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