It is two years since Thomas Paine Kydd was spirited away in the night to serve his country aboard the old line-of-battle ship Duke William. Now, together with his high-born friend Nicholas Renzi and other members of the ill-fated Artemis, Tom is a shipwrecked sailor back in the land of his birth. They find themselves waiting to be summoned as ...Read MoreIt is two years since Thomas Paine Kydd was spirited away in the night to serve his country aboard the old line-of-battle ship Duke William. Now, together with his high-born friend Nicholas Renzi and other members of the ill-fated Artemis, Tom is a shipwrecked sailor back in the land of his birth. They find themselves waiting to be summoned as court martial witnesses, and in a political act to shield an officer's reputation, they are shipped out in haste to the Caribbean - where sugar is king and yellow jack a fearsome peril. A spell ashore at the dockyard in Antigua shows Kydd another side of the Royal Navy, the complexities of maintaining Britain's fighting ships around the world. There he also has to deal with a number of personal challenges and in so doing earns the ire of the feared master shipwright. Summarily dismissed from the dockyard, Kydd faces an unknown future. Renzi contrives to reunite the old crew of Artemis in Seaflower, a graceful and trim little topsail cutter, that Kydd fell in love with the first time he saw her. At first the plucky craft brings them luck and fortune but she is eventually overwhelmed by the raw forces of the sea - and Kydd finds his seamanship, tenacity and courage put to the ultimate test.Read Less
Having read the first two in this series I was anxious to get to the third. It appears that his writing gets better with every book and he is developing Thomas Kydd into a very believable character. His friend Renzi is also becoming more interesting with each book.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-06-02 The latest installment of this rousing naval adventure series set during the Napoleonic wars finds stalwart British seaman Thomas Kydd and his comrade, slumming aristocrat-philosophe Nicholas Renzi, ping-ponging around the Caribbean as Britain and France fight over the West Indies. The manic plot encompasses four battles, three courts of naval inquiry, two hurricanes, two shark attacks, a shipwreck, yellow fever, the rescue of French Royalists and a few floggings and dinner parties. As Kydd surmounts all leadership challenges, his courage and resourcefulness are praised by a series of ever more august naval father figures, and he experiences a dizzying social ascent from ordinary sailor to master's mate, picking up along the way the navigational skills and drawing-room manners of an officer and a gentleman. The oedipal fantasy at the heart of the book dovetails with simplistic anti-Jacobin politics, in which the British Navy is a bastion of meritocracy and upward mobility, achieving through incrementalism and rational hierarchy what the French fail to achieve through social revolution. Kydd's two-dimensional character is all virtue and heroism-even a stint as a slave overseer leaves him morally uncompromised-and the book never surpasses the level of vigorous melodrama. Still, Stockwin's richly detailed, if idealized, portrait of life on ship and shore in Britain's oceanic empire is engrossing. He writes evocatively of shipboard routine, the panic and confusion of combat and the terrifying approach of a storm at sea, and he knows how to stage enthralling action scenes. His ability to tap into male wish-fulfillment will ensure a growing readership. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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