The release of the softback edition of “Treachery” has been eagerly awaited by the growing readership of Stockwin’s excellent Kydd and Renzi series of tales of adventure on the high seas and ashore during the Napoleonic War.
NAME: Treachery, Commander Kydd, softback
CLASSIFICATION: Book Reviews
AUTHOR: Julian Stockwin
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Staughton
BINDING: Soft back
SUBJECT: Napoleonic War, naval warfare, so-
cial history, privateers, wooden walls,
Channel Isles, Saumarez
The release of the softback edition of “Treachery” has been eagerly awaited by the growing readership of Stockwin’s excellent Kydd and Renzi series of tales of adventure on the high seas and ashore during the Napoleonic War. The release also indicates that we are only six months away from the release of the next story in its hardback edition if Hodder and Stoughton follow the release timings for the series. The new edition of “Treachery” marks a change on practice by carrying different cover artwork from that used on the hardback dust jacket. Since the first story in the series, dust jackets and softback covers have included a background of a ship at sea and most have also included a photographic head and shoulders in sea dress to portray the hero of the tales, aging as the series has progressed. In this new edition, the cover artwork depicts an officer thrusting with a cutlass ahead of two fallen marines. An interesting change in presentation as the new artwork would have added to production costs and has replaced a very good piece of artwork used for the hardback edition’s dust jacket. For those already familiar with the fictional characters of Kydd and Renzi, this new instalment in their unfolding story requires no review beyond the comment that this is another absorbing tale that is equal to the earlier books and advances the story with a convincingly descriptive account of the two heroes as they accept new challenges. It does not seem like ten years since Stockwin first presented the characters to the world. The genre has long been popular and many authors follow a well-established formula set against the times of Nelson’s Navy. Stockwin took an original approach by taking as his principle characters a wig maker impressed into Royal Navy service and a wealthy educated and titled young man who chose to accept self punishment as a common sailor. The two characters rapidly became best friends and Stockwin has followed their intertwined but different careers. Both were commissioned on merit. Renzi then left the position of officer which is itself a very original twist. Kydd became a commander responsible for a warship and crew. Each new episode has advanced the characters and uncovered a new layer to their characters. New characters have joined the saga and in turn developed in depth. Each year, Stockwin visits a new set of locations to research for the next volume. This introduces further originality and uncovers areas of history that have been neglected by other authors. This episode is set in the Channel Islands and tells of privateers and jealousy. Regular readers will be familiar with the roller coaster ride of suspense, of disappointment and of triumph, the tale ending at a point that sets the scene for the next adventure. New readers will find an excellent page-turner that absorbs to the last page. Like those who joined earlier in the tale of Kydd and Renzi, they will feel the need to go out and buy the earlier books to follow the story from the start. The level of research behind each story is extensive and these books are classics that add greatly to the genre.