone else had missed. Nelson and Victory are of course enduring myths that could have come for the pen of a master story teller. That a brilliant young commander could be killed at the moment of his greatest victory against great odds and in a ship named Victory is almost too much to believe as an historical fact. Undoubtedly, some historians have added to the legend with inaccuracies over the years, but all the verified facts together add into a fantastic story. Stockwin has somehow managed to rise to the challenge and create 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. This book is different from the previous ten volumes. Stockwin has included his trademark technology item although it is more of a supporting anecdote. There are twists and turns to keep the reader guessing, the relationship of Kydd, his sister and Renzi continue to bring new insights to the characters and maintain the human interest and the tableau of society of the times. There is an apparently crushing disaster but this time it is early in the story. The build up to Trafalgar dictated that the story should build on an up roll and then end in an uncertainty that matched the reality of Trafalgar. The battle was more conclusive than the 1940 Battle of Britain, because not only did Trafalgar halt the invasion of Britain by Napoleon and lead him to focus on Russia as Hitler was to do, but the victory at Trafalgar crushed the French and Spanish Fleets so that Britain was free to turn to the expansion of Empire. In effect, Trafalgar won the war even if it was to limp on to Waterloo ten years later. At the time the real characters who survived Trafalgar had enjoyed a mighty victory that was never to be repeated, but they had lost a great leader who could never truly be replaced. Standing at that point of sorry and triumph, it was the end of an era and professional sailors must have wondered what they would do next much as the mountaineer who has climbed the highest mountain. It will be very interesting to see how the next Kydd tale unfolds because the opportunities for new stories is even greater than this eleventh tale and Stockwin will have great freedom to set subsequent stories in an era of naval history that has been seriously neglected by historians because Trafalgar was such an overwhelming event. There is always the example of Admiral Cochrane a real life figure who has inspired many of the fictional characters of the Royal Navy in the days of Nelson. Cochrane went on to disgrace from his commercial activities that led to him fleeing Britain, to go on to command the navies of Chile, Peru and Brazil in the fight for independence. In addition to writing a great tale of daring do, Stockwin has also added a special section to his website that provides a great deal of information about Trafalgar, visit it at Victory Extra http://www.julianstockwin.com/VICTORY%20Extra.htm
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