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 BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/yboc6zl7 LINKS: 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.