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Kydd (Thomas Kydd) [Paperback]

Julian Stockwin
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

11 Oct 2004 Thomas Kydd

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 Royal 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 launches a masterly new writing talent and a thrilling new series. Based on dramatic real events, it is classic storytelling at its very best, rich with action with exceptional characters and a page-turning narrative.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (11 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340837810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340837818
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Julian Stockwin was sent at the age of fourteen to Indefatigable, a tough sea-training school. He joined the Royal Navy at fifteen before transferring to the Royal Australian Navy, where he served for eight years in the Far East, Antarctic waters and the South Seas. In Vietnam he saw active service in a carrier task force.

After leaving the Navy (rated Petty Officer), Julian practised as an educational psychologist. He lived for some time in Hong Kong, where he was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve. He was awarded the MBE and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He now lives in Devon with his wife Kathy. More information can be found on his website at

Product Description

Amazon Review

From C.S. Forester onwards, the tale of high adventure on the sea has produced some splendidly vivid writing; in fact, as genres go, there have probably been more consistently impressive creations in this field than in all historical fiction. With such a legacy looming behind him, a new author has to be able to present something special in order to make any kind of mark. With Kydd, Julian Stockwin quickly signals that he is an innovative and accomplished fresh talent in the field, with a complex and richly drawn hero (always so necessary in the naval tale) at the centre of an intelligently structured narrative.

Thomas Paine Kydd is press-ganged in Guildford, and is wrenched from his safe profession of wig making to join the crew of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. We have been treated to the horrors of the below-deck life of the common seaman before, but Stockwin renders these scenes as exuberantly as any of his predecessors. He is also particularly good at delineating the changing character of his hero, as Kydd comes to admire the skills of the seamen and (of course) becomes a true sailor himself. Although, at times, the book has the feel of the setting up of a new series, it's none the worse for that. Stockwin can command your attention with ease when his writing has such unyielding power as:

The boatswain's mate advanced, taking the cat-o-nine-tails from the bag. He took a position a full eight feet away to one side, and drew the long deadly lashes through his fingers, experimentally sweeping back to ensure that there was enough clear space to swing it. Kydd stared across the few yards of empty deck at the man's pale, helpless body. At the instant it flew downward the drumbeats stopped, so the sickening smack of the blow came loud and clear. Donelly did not cry out, but his gasp was high and choked. The nine tails not only left long bruised weals, but at every point where they landed, blood began to seep.
--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


As an O'Brien groupie myself, I began to read suspiciously... I was soon turning over the pages almost indecently fast... Roll on, the promised adventures of Kydd and Renzi on "the legendary crack frigate Artemis". (Christina Hardyment, Independent)

Stockwin weaves a fast- paced tale that brings a whiff of the sea and gunpowder. Recommended. (Citylights)

gripping...Rich in action and full of interesting characters, this thrilling novel leaves you in awe of the 18th- century seaman. (Peterborough Evening Telegraph)

impressively full of life. I was soon turning over the pages indecently fast. (Independent Friday Review)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compare With Caution 27 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was my second attempt at reading this book. On the first occasion, I made the mistake of comparing it with the likes of Kent, Forrester and O'Brian and was uneasy with the eponymous hero being at the bottom of the story's food-chain. As a former Junior Rating in the Royal Navy who has often complained at the rather patronising view of the Lower Deck on offer from the longer-established writers I eventually admitted that thisuneasiness was actually preposterous. So, clearing my mind of prejudice I gave it another go - and how glad I am that I did.
Finally, a view of the bottom end of Georgian Naval life from a man whose on Naval career was largely lower deck. No two-dimensional knuckle-me-forehead-guvnor Jolly Jacks, but believable characters with backgrounds and lives.
The author has made a first class job of exploding myths and even
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Like a previous reviewer, I found this a hard book to get into at first. In fact, I pretty much gave up after the turgid anchor raising mentioned below. But having heard Julian talk about his book at the Historical Novel Society's conference in London I thought that he was a very engaging character and he deserved another attempt at his book.
It's a difficult book to review, simply because it is such a mixed bag of inspiring moments, wonderful scene setting and impressive dialogue, on the one hand, and underdeveloped characters, irrelevant episodes and recycled events from other books. For example, both Forester and Cornwell have used the small scale invasion of the French coast before. Why couldn't Stockwin have come up with something more original?
The main difficulty with the novel is its perspective. While I was greatly looking forward to a worm's eye view of Nelson's navy, it is a viewpoint that is fraught with problems for the author. Big things rarely happen to small people. What makes Sharpe and Hornblower work for their readers is the sense in which they are bound up with significant events and have sufficient rank to act with a degree of autonomy within the rigid confines of military structures. If our hero happens to be a squaddie, or equivalent, then he can only respond to most events. I had the same difficulty with a character joining the Roman legions, and had to get round it by offering a multiple perspective across the ranks, together with a sub-plot that gave the protagonist a measure of autonomy. While Kydd's experiences on the rigging of his ship of the line are engaging, the narrative, such as it is, just floats listlessly around. What on earth was the point of the sequence dealing with the insurance scandal ship? Other than filling up a few pages.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stockwin's Kydd Series 13 July 2006
I have just finished both Kydd and Artemis. I found out about the books from my son, who was going to buy me one of the later ones as he knows I love naval history fiction. I asked him to get me the first, though, so I could "start at the beginning".

