KyddFest-12:- Victory

JS at bow of VICTORYOver the previous months I’ve been celebrating the earlier titles in the Kydd Series, it’s Victory 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 with your thoughts on Victory for a chance to win a signed copy of the book plus a handy deck-by-deck guide to the ship.

Victory starts off with a major setback for Kydd and keeps up a fast pace throughout which makes it another page turner for Julian Stockwin. It was never going to be easy weaving the events surrounding the well known and often used events of Trafalgar into something that was fresh and gripping but this is exactly what has been produced…

The personal lives of Kydd, his friend Nicholas Renzi and sister Cecilia are weaved skilfully into the events off Toulon and the fateful chase across the Atlantic when Kydd’s ship joins the fleet.

For Trafalgar itself Julian’s research and familiarity with the ship come through clearly, as a former shipmate, in the form of Midshipman Bowden, finds himself serving aboard Victory and is therefore well placed to observe and narrate the major aspects of the battle. The characterisations in this series have always been good but in this one they really mature and is probably the best one yet.

Definitely recommended.’ – Historic Naval Fiction

The enemy at Trafalgar

The Spanish contributed four First Rates to the Franco-Spanish Fleet at Trafalgar. Three of these ships, one at 136 guns and two at 112 guns were near twice as large as some in Nelson’s command, yet during the battle the Spanish commander Don Federico Carlos Gravina y Napoli, in his flagship Principe de Asturias, finding himself attacked by three British ships at once fled back to Cadiz.

As it was, Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve was in command of the combined French and Spanish forces, 33 ships-of-the-line – 41 ships in total – in his flagship Bucentaure. During the battle Victory raked her stern and she lost 197 killed and 85 wounded. Villeneuve was taken prisoner but later paroled and returned to France. He died in 1806; a dubious verdict of suicide was recorded.

Trafalgar in art

Trafalgar by Turner

There have been many paintings of HMS Victory, particularly at the Battle of Trafalgar. The one by Turner is probably the most famous artistic rendition of the battle even if not accurate in all the particulars. This was Turner’s only royal commission, ordered by George IV in 1822 to make a same-size pair with Phillipe-Jacques de Loutherbourg’s ‘Battle of the Glorious First of June, 1794’, already in the Royal Collection. The finished composition includes reference to a number of incidents that took place at different times in the battle and is in essence a high-Romantic commemoration of Nelson’s victory and death. More about this painting

HMS Victory today and tomorrow
victory victory

The Grand Old Lady is undergoing extensive and ongoing conservation and restoration work. However she is still open for visitors. If you do pay her a visit you may find one of your guides is Paul Waite, who took the photograph of my book aboard the ship. Do say hello!

Previous blogs on Victory :
Kydd at Trafalgar
Victory 250 this Month
HMS Victory
Victory has been published in the UK/US in English, in translated editions and in ebook, large print and audiobook.
Buy on Amazon or The Book Depository (free postage worldwide!) Also available at most bookstores.
Detailed list

Copyright notices
Victory aboard Victory by Paul Waite
Painting: J. M. W. Turner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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

17 Comments on “KyddFest-12:- Victory”

  1. Pingback: KyddFest-12:- Victory — Julian Stockwin | Hendrihary's Blog

  2. I have been reading Aubrey-Maturin, Hornbleer and Sharpe series and I am looking for something in that area and this seems to be a good choice 🙂

    • I was introduced to CS Forester (Hornblower) as a child by my father a naval officer and graduated to Patrick O’Brian (Aubrey-Maturin) Douglas Reeman/Alexander Kent (Bolitho) and Dudley Pope (Ramage) as a teenager and young adult. There have been a number of writers who have been imitators of these, however until Julian Stockwin came along with Kydd there was no-one who managed to combine the historical accuracy and literary skills of O’Brian and the sense of saga that Kent and Pope did so well and at the same time bring a fresh perspective to the genre of naval historical fiction.

