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on 7 June 2011
Conquest Julian Stockwin

This is the twelve book in the Thomas Kydd series and I found this one to be the most interesting historically due to the story matter being set at the dawn of the British Empire. Kydd and Renzi depart immediately after escorting Nelsons body back to London and embark on a daring and audacious expedition to capture Cape Town, South Africa, on behalf of the British Government.

Stockwin brilliantly links in fact with fiction and I found the whole read engrossing and entertaining at the same time. The description of the landing and subsequent land campaign was well written and the smells and sights portrayed transport you back to the events as it happened. Research is king and Stockwin leads the field in his portrayal of life in the Cape in 1806/7 the real characters of the time and his ability to avoid clutter and cut to the chase.

Renzi is appointed to a position as so befits his upbringing and administration skills and excels in his duties. He plans for the future but as is so often the case things never quite go to plan. His trip into the bush is exhilarating and his exploits unravel the plot to destroy the fledging colony.

Both Kydd and Renzi mature in this book, both of them showing promise and immense skill in their chosen profession. I look forward to the next book in the life not just of the two friends but the young empire to which they serve.
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on 7 June 2011
CONQUEST launches a bright new chapter in Captain Thomas Kydd's naval career, as England turns to expansion of her empire in distant and exotic corners of the world after victory at Trafalgar in 1805. This is vintage Julian Stockwin as Kydd--in command of the 32-gun frigate L'Aurore--sails into turbulent seas along the coast of Africa in support of a British expedition whose mission is to capture Cape Town, a step toward establishing a safe seaway to trade-rich India. Set against the impeccably researched history of the period, Kydd's saga continues to unfurl with Stockwin's crisp prose and attention to authenticity, which readers have come to expect. There are adventures aplenty, spliced to the young naval commander's inner growth and evolving relationship with Nicholas Renzi, which keep pages turning.
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on 6 August 2011
I came late to the books of Julian Stockwin and this novel is the first one I have read, out of sequence I know but my excuse is that being disabled and not always able to get out myself, Maureen was the one who saw this book on the quick choice shelf at Pimlico library and knowing how much I am partial to yarns of this sort she had no qualms in getting it for me, in any case I read this novel and was instantly captivated by this escapade of Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi.
After the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar removed the image of invasion and England is now free to seek conquests and colonies in the furthest reaches of the world.
Captain Kydd joins an expedition to take Dutch-held Cape Town, a strategic imperative to secure the rich trade-route to India. But even if the British can defeat the enemy and take possession of the capital, there is still more fighting to be done.
Kydd and his men must defend the fragile colony from attacks by the enemy from all sides, while braving the wild beasts and hostile environment of Africa's vast and savage hinterland.
Conquest launched me in what I trust will be a series of brand new adventures, a twelve book exploration in the Thomas Kydd series.
I found this book to be attention-grabbing historically owing to the story being set at the emergence of the British Empire which is one of the main periods of history I am interested in and studied.
Stockwin vividly links fact with fiction and I found the entire story enthralling and compelling at the same time.
The account of the landing and ensuing ground campaign was agreeably written and the mind images depicted ship you back to the actions as they happened.
To do research is vital when writing stories of this kind and Julian Stockwin surely shows the way in his interpretation of life in the Cape in the early 1800's along with the actual characters of the time and his skill to steer clear of disorder really cut to the chase.

I look forward to reading the whole series hopefully in series order to find out just how the two friends met and how Kydd rose from before the mast to the quarterdeck.
For me Conquest ticks all the usual boxes for a rollicking good read with its indefatigable plot and rate of knots, but always told with enthusiasm and historical intensity, here I find a writer who not only knows his subject but cares for it deeply, I loved each and every page and you must not miss this brilliantly written book but unlike me get your books in series order. I strongly recommend Conquest to all readers attracted to naval fiction and indeed historical fiction in general.
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on 4 June 2011
Once again. Julian Stockwin has taken historical events and placed his hero at the center of the action. The career (so far) of Thomas Kydd from wigmaker taken by press gang to Post Captain RN is full of adventure and exitement. The latest chapter, Conquest takes Tom to South Africa, following Trafalgar, and begins "the race to Empire". It is a naval tail of the first order. If you have not read any Kydd books yet you have a treat in store
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 June 2011
Every year i eagerly await the next installment of Kydd and his sidekick Renzi, this year was no exception.

