1793 and Europe is ablaze with war. Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized by the press gang to be a part of the crew of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast. Despite all that he goes through in danger of tempest and battle he comes to admire the skills and courage of the seamen - taking up the challenge himself to become a true sailor. Kydd is the first book in the acclaimed series, and is based on real events.
©2001 Julian Stockwin (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
A man with a child in his ears.
This is where it all start for Thomas Payne Kydd, a wigmaker from Guildford who is press-ganged into service with Her Majesty's Navy. What ensues from here is a long-running series of genuine quality by an author who not only writes a thrilling yarn with engaging characters but who also knows his subject in great depth.
This novel introduces Kydd in the hardest of circumstances as a pressed man and follows him as he struggles to come to terms with a life at sea and the brutal rules that apply to it. It also introduces the highly enigmatic Nicholas Renzi.
As a first book in the series it is not without its issues. The naval terminology is borne from deep knowledge but can confuse the layman (like me) at times. The book is fairly derivative of other naval historical fiction and the characters clearly need more investment before we see them become fully rounded. Though in fairness, the character of a pressed man would be either one of a defeated man from the start or would take time to develop.
This may sound slightly critical but peruse the reviews of the rest of the series and it's easy to see the quality that Stockwin brings to bear. The book itself is still highly enjoyable. What is undoubted though is that Christian Rodska hits the right tone right from the very beginning and does a superb job of the narration.
This has become one of my favourite series in the genre. If the above seems critical and you like this kind of fiction I would say don't be put off. This is just the beginning and when all is said it's a more than decent start!
Yes I would..
Exciting start got me hooked, it is much like Hornblower, also Rodska is perfect for the reading. Although when he is narrating he sometimes uses the character voice, mildly amusing but does not spoil the feel of the storyline.......
Undecided, one of my favourite characters was killed of too early...
He brings life and images too all the characters, he is why I went from Hornblower to Kydd, I am Ex-Army so a nautical novel was far from my liking, but now I am hooked....
Knowing some of the characters are in future books it is hard to feel too much when a character is going through a possible hazardous situation.
Looking forward to my next book.
I have read and re-read the Hornblower books so Stockwin had a lot to live up to. In this regard he was moderately successful. The writing is good, as are the characters and the narrator is fantastic. "Kydd" does however feel a little disjointed, like a number of short stories which were smashed together. The stories themselves arent bad but just the way in which they are linked leaves much to be desired. Some of the chapters are exciting and inspired me to listen on whereas others felt long and drawn out. This contrast between action and inaction exists in all literature but I feel like Stockwin, in this first book, fails to keep the readers attention during the necessary but less exciting parts of the book. I will listen to the next in the series and hope that chapters blend more seamlessly, that the excitement continues and that the slower parts are more skillfully dealt with.
Not a bad effort but perhaps not for people new to the naval adventure genre.
I love dogs
I didn't understand all of the naval terms but it awakened an interest in naval history and of the period. A really good listen. Narrator very good on the ears. Will look out for the other books by this author as other reviews I have read regarding this book say that they are all better than the first.
Starting as a landsman is a good way of teaching naval terms to a reader beginner.
Very well read apart from the irritating repeated use of the word 'lantons',must have said it 40 times in this book.
Story verged on the childish at times.
Entertaining, but the plot line was nowhere near as good as .....for example....the Aubrey / Maturin series.
I am a fan of all Nineteen Century sailing stories....Aubry+Maturn, Ramage, Bilitho, Dewey Lambert, Hornblower, etc......this well written book (performed by Rodska an excellent narrator).....is right up there with the best of the group....a little bit of a unexpected yarn....that of a landsman beginning a naval career.....but with enough twists and turns to make it interesting....I will go on to the next in the series
"Good Sea Yarn"
Interesting plot. You see life from a sailor's, not officer's, point of view.
Dewy Lambdin's series - although Lambdin is better.
"An Excellent Tale"
This story is a nice variant of the English naval fiction of the Napoleonic age. Most of those stories are told from the perspective of an officer, usually the captain. Telling the story from the perspective of a pressed landsman is an interesting variation.
"Almost another Hornblower"
I had almost lost interest in the Old Naval stories. This one woke up my interest again.
Yes, I am anxious to start book two.
The adventure was exciting and engrossing - reels you in and keeps it interesting. Not too much "fluff", which seems to be prevalent in several of the books I've listened to.
Excellent voices - great interpretation.
Thomas Kydd is the main character of course, and naturally the most memorable.
I enjoyed this book a great deal - but be forewarned - it contains a lot of sailing/nautical nomenclature of the period, and it does not go into what any of it is. As I was not familiar with those terms it made it a bit challenging to follow at times. Also, one other small criticism is that sometimes the scenes (or particular parts of the story) seem to get truncated leaving the listener wondering what happened. Don't let these things scare you off though, I'm a tough critic, and I enjoyed this book very much.
Easy to listen to, good story, and the nautical terms are easy to follow
The story of the hard life of an ordenary seaman, and not an officer like similar books.
I Loved the book! very informative to the life of an 18th century Seaman superb!
"Great series, minor complaints"
Love the series. Recommended highly. However, get the fist book in the series and make sure you can put up with the narrator's voice. Very heavily accented and scratchy. But by half the first book I was hooked.
"Great Summer Read"
This is a great summer read for any sofa sea dog. A really well done story if a bit short on good detail.
"BRILLIANT NAVAL FICTION"
Julian Stockwin arrived on the naval fiction quarterdeck with the launch of KYDD. Over sixteen years the Kydd sea adventures have taken their place among the best even written in the genre. Christian Rodska's narration is superb, giving a rich interpretation of Stockwin's madterly storytelling.
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