KyddFest-8: Command

Over the coming months I’ll be celebrating the earlier titles in the Kydd Series, it’s Command 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 an 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 genuine eighteenth century maritime artefact.


COMMAND aboard HMS Victory: taken in Capt Hardy’s cabin

    ‘At the outset of Command, seventh in the Kydd Series, the hero seems poised to watch his promising career spiral down the drain. But just when the ire of Thomas Paine Kydd’s old adversary seems to have wrecked his chances, a great stroke of fortune restores them, and Kydd finds himself the delighted commander of a sloop of war named Teazer. He is quickly confronted with all the challenges of command, from scraping together a crew at Malta and trying to rectify the ship’s light armament, to instantaneous decisions in the face of the enemy. Sometimes he blunders, other times he is undone by sheer bad luck, but he learns quickly, and with the occasional stroke of good fortune, finds that his leadership and judgement are up to the challenge. Just when he wins the sort of distinction that should lead to further advances in his career, he is undone by the direst turn of events that can befall a professional fighting man: the outbreak of peace. Soon Kydd is sculling hopelessly in a backwater, desperate for some way to return to the sea. When his chance comes, it involves a dispiriting compromise. But he is on his way once more, to the far side of the world, where he will play a role in exploring a new continent. In the meantime his friend Renzi, recovered from a near-fatal fever, is caught up in another clash between his idealistic dreams and the harsh realities of an unfamiliar land.

    Once again author Stockwin provides well researched views of odd corners of the world at the dawn of the nineteenth century, as he spins out action sequences informed by a keen understanding of the details that made the crucial difference between life and death in combat during the Age of Sail. Command is an apt title, the right word both for Kydd’s latest step forward and for his creator’s mastery of historical detail and the storyteller’s art.’ –

Van Diemen’s Land

CPO Hart admires a model of Teazer. He actually served in her namesake

In Command, Kydd sails south from New South Wales to Van Diemen’s Land to look into reports that the French are interested in establishing a colony there. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to land on these shores in 1642. He named the island Anthoonij van Diemenslandt, in honour of Anthony van Diemen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, who had sent Tasman on his voyage of discovery. Van Diemen’s Land was not known to be an island until Matthew Flinders and George Bass circumnavigated it in Norfolk in 1798-99. The name of the island and colony was officially changed to Tasmania on 1 January 1856.

Flinders and Trim

One lucky winner will receive this prize!

Trim was a ship’s cat, much beloved of the navigator and cartographer Matthew Flinders. Born in 1799, aboard a ship ’roundabout’ on a voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay, the kitten fell overboard, but managed to swim back to the vessel and climb aboard by scaling a rope. Taking note of his strong survival instinct and intelligence, Flinders and the crew made him their favourite.

Trim sailed with Flinders in HMS Investigator on his 1801-03 voyages of circumnavigation around the Australian mainland, and survived the destruction of Porpoise on Wreck Reef in 1803. When I wrote Command I took special delight in having my fictional hero Thomas Kydd meet Flinders – and Trim – in the penal colony of New South Wales.

A real piece of history!

A special prize this time, a boxed set of musket balls retrieved from HMS Invincible, a 74 gun ship-of-the-line wrecked in the English Channel in 1758 off Selsey Bill, en route to Canada to rout the French in Quebec.

Either reply to this blog or email me. Every respondent goes into the hat for a chance to win this genuine eighteenth century maritime artefact.

Previous blog on Command : The Watershed Book
Command has been published in the UK/US in English, various foreign languages and in ebook, large print and audiobook. The cover of Command is also available as a superb Limited Edition print
Buy on Amazon or The Book Depository (free postage worldwide!) Also available at most bookstores.
Detailed list

Copyright notices
Command aboard VICTORY by Paul Waite
Every effort is made to honour copyright but if we have inadvertently published an image with missing or incorrect attribution, on being informed of this, we undertake to delete the image or add a correct credit notice

23 Comments on “KyddFest-8: Command”

  1. Very Interesting; I’m going to have to pick up your series from the beginning. Please include me in the drawing

  2. I liked the story about the ships cat. Interesingly Flinders HMS investigator was previously a merchant ship also “pressed” into naval service.She was built in my home city, Sunderland, in 1795…

  3. Julian,
    I’ve just finished Tyger and was left in tears with the final paragraphs, imagining the pride of captain and company both. This is my second time through the series and I guess I can only start again whilst I wait for the next volume. Well done, but please get a bend on.

  4. Just finished VICTORY and am afraid I must slow down lest I find myself at the end of the series. I dread that day. I am 88 years old and spend as much time as I can reading and re-reading the Kydd series.

    • Perhaps my oldest re-reader, Bernard! All best wishes and hope you continue to enjoy my Kydd tales. INFERNO will be out in October.

  5. Mr. Stockwin, For some reason this was my favorite of the Kydd series. I very much enjoyed reading of his first voyages and encounters as Captain of Teazer, so much so that I named my first kayak Teazer as well. Goofy, I know, but it was my first command too.

  6. I too served in HMS Teazer as a Leading Writer and paid her off in 1961.
    I joined the RAN forty years ago today!
    John Wenban

  7. Dear Julian,

    Greetings from Down Under!

    I think that your Kydd series books are terrific reads.

    I admire your research and attention to detail.

    I haven’t been disappointed by any of your novels.

    Please enter me in the competition to win the musket balls.


    Brian Richardson

    170 Mt Baw Baw Road

    Goulburn NSW 2580



  8. I have re-read Command several times and particularly appreciated the way Julian created such a ship that one shared in the pride in “their” ship and how he was collecting those special relationships that mark out your books.

    As a Maltese(r) – someone born in Malta Teazer will always have a special place in your series. I have also found myself torn between L’Aurore and Tyger, one light and fast the other solid strong and able to turn on a sixpence.

    What a marvellous skill you have and I can’t wait until the Autumn for the next “fix”

    David Hocken

  9. Pingback: KyddFest-8: Command | Nighthawk News

  10. I am in the process of re-reading the Kydd series. I am reading Seaflower now. Reading them in order, back to back, gives them an added continuity. They are just as good the second time around. In a way they are better. The first time around, I read quickly to see what would happen next. Now I am reading them at slower pace, the better to absorb the nautical terms, history, etc. Looking forward to the next one. Pat Gower

  11. “Arrrr..Ram me home, and enter me in the in the musket ball prize drawing.”

    Hope all is well for you two. We are making way here in Jack Daniel Country.

    Best Always,

    mighty Joe Joe Young WYTM-FM/WEKR Fayetteville, TN

  12. Whew!! They are musket Balls!! You were talking about ship’s cats and I feared you had found cat coprolites on a ship.

    Dent Cermak

  13. Julian
    Many thanks for you interesting blog. I must confess, I suffer from withdrawal between each book but I read the series from book one every summer to be ready for the next instalment.
    Best wishes Julian
    Dave Lambert

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