The Iberian Flame, A Thomas Kydd Novel

The twentieth episode of the Kydd and Renzi sagas is another page-turning rollicking tale worth waiting for. When you are having fun, time flies by but it really doesn’t seem so long since the very first in the series ‘Kydd’ – Most Recommended.

NAME: The Iberian Flame, A Thomas Kydd Novel
FILE: R2690
AUTHOR: Julian Stockwin
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
BINDING: hard back
PAGES:  415
PRICE: £20.00
GENRE: Fiction
SUBJECT: Napoleonic Wars, Royal Navy, blockade, invasion of Spain 
and Portugal, junta, Monarchy, British Army, support of liberation 
forces, amphibious landing

ISBN: 978-1-473-64104-4

IMAGE: B2690.jpg
DESCRIPTION: The twentieth episode of the Kydd and Renzi sagas is 
another page-turning rollicking tale worth waiting for. When you are 
having fun, time flies by but it really doesn't seem so long since 
the very first in the series 'Kydd'  – Most Recommended.

When Stockwin first took up the pen, he thought there were probably 
ten books for the series. Now we are at number 20 and the magical 
21st number will be achieved later this year. In all those books, 
each has been as fresh as the first and taken the story on 
seamlessly with the characters deepening as each layer of the onion 
has been peeled. This in itself has been a major achievement of 
authorship. So many excellent tales run out of steam in a handful 
of stories as the authors lose focus and interest in their 
characters. With the Kydd and Renzi yarns, Stockwin has created a 
series that will probably never complete. Obviously, the hero is 
mortal and would eventually exhaust the opportunities for promotion 
in the Royal Navy, although one Admiral of the Fleet was still going 
strong at 100. The Napoleonic Wars had an end date, although there 
is scope for innovative stories of the Royal Navy after those wars. 
In the meantime, there is so much still to enjoy.

One of the challenges for a reviewer of novels is how much to tell 
the reader without robbing the pleasure of uncovering the story as 
it unfolds. As with all previous Kydd and Renzi tales, there are 
highs and lows, twists and turns, joy and sorrow. For established 
fans of the series, there is not much a reviewer can say because 
they already know the new story will be a worthy addition, taking 
the experiences of the heroes on. The enthusiasm of the fan base is 
very strong. Where ever a new reader starts with the saga, the next 
stage after reading the book is to go and buy all the previous 
editions. That speaks volumes for the quality of the stories.

Stockwin started as a boy seaman before joining the Royal Australian 
Navy and achieving a commission. That, together with life 
experiences outside naval service has given him a vital set of 
knowledge of the sea and ships. His habit of visiting the scene of 
each new story in his extensive research adds a depth and 
authenticity to his work and has produced a number of stand-alone 
books; a very useful book of assorted maritime facts, a novel about 
how silk production left China and another about the development of 
gunpowder and canon. The result is that the Kydd and Renzi stories 
not only entertain but educate, uncovering technology of the age and 
the detail of life aboard ship and ashore. All of this flows 
smoothly and includes the nature of society of the time.

In this new story, the heroes are facing the challenges of war in 
Iberia as Napoleon marches his armies in and the Spanish and 
Portuguese rise up against him. This produces challenge and 
opportunity for Britain. The difficulty Britain has faced since the 
French Revolutionary Wars is that the Royal Navy may be supreme at 
sea and able to apply an iron blockade of Napoleon's Europe, but 
Britain has no army to equal the numbers Napoleon can muster and is 
therefore unable to land and occupy French soil. Without that ability 
there is stalemate and the best to be hoped for is a truce that will 
inevitably be followed by subsequent war.

Napoleon made two serious mistakes. One was to march into Russia where 
the vast area and the bitter winters were as valuable to Russia as the 
Chanel was to Britain. The second was to march into Spain to face an 
uprising that allowed Britain to insert a small but skilled and 
determined army into Iberia. Wellington was able to develop that army 
into an effective defence of Lisbon and then grow his strength and 
march into Spain, using great skill to keep the much larger French 
Armies from uniting, and eventually cross into France, forcing the 
surrender and exile of Napoleon. However, before that became possible 
the first landings of an army under General Moore had to be carried 
out and, after the first blows to the French, that small army conduct 
a fighting retreat to reach a safe piece of coast and port, being 
taken off by the Royal Navy intact, with as much equipment as could 
be embarked.

Moore died of earlier wounds in the moment of completion of the 
evacuation. The Royal Navy achieved success in an evacuation equal 
to the importance of Operatio Dynamo, the evacuation of the 
BEF from the beaches of Dunkirk. The army had been preserved to 
fight again and feed reinforcement to Wellington at Torres Vedras. 
Those who deride the evacuation from Corruna and the WWII evacuation 
from Dunkirk completely miss the point. British armies had fought 
with skill and courage against vastly greater enemy armies, 
inflicting damage on them, held those armies long enough to enable 
the Royal Navy to complete an evacuation in something approaching a 
miracle, and for the evacuated army to form the basis of a rapid 
expansion, a return to the field and total defeat of the enemy. The 
evacuations were therefore a great victory and were necessary 
primarily because politicians had once again sadly neglected the 
British military but still expected them to go into harms way and do 
the impossible.

This story takes the flame of insurrection and Renzi, now Lord 
Farndon, plays his part as a covert diplomat and Kydd faces down 
threats to himself and saves the day. It is a stirring tale that 
grips the reader from the opening pages, holding the attention to 
the end.

Enjoy this great new story and then join us in waiting impatiently 
for the next episode – fortunately it wont be long to wait.