Over the coming months I’ll be celebrating the earlier titles in the Kydd Series, it’s Tenacious for this blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book, either as a first-time reader or if you’re a re-reader and have read it more than once! It’s very gratifying for an author to be told that his work has inspired people to go back and read it again. And some of you have told me you have done this more than twice! Either reply to this blog or email me. Every respondent goes into the hat for a chance to win a special mystery thank-you prize.
‘Fans of Napoleonic naval action will certainly enjoy sailing with Lieutenant Thomas Kydd, RN in Stockwin’s sixth book in his Kydd Sea Adventure series. Set in the Mediterranean during the French expeditions against Egypt and Syria, Kydd’s service in H.M.S.Tenacious takes him to Toulon, Minorca, the Battle of the Nile, and the siege of Acre. Along the way, he encounters the always intriguing Lady Hamilton, the equally fascinating Admiral Nelson, and the largely forgotten but indefatigable defender of Acre, Sir Sidney Smith.
The historical events occupy center stage, but Stockwin fleshes out the story by continually reminding us that Kydd is designed to portray a living being and not simply a stereotypical hero. The treatment of one of Kydd’s fellow officers, a nobleman named Renzi, who rejects his life of privilege in favor of a man-of-war in wartime, is an unexpected highlight. I may be overstating the case when I say that secondary characters in novels such as this are rarely given the breadth and depth routinely accorded the hero or heroine. Renzi’s noble background is only hinted at in opening chapters, but the tension between this officer determined to make his way in the Royal Navy and his equally stubborn father, who wants him to resume his duties as the eldest son, provide the reader with a well-drawn glimpse into English upper-class life of the time.’ – Historical Novel Society
Nelson’s Band of Brothers
The original Band of Brothers were all captains at the battle of the Nile, and they were the elite of the Navy.
They had known Nelson for a number of years and there was a unique trust and understanding between them. This was not repeated in the same degree in any other fleet Nelson commanded.
But not all of the Nile captains were equally close to Nelson. We now know that there was an inner circle who he consulted regularly and they then conveyed the results of the consultations to the remainder by various means. But this inner circle was not static. Of the original Nile captains, only Hardy served in all Nelson’s later battles. Ball, for example, became governor of Malta and Miller was killed in an accidental explosion at the siege of Acre.
There’s a poignant story about Captain George Blagdon Westcott, the only one of the celebrated Band of Brothers to die at the Nile. He was born in Devon of humble origins, and left a widow and daughter. Nelson made a point of visiting them and presented Mrs Westcott with his own Nile medal saying, ‘You will not value it less because Nelson has worn it.’ He later wrote to Lady Hamilton about their low circumstances: ‘The brother is a tailor, but had they been chimney-sweepers it was my duty to show them proper respect.’
The dramatic painting on the book’s cover which features the French flagship L’Orient exploding at the Battle of the Nile and the small boat with Kydd aboard picking up survivors was painted by Geoff Hunt RSMA.
When he created this artwork Geoff had not painted L’Orient before, although he had depicted the Battle of the Nile. He told me he was not aware of any existing plan for this huge ship (though he thought there might be one in a French archive) but French designs tend to be standardised so he felt justified in using the plan of Commerce de Marseilles which the British captured at the fall of Toulon in 1793.