Well, what a start - I have found both books entralling. Their technical detail is excellent along with very plausible story lines. As another reviewer alluded - the technical jargon can be quite daunting but then , how would it have been to a young pressed landman ..... ????? It helps to let the reader understand what Kydd must have felt like, and we can "learn" with him.

Artemis continues to build on a very strong start and develops more of the (expected future) relationship between Kydd and the enigmatic Renzi - a fascinating "coupling".

The next three books are now at home ready to be taken up. Having a break, though, with the other end of the naval spectrum, a techno-thriller by Patrick Robinson.

I look forward to returning to the 18th century thereafter.

Thanks Julian - stay bent to the task and keep 'em coming !!!

PS Thanks also to Con Campbell at who managed to get me a copy of Artemis for my holiday when I could not find one in the shops - great website as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Kidd 26 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is the 1st in a series and is excellent reading.I am now hooked on Thomas Kidd the hero and it gives an insite of the fighting ships of the 19th century.
Julian Stockwin is the C S Forrester of the 21st century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A retrospective view 8 Sep 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I note the age of some of the reviews on here - including one by a certain Mr Scarrow in 2001. I wonder whatever happened to him?
So if you get round to reading this review what can I add to what has gone before? Not much I have to say but I think some of the early reviews are a bit too critical of the derivativeness (is that a word?) of the book and the thinness of the characterisation. You only need to look at the star ratings of subsequent volumes to note that the series develops nicely and that the author soon fionds his stride but you have to start somewhere and you might as well start here at volume 1. Bit obvious that really but there is enough here around the admittedly interminable nautical jargon - which you can skip quite frankly - to draw you in and want to know what happens next. So as a stand alone book this has its faults but as a starting point to a series which gets better and better then it does the job
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kydd 29 Oct 2006
By Robin B
Having devoured all of this genre by Dudley Pope, Patrick O'Brien and Alexander Kent over the years, I bought this first book of the series recently to 'test the water'. It proved to be a rivetting and throughly enjoyable read, and I have since bought and read 3 more in the last few weeks - Artemis, Seaflower and Mutiny. Extremely well written and up there with the best of the seafaring sagas of the 1790s/early 1800s. Very strongly recommended. The only problem with finding such good books is that my insatiable appetite for this series prevents me from doing boring work on the train! May it be a very long series!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Review
This book is the first of whole series and serves to introduce Tom Kidd,the main character, and Renzie, his friend. Read more
Published 22 days ago by J. G. Craig
5.0 out of 5 stars kydd by thomas kydd
I have bought several books from amazon for my husband and myself , so these comments are for all the books. Arrived in perfect condition and on time. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jean woollett
2.0 out of 5 stars Well written but not my cup of tea
There was far too much seamanship and terms for my liking. This is not to say it was in anyway a bad book, just not for me, sorry!
Published 7 months ago by Big T
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
It is probably OK if you are interested in the detailed work of running a sailing ship (very boring), but if you are looking for a plot and some action ,then skip the first 50%... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Cyclist
5.0 out of 5 stars great
A great naval yarn, it takes a while to get used to the language used but once you get over that and get into the story it's a good read.
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Julian Stockwin
I have the complete collection of julian stockwin kydd books, most in Hard cover just trying to get the last couple in hard cover, They are Great books with lots of action,
Published 10 months ago by Phil
3.0 out of 5 stars Kydd
Very good, will try the next book in the series and hopefully that will be as good as the first
Published 11 months ago by Steve Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Kydd ( Kydd )
I Enjoy This Era Of Story and Especially The Sea Going Saga's.
Excellent reading. Good Introduction of The Main Players.
Good Description of The Vessel. Read more
Published 15 months ago by A. Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Kydd first novel
A very good first novel, definitely makes the series 'a must be read' to follow his exploits.
I would recommend it to anyone that like seafaring novels.
Published 21 months ago by vickiew1
4.0 out of 5 stars Kydd - the start of a seafaring saga
I read this book some time ago , lent it to a "friend" and never saw it again. Now it's replaced. I'll be reading it again!!! and again!!!
Published 22 months ago by tomc
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