      That Kydd was a pressed man rather than a son of an Earl (Ramage) or the latest in a long line of naval officers (Bolitho) was an exciting new perspective. The character of Renzi added much depth to the evolution of Kydd’s own character and brought fresh perspective on how Forester and O’Brian drew the flawed characters of both Hornblower and Aubrey.

      There are marvellous cameos both personal and historical in all of Cmdr Stockwin’s novels and you will find deep pleasure in his series if you have enjoyed his predecessors work. He is more than a match for them all!

  3. I have just read your blog on the real Victory. What awe-inspiring statistics, that 6000 trees were felled to build the ship! From the picture, I can see what drew you to revisit so many times. Portsmouth is on my bucket list if I ever get to visit England again. Love your series!

  4. Victory is without doubt your nautical masterpiece and I have re-read it twice more each time taking more pleasure from it. I agree with Val above that positioning Bowden aboard Victory is a masterstroke and his account of Nelson’s victory and death is marvellous.

    Do you have a favourite of the books you have written?

    • If pushed, I’d probably choose KYDD but that’s like asking a parent which of his children he loves best! Delighted you enjoyed VICTORY

  5. Hi Julian – I have just finished reading Victory. WOW!! An outstanding read. I loved the book. I thought Midshipman Bowden’s account of the battle and of Nelson’s death was gripping and moving. Putting Bowden on board Victory was your master stroke. I have enjoyed every one of the books so far – Tenacious and Victory have been my favourites. Since early childhood I have had a fascination for the age of sail – to me, a ship in full sail is poetry in motion, and when I did my European adventure in 2014, a visit to Victory was on my list of ‘must sees’. I first spied her from the Brittany ferry approaching Portsmouth. Omg I was soooo excited, and going on board was an amazing experience. She is truly a sight to see. My imagination ran wild – what must it have been like with 850 souls on board, sailing in howling gales, preparing for battle and the aftermath of battle. Anyway Julian, thank you for your books and the enjoyment they give to your readers. Your imagination is even better than mine and that’s why you are a writer and I’m a reader!!! Chuckle…

    Sent from my iPad

  6. I am well versed in the history of this epic battle; however, while reading the book I actually felt like I was there! (PS What happened to Spritsail the cat?)

  7. Sir as far as Victory. I enjoyed this fine yarn. I was move to tears I shouted for joy I felt strongly. I have read several times and know I will again and again.

  8. Dear Julian

    I am a new reader of the Kydd series introduced by my brother in law who just loves sea stories. Amazingly, to both of us, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the first four books and looking forward to the next Quarterdeck. Your books have increased my vocabulary enormously but I have to spend a lot of time using the dictionary to help me understand some of the naval language. It occurred to me that it may be helpful to have a list of the naval expressions and their meanings at the start of a book and even a diagram of the ship with the various parts illustrated and think your books would have a wider appeal.

    Yours sincerely  Ros Walker 

    Sent from Samsung tablet

    • Ross – delighted to welcome a new reader! We did give some thought as to whether to include glossaries, maps, ship diagrams etc. but there are space and cost considerations for all these. Having said that, starting from VICTORY, maps have been included by my publisher, and in subsequent books as well, a short glossary and dramatis personae. Although I do use some sea technical terms in my Kydd tales I go to some pains to make sure that the story line is clear without necessarily having a full knowledge of the meaning of these terms. There are a number of quite good online nautical dictionaries such as which you might find useful. Best wishes, Julian Stockwin

  9. Just read your Blog re:Victory.I have now read the book twice. I can remember looking forward to its original publication with great anticipation.I thought then and still consider that it is my favourite of the Kydd series.The reason is that like a lot of my fellow countrymen I had been brought up on stories about Nelson and his various battles.Victory did not disappoint.I found it to be a real page turner and very difficult to put down .Looking forward to the next Kydd adventure!                                                                                             Bob Dickerson

  10. Pingback: KyddFest-12:- Victory | Nighthawk News

  11. Pingback: KyddFest-12:- Victory | Aerospace & Defence News

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