Six Readers on TENACIOUS
‘It is difficult for me to choose a favourite from the Kydd series, but Tenacious does stand out. Nelson’s victory at the Nile is so clearly written that I found myself understanding points of strategy that I had not grasped while reading history books. The Nile is just the beginning though; we get to see some real maturity in our characters in this book. Also present is the layer of the Kydd series that draws me to this day – the sentimental side. Stockwin portrays the rough and often violent world of Kydd’s naval life so vividly that when we see the emotional effects of lost friends we empathise. All too easy it is for the modern military author to marginalize casualties and allow them to become simply numbers. Stockwin, through this whole series, manages to balance the scales. Shortly after turning the last page, (and what a page it was) I had to go pull my copy of Kydd off the shelf and turn back to page one.’ – Jeff Kloss
‘Be prepared for a more confident Kydd, able to command respect from officers and men alike. Informing at so many levels, the narrative of Tenacious moves effortlessly between ships-of-the-line commanded by Admiral Nelson, eighteenth-century European politics, fine social gatherings and bloody carnage. A magnificent read.’ – Patricia Fray
‘Like a kid with a new toy I opened the pages of Tenacious. Immediately I am back on board, alongside Kydd and his fellow officers. Well-known characters of history are brought to life and in the ensuing battles the story unfolds – and you +become+ part of the adventure, such is the power of Julian’s writing. This is the series I would like to see on the silver screen!’ – David Pinsent
‘It’s a dangerous world in 1798 – but Kydd rises to the demands of the age. Tenacious is a superb read and one you will likely repeat again and again.’ – John Brown
‘The cover of Tenacious is beautifully illustrated, and the content is brilliantly evocative and accessible, even to followers who have little technical knowledge of naval matters. Julian Stockwin conveys to his readers a deep and certain knowledge of the sea – and at the same time delivers an excellent read.’ – Barbara Spencer
Previous blog on Tenacious : The Hunt for Napoleon’s Fleet
Tenacious has been published in the UK/US in English, in translated editions and in ebook, large print and audiobook.
The cover of Tenacious is also available as a superb Limited Edition print http://www.artmarine.co.uk/kydd.aspx
Buy on Amazon or The Book Depository (free postage worldwide!) Also available at most bookstores.
Band of Brothers image: By Sir Robert Smirke, William Bromley, John Landseer, R. Bowyer (Collections of the National Maritime Museum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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I have to say Tenacious stands out as a favourite of mine. I listened to the audiobook while hiking near the Yorkshire moors last summer, the memory of listening Kydd’s siege of Acre while walking through the forest is one I shan’t forget easily.
Thank you Julian Stockwin
The joy of audiobooks!
I am now in your ‘re-re-reader’ category for your earlier works, Julian.
Be interested to hear whether you have a favourite on re-reading the books, Jim. Best wishes, J
My favourite is your first. – ‘Kydd’. I re-read them in order, of course. For some reason, I have always passionately loved stories about people who make something from nothing – Who start from the bottom and make it to the top. Be it a story such as yours or Jeffery Archer’s ‘Kane And Able’ series or another naval author – Dewey Lambdin (Although, I wish he’d stop calling it a ‘bosn’s pipe, dammit!). I am also reading your books differently, now that I am working on my first creative fiction/non-fiction book.
Anyway Julian, thanks for your good works and good words. Best to your wife.
PS. Off back to Africa next month. Safari in Namibia, then over to South Africa, so Heather can meet the people I worked with at the Southern African Wildlife College, last summer.
James (jim) Parker Victoria, BC 011-250-360-7901 http://www.commondawg.com
Good to hear from you, Jim – and best wishes for the book!
Sorry to put this here, but I’ve two “questions”
1. I need to change my subscriptions as my email account is being closed down. I need it changing to
is this something you can help me with?
2. I want to make sure I’m down on the list for the next in the Kydd series. The collectors, signed one. But with the new email address. Everything else remains the same.
Sorry if this is in the wrong place.
NOTE: From 7th June 2016 O2 are closing down their email accounts.
You will need to contact me on the following email address from now on : email@example.com
1. As the process is automatic (it needs to know which computer to send it to and can only be signed up from your own personal machine) I regret I cannot sign up people to my blog from this end. If you go to the website it’s pretty straight forward. You just click on the “Follow My Blog” on the right hand side of the page and take it from there.
2. Have added your name to the list and will be in touch later in the year with details.
Hi Julian, I’ve come to the Kydd books relatively recently via the usual route, (Hornblower to Jack Aubrey!) and would like to congratulate you on a great series immaculately researched. I sing with a shanty group in Cornwall called the ‘Press Gang’ and I found your description of Thomas Kydd’s pressing in ‘Kydd’ to be thoroughly credible and gripping. The development of the characters and technical description of a life under sail all combine to make your work a compulsive read. Many thanks and best wishes,Bill Collins
Sent from my Samsung device
Thanks, Bill – from time to time I incorporate a verse or two from sea songs into my stories. You’ll no doubt recognise them!
Thanks for the adventures, have retread 3 times and will do so again before the next book. Steve
Sent from my iPad
Delighted to be reminded of Tenacious one of my favourites in the Kydd series.
Could I ask a question that occurs to me every time I read it in the novels?
