A Sea of Gold, A Thomas Kydd Novel

The eagerly awaited 21st episode in the Kydd and Renzi Saga is another compelling story in the tradition of ripping yarns. This is another extensively researched story that provides fresh insights into the naval, political and social world of the early 19th Century. – Most Highly Recommended


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NAME: A Sea of Gold, A Thomas Kydd Novel
FILE: R2732
AUTHOR: Julian Stockwin
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 382
PRICE: £20.00
GENRE: Fiction
SUBJECT: Napoleonic Wars, 1809, Royal Navy, Tyger, Renzi, Lord Farndon, 
intrigue, naval warfare, frigate, loot, gold, bullion, naval action, finance, banks, 
fund transfer, stock market, marine insurance

ISBN: 978-1-473-64107-5

IMAGE: B2732.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y9jltfka
LINKS:  http://http:julianstockwin.com
DESCRIPTION:  The eagerly awaited 21st episode in the Kydd and Renzi Saga 
is another compelling story in the tradition of ripping yarns.  This is another 
extensively researched story that provides fresh insights into the naval, political 
and social world of the early 19th Century. - Most Highly Recommended

For those fans of the Kydd and Renzi tales, all that is needed in review is to report that this is yet another 
tale from a best selling, master story teller that builds on the well-established reputation of his work. For
those who are considering this as a first book in the series, the first point to make is that this is a gripping 
stand-alone book but it grows more if the reader then invests in all the earlier stories which each add a 
further layer to the rich seam of entertainment and knowledge. Beyond that, much depends on what else 
the reader has read and what are his or her interests.

There are only a handful of leaders in the field of 18th/19th Century naval fiction and Stockwin is one of 
this band of brothers. However, he has carved a niche of his own within that genre and this new story is 
firmly in that beautifully crafted niche.

His fellow leaders in the telling of these tales have all been careful researchers who have provided books 
that hold the readers' attention to the final page and leave them wanting to know more of the characters and 
events so eloquently portrayed. In doing this, they have followed a number of very similar paths, telling the 
story of a young sailor who starts as a Midshipman and works his way to the highest ranks through his 
courage, daring and skill as a master naval seaman. 

Stockwin introduced a new and very successful alternative approach. His principal characters from the 
first story “Kydd” are Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi and they are a seemingly unlikely pair of friends. 
Kydd is a young wig maker who is taken by the  press gang and forced into naval service. Renzi is a 
mysterious character who has volunteered as a sailor but is either hiding or doing penance for some past 
sin. As the stories have unfolded these two characters have gained increasing depth as each layer is 
revealed. Both climb from seaman to officer before Renzi takes a different path that intersects with 
Kydd's elevation to Post Captain and Knighthood. A host of other characters have joined the stories as 
villains or comrades and a number are still with us in this twenty first episode of the saga.

Each year, Stockwin has gone off to research a new story and has now increased his output to two books 
a year. When he charted his course, he saw ten episodes but his characters took on a life of their own and 
now, at story twenty one, there seems no end to the series. Each has arrived as fresh and exciting as those
before, the author retaining an obvious enthusiasm for the series and having negotiated that bottleneck for 
so many writers of naval fiction that is the Battle of Trafalgar. For historians, British naval history largely 
went on hold until the First World War, near a century on from Nelson's great battle. In reality the Royal 
Navy was engaged around the world until the final act of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 when it conveyed 
a totally defeated Napoleon to his exile of a small island in the Atlantic. Stockwin is mining this rich vein 
of untold stories and of the dash for Empire.

In this tale, the backdrop is the largely untold but vital story of how the Government of tiny group of 
islands managed to raise the funds and strike the alliances that were to humble yet another tyrant who 
thought he could subjugate all of Europe into the slave components of a new nation of Europe. 

This is a story that is filled with a roller coaster white knuckle ride from highs to lows and back again. 
Good triumphs, through the group of friends and comrades who fight through the lows to achieved 
deserved reward and it also sets the stage for the next story that will be awaited eagerly by the 
international band of fans who have grown year on year from the first Kydd and Renzi tale.

Stockwin went to sea school at an early age, entered the Royal Navy as a boy seaman and transferred 
to the Royal Australian Navy where he rated as a Petty Officer and served on a carrier during the 
Vietnam War. He lived for a time in Hong Kong and was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve, 
retiring as a Lieutenant Commander. That experience adds a further dimension to his story telling and 
helps to make each book authentic in a way that few can. Eventually, every series of stories must come 
to an end but it difficult to see when this may be because Kydd still has so many adventures yet to meet.

In reviewing a novel, one challenge is to tell readers enough to enthuse them, without betraying too 
much of what is a thrilling tale with many possible endings and even more gripping events between the 
pages. In this tale Kydd makes a new friend and this friend in real life had a most extraordinary naval 
career, filled with danger and controversy. He also inspired the other major writers of 18th/19th Century 
naval fiction.

Thomas Cockrane was one of those Lowland and Border Scots who were critical to the success of the 
Royal Navy. The extended families traced back to the Norse adventurers and, although Scotland may 
never have built a durable standing navy, the sailors made history. Many generations followed on from 
their Norse roots as seaborne traders who also knew how to fight and were content to follow through to 
the sword when trading negotiation was denied. Sir Walter Scott wrote some exciting novels that were 
all inspired by family sagas he collected from these families. 

Cockrane was so successful, and irritated the French so much, that he came to the personal attention  of 
Napoleon who dubbed him the “Wolf of the Seas”. As a frigate captain he was supreme, but he was also 
a very complex character with some very serious flaws. This eventually led to him fleeing creditors from 
his other careers as an MP and a speculator in the City of London. He then went on to command the 
navies of Chile, Peru and Brazil in whose history he holds  place of honour, with the Chilean Navy 
always having an important warship of their Armada named for him. Interestingly, he can be claimed as 
the father of the Fleet Air Arm in that he wrote the first papers advocating the use of aviation, in the form 
of hot air balloons, and chemical weapons. It was fitting a warship, building in Britain for Chile at the start 
of WWI, to be named for him, was taken over by the Royal Navy to become the pioneering fleet carrier 
HMS Eagle that was eventually lost during WWII, still having notices and dials lettered in Spanish. 
Cockrane was to be reconciled with the RN and ended his days as a crusty British Admiral.

Stockwin has cleverly woven this strong character in the story seemlessly and readers will find much to 
entertain and also much to learn of an incredible period in British history. It is perhaps especially fitting 
that this story appears as Britain stands poised on a new and equally exciting period of opportunities,
rediscovering her place in an uncertain world where her highways are again the seas and the Royal Navy 
is the guardian of that commerce and the freedom of her people