The seventeenth episode of the Kydd and Renzi Saga is about to reach the bookshops and forward orders are running well. You know an author has arrived when his or her name appears on the jacket ahead of the title and in equal size font. This is another cracking yarn that will keep readers turning the pages to the end. It is as fresh as the first episode, “Kydd”. An exciting tale from the premier author of naval fiction. If you haven’t read an earlier book don’t delay, you won’t regret it. If you have read earlier episodes you don’t need me to tell you how good the story is. Most Highly Recommended.
AUTHOR: Julian Stockwin
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
BINDING: hard back
SUBJECT: Kydd, Renzi, Farndon, Denmark, Crown Prince, Louis XVIII, Baltic, Napoleon, Bernadotte, Canning, Castlereagh, Christian VII, divers, Spanish treasure, Western Isles, Tyger
DESCRIPTION: The seventeenth episode of the Kydd and Renzi Saga is about to reach the bookshops and forward orders are running well. You know an author has arrived when his or her name appears on the jacket ahead of the title and in equal size font. This is another cracking yarn that will keep readers turning the pages to the end. It is as fresh as the first episode, “Kydd”. An exciting tale from the premier author of naval fiction. If you haven’t read an earlier book don’t delay, you won’t regret it. If you have read earlier episodes you don’t need me to tell you how good the story is. Most Highly Recommended.
It really doesn’t seem like seventeen years since the first episode arrived in the bookshops. To write this number of books in a series, and have each book hurtle into the very best seller lists, is a huge achievement. It is hardly surprising that each story now appears in translated versions for readers around the world. They have sold well in countries that are surprising, having no active national involvement in maritime affairs and having no obvious interest in British history, maritime or otherwise. The secret is a combination of very thorough research, an enthralling writing style and original story lines.
Having broken through the ‘glass ceiling’ of 1805 and the Battle of Trafalgar, Stockwin is breaking into new ground and obviously enjoying every minute of it. This raises a very serious consideration. The authors of historic novels often provide a very important educational service as a by-product of crafting an exciting story that is set in a different world from that the reader lives in. This has never been more true than in the case of Stockwin, both with his much lauded Kydd and Renzi yarns, and with the stand-alone books he has written. The stories dating after Trafalgar have all covered very important events in British history and the war against the first attempt to force a European Union down the throats of Europeans.
This story covers what is probably the most critical period in the Napoleonic Wars, when Great Britain stood alone, save for its Swedish and Portuguese allies. Napoleon had effectively conquered Europe and forced his Code Napoleon on a reluctant group of what had been sovereign nation states. He had then done what his successors the European Commission are threatening, a trade war with Great Britain, excluding it from trade in Europe. History so often repeats itself and, in the case of Great Britain, the eventual victor is Great Britain and those nations that have rallied as allies against the unaccountable and dictatorial threat to Europe and the world. Its stirring stuff and Stockwin has captured the essence.
In our normal practice, we don’t intend to spoil the story for readers, its just too good for that. However, this reviewer will attempt the cover the broad outline for those who have yet to enjoy the delights of a Stockwin story.
As a Stockwin trade mark, this tale includes a number of technology surprises and the story begins with one of these, before moving on into the main story line. Great Britain stands alone as it did in 1940 and again in 2016. The situation looks grave and there is much hard work to do, but the prospects beyond victory are of enormous opportunity. So much to play for and so much to win. As in earlier and later events of similar nature, Great Britain not only comes through the trials and begins a new chapter, but it also frees others from repression and wins their support as allies. Denmark is a neutral country but Napoleon is eyeing greedily their fleet and position to close the Baltic to all British shipping. The British Government is in a similar position to that in 1940 when the French fleet based in North Africa was greedily eyed by the Germans. It was a threat that could not be avoided and Churchill had to do the unthinkable and, after trying diplomacy, had to take the tough decision to attack the French warships to deny them to the Germans. It is amazing that the story of the British actions to remove the threat posed by the Danish Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars has been almost completely ignored in British history. Stockwin’s heroes are both engaged in this critical fight, Renzi on the diplomatic front and Kydd in the hot action that followed.
The story runs through a series of highs and lows, setbacks and triumphs, to end at a satisfactory conclusion. The reader is carried through this switchback in a gripping tale. This is one of those few books that the reader really will have great difficulty in putting down before reaching the last page. Then there’s the wait for the next episode but Stockwin this year has committed to doubling his annual output and adding more stand-alone stories to his list of achievements, so the wait will be much shorter.