The name of Renzi, Lord Farndon’s ancestral home has always been a puzzle to me. Eskdale Hall is situated in Wiltshire where I now live and yet every time I read the name I am reminded of the Dales in other parts of the country and of the Rivers Esk in Cumbria and Yorkshire. How did you come to choose this name for Nicholas’s family home?
Delighted to hear you enjoyed TENACIOUS. The name Eskdale Hall was chosen by one of Renzi’s more eccentric ancestors who just liked the sound of the name; there was no particular significance to his choice.
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Dear Julian I have not re-reached Tenacious yet but I recently completed my re-read of ‘Pasha’ and I am presently half way through ‘Caribee’, again. This response is intended to be a general response that applies to all of your books which, I hasten to add, I have enjoyed immensely. The problem as I see it is the arrangement of the text where you launch off into an exiting text and then some sort of semi conclusion is reached. Three asterix then appear under that text and you launch off in another direction leaving the reader at a bit of a loss wondering where the U turn in the tunnel happened. I would prefer it if you made more use of chapters, even if they are short ones so that it is plainly clear that that bit is now finished as far as it can go and that we are now off over there for something else. In time you get used to these hiccoughs but there are times where the fall off from one text past the asterix means that the following text sometimes seems to be a continuation of the pre-asterix text so that you have to ‘read on’ to see how it all hangs together and sometimes it is not all entirely conclusive. Then, it comes back to nautical technicalities. I guess most readers are not clued up on the finer points of 19th century sailing a man of war. Reading all of your books means that eventually you get to pick up some of the jargon but more often than not, the knowledge has evaporated. Then, when you launch off into a technical rant you start to ignore these bits and just put them down to authors grandstanding. I once came to the opinion that you should either explain what you are gabbling on about or leave it out of the text. E.g. if I launch off by explaining that you had ‘clearly been in to middling meanfurning between the oxypose of sub-text’ you would probably scratch your head and, like me, ignore it. Good call! Its meaningless but enough of it could be annoying? Most readers I think, me included, would appreciate an explanation of what you mean as this is all part of the ‘Stockwin experience’. We’re talking nautical terms that you have made part of the story that therefore need an explanation. You take time and space to explain other vagaries of 19th century history that make your story meaningful. Is nauticalese any less important? Then there is the matter of maps that supplement most books. In order to readily understand ‘the plot’ you have to refer to the maps. Often there is no easy definition between the land and the sea. Even a slight grey or whatever would be useful as you read and flit between text and map to understand where it is all going. Then there is the classic after you have come to terms with the cartography only to find that the text refers to a place that does not feature on the maps and having spent minutes searching for it, and losing the text of the plot it can be a bit annoying. Does that mean to say that if you mention a place within the plot then that place should be on the maps – or what? This is intended as helpful criticism and I hope that you will accept it in that context. Kind Regards David Adams
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2016 10:45:29 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your comments.
Earlier books! Julian, I have said this before but I am not sure that you received the message. I have purchased all of your books, and as you will know that includes all of the hardback special editions. My question is – do you plan to offer the earlier paper back books in hardback format? Regards Brian Allinson
Sent from my iPhone
Generally hardbacks are not re-released once the paperback of a title is out but this is up to the publishers. You can sometimes pick up my earlier hardbacks via internet sites like Abe Books and I have a few First Editions for sale on my website https://julianstockwin.com/shop/#FIRST_EDITIONS
dear julian, im loving tyger. im even liking the court martial. my problem is that im without a series to read when this is over. of course, ill get the next one when published. sooooooo my long winded question is who should i try next? ive done pope, forester, obrian, lamdin etc. could you possibly help in suggestions? thanks so much, and will continue to read tyger and wait for the newest books. fair winds and following seas fred from nashville
On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 5:45 AM, Julian Stockwin wrote:
> BigJules posted: “Over the coming months I’ll be celebrating the earlier > titles in the Kydd Series, it’s Tenacious for this blog. I’d love to hear > your thoughts on the book, either as a first-time reader or if you’re a > re-reader and have read it more than once! It’s very g” >
Delighted you’re enjoying TYGER, Fred. You might find some other reading suggestions in the excellent free quarterly newsletter ‘Quarterdeck’ which covers both maritime and general historical fiction http://www.mcbooks.com/newsletter.php