Conquest ticks all the usual boxes for our duo, unrelenting plot and pace, but always told with passion and historical depth, here is a writer who not only knows his subject but loves it.
After the victory at Trafalgar such a double edged moment for Kydd and England, a great victory but with the great loss of Nelson, what would lie in store?... plenty, this is the dawn of Empire, when Britain truly starts to flex its might and our duo set off in command of the 32-gun frigate L'Aurore to support the capture of Cape Town, we get to see more of the fantastic Renzi in this book, an the blending of fact and fiction, the mix of characters and well researched locations, you feel transported in time and space...the book is a mini tardis.
i loved every page... dont miss this and like me get your order in for book 13
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on 5 June 2011
I eagerly awaited the latest in this absorbing series and have just finished it.
I really prefer the stories where Kydd rose to his present eminence from pressed man but, hey, nothing stands still and following a hero is fun!
I think Julian Stockwin handles maritime elements better than the military ones , which, considering the author's Naval background is not too surprising.
The book as ever in this series, is hugely well researched with insightful historical detail and plenty of heroic action by the hero.
Bernard Cornwell scores better for Military action - Julian Stockwin is supreme for maritime action.
I will eagerly await next year's book - the only problem is, at my age, will I live long enough to see the series finished?
I do hope so, as Kydd's journey is one of the very best of its type, putting Julian Stockwin right up there with the "greats" of maritime fiction.
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on 18 August 2011
Having read all of the Kydd books in the series, I bought this one expecting a real treat. Usually I can't put the books down as they are so exciting, but I found this one slightly disapointing. The story is not nearly as thrilling or gripping as previous ones in the series and much of the action is based on-shore as opposed to the sea. Not bad, but a bit of a let down.
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on 7 November 2011
Conquest Mr Stockwin has done it again. I was a soldier so did not get to spend much time at sea. Once, while waiting to join my Regiment in Berlin, and at which time I ended up getting there 24 hours after my suitcase and kitbag (and that was me joining Man's service from Boy's service so my first time at the Regiment.... but that's another story) I had a trip on a destroyer from Edinburgh to Portsmouth. The ship had an association with my Regiment, as inter service organisations seem to have, a bit like towns in different countries twinning is about the nearest simile I can draw for you. I have also been on lots of ferries from Dover to Calais and from Portsmouth/Plymouth to Bilbao. And, finally a little bit of tacking about in small sailing dinghy's.

So, what has Mr Stockwin done again, I hear you ask? Well, even if you have never been near the sea reading a Kydd novel by him has a uniqueness about it that is so descriptive, that you can almost taste the salt in your mouth and the spray on your face as you plunge through the waves aboard the L'Aurore captained and crewed by the utterly convincing characters at the helm and in the rigging of this ship. Whether it be in the English Channel or rounding the Cape into the Indian Ocean you can feel the surge of the vessel as she is in full sail into the next adventure or chapter, it really is that good, and that is what you want from a book. A book is something more than a collection of the words contained within the covers, a book is a device unlike any other whether it be TV or Movie or Video or Comic.

A book is a means by which an author presents to you the reader, his or her words in a way that allows you to visualise in your minds eye every detail of every character of every scene presented in full mind blowing technicolour imagery that only the imagination can present....always much more satisfying than on screen, to my mind at least.

Julian Stockwin does this so skilfully in the Kydd series and this is clearly down to the research he puts into each book in developing these quasi historical dramas. Fiction is cleverly interwoven with past reality and we find that Kydd and the crew of L'Aurore, still recovering from their own trials at the Battle of Trafalgar are tasked with the honour of bearing the body of Admiral Lord Nelson back to London for his state funeral, Having been involved in the greatest naval battle of all time you would think that Stockwin would cut them a break with some shore leave, but no, he is a hard taskmaster and no sooner is the body delivered to Greenwich and they are back on the outgoing tide back down the Thames and into the open sea, as fast as they can be re-supplied.

The Action moves onto Maderia where Kydd is attached a a squadron bound for Africa with Army units with orders to relieve the Dutch of their possession of the Cape and surrounding environs and bring it into the Empire. Kydd is attached to Commanding General's staff on land for the first battles and is horrified by the carnage that he sees and that we feel as we also read the description of what takes place, and we like him are praying for relief by being allowed back to OUR ship.

Having won a decisive but unexpected victory, while the main opposing forces carry out a tactical withdrawal , well that's what British Army commanders call them, but if you were a grunt like me the shorter version was usually just a retreat, in land, the commander left in charge of the Cape capitulates and hands the town and fort over to the British. Kydd is reunited with his ship but arranges for dear Renzi to then become attached to the Commanding General who has become the 'New' Governor and in need of a 'Colonial Secretary'. If you haven't read any of the Kydd novels (why not?) you will understand the sublime happiness that this unexpected turn of events gives to the reader to see poor Nicholas so elevated, but you will need to read the previous books to get that feeling you get where Nicholas Renzi is concerned (sometimes you just want to give him a kick in the pants to get him motivated, but you do feel for him).

So, the race is on by the British to secure their new holdings and once again Kydd is in the mix, fighting the sea and the French to preserve this new part of Empire and all I can say is if you haven't read any of Julian Stockwin's novels you really are missing out. They are both entertaining and educating. Did you know that Royal Navy ships of old, for example, required both a Captain and a Sailing Master. The ship could not sail without the latter who was responsible for navigation, not a function that the Captain was expected to carry out, well, neither did I until I started reading Mr Stockwin, so there you go, have a thoroughly enjoyable read and education for the price of one, what more can be had from a good historical drama............
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on 5 June 2011
I was wondering how Julian would follow up Trafalgar. Apart from the fact that it was a great story, how to does one move on from such a high point?

Conquest answers this by allowing no time for Kydd's adventures to rest. And wow are there some great adventures in Conquest. The storyline is one of the strongest to date and particularly plays well with Renzi taking up key parts. I was frequently reminded of the best of Cornwell's Sharpe - it constantly evolves, bringing in new dimensions and surprises.

This was a thoroughly satisfying book to read - I've just closed the back cover and loved every page!
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on 26 June 2011
I decided that this would be the first book that I would buy on release as the Kindle edition and was childishly excited the morning it appeared on the contents list, having gone to bed before it was actually delivered the night before.
I was torn between reading the story non-stop and savouring it over a period of a couple of weeks, but given that it will be some time before the adventures continue I thought I'd take it easy. I realised that I didn't actually know much about how links between Britain and South Africa came about so I think I'll be looking up some more history books for background information.
The only downside to the Kindle edition was that the glossary at the end was not formatted properly so was very difficult to interpret, at least that's the case with mine.
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