Discovering Kydd: What’s Your Story?

I recently posted this on Facebook – ‘One of my readers told me: “I stumbled upon Kydd by luck and subsequently devoured the rest in the series in just under 3 weeks.” I’m curious as to how others discovered my Kydd tales…’

The response was overwhelming, with great variety in how readers came across my books, ranging from a hotel library in Atyrau, Kazakhstan, to a gift from a loving American mother to a homesick son in Japan, to a recommendation from an external auditor!

Here’s a small selection :

Anchor bulletHer Lioness mentioned to me she’d read a book with the title Kydd and enjoyed it. As she usually runs a long sea mile from naval fiction, my curiosity was piqued – and now I’m hooked!
My step son put me onto the series knowing I enjoyed naval novels and history of being in the Royal Navy. Never looked back.

Anchor bulletSomehow the Historic Vessel Vega showed up in my Facebook page. They posted a picture of you with HMS Victory in the background. I had read all of Patrick O’Brian’s books and the accompanying comments comparing your books to the Aubrey/Maturin series piqued my interest. I thoroughly enjoy both, I have to give Kydd the edge over Aubrey.

Anchor bulletFound Kydd in a bag on the street. Took it home and read a few pages and knew I must keep reading. Returned the lost book to the library and from there on I have enjoyed.

Anchor bulletI was being audited for ISO 9001 and was chatting to the external auditor and mentioned I loved the novels of Patrick O’Brian. The auditor (can’t remember his name) said he served with a chap called Julian Stockwin who was writing a series of novels that I might enjoy. The rest, as they say, is history.

Anchor bulletSeaflower. I was looking for a book in an airport departure lounge and was seduced by the superb Geoff Hunt cover illustration.

Anchor bulletI was in the new hotel in Atyrau, Kazakhstan in 2002, it was also the office with a small library for expats, there was only about 20 books but this one stood out as it had been read thoroughly and looked extremely dog eared. I took it out and thought after reading the blurb about Kydd that it reminded me a little of Hornblower which I enjoyed as a young man. However I think I read Kydd in two or three nights and that was the beginning of a long and fruitful association with this character from Guildford.

Anchor bulletIt was during a deployment of the South Atlantic and West Indies in 2002 on-board HMS Newcastle (The Geordie Gunboat). Perusing the ship’s library when Kydd jumped out at me, was a little bit roughers off the Falklands. Read every single one since.

Anchor bulletI think it was when Kydd was reviewed on the Historic Naval Fiction forum, back in 2001. I went out and found a hardback copy, first edition, and from then on I was hooked. I lent the book to a friend, who shortly after got himself a job working in Saudi Arabia, and I lost touch with him, but really missed my book, so I went out and bought another first edition. Subsequently he came back to the UK and returned my book, so now I’m the proud possessor of two mint first editions of Kydd.

Anchor bulletI was a homesick Nova Scotian in Japan and my Mum brought me over a copy of Tenacious as the novel began in my home city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I then began to collect the series, and with the Maritime Miscellany, I was able to use it for my MA research. It’s also inspired me to become a Navy League of Canada Civilian instructor.

Anchor bulletLuckily I accidentally picked up the wrong book. I’d just finish the last Patrick O’Brian and saw a book that I thought was about Captain Kydd so I grabbed it and haven’t looked back.

If you’d like to share your first encounter with Tom Kydd do get in touch via or leave a message via this blog post. I’ll draw one comment at random for a mystery thank-you prize this Friday.

22 Comments on “Discovering Kydd: What’s Your Story?”

  1. I was in a Chapters (book seller) and found Kydd and Seaflower in a bargain section. I had read Hornblower and Aubrey-Maturin series and enjoyed those. I was captivated by Seaflower especially and quickly found the other 2 books of the series. Since then I’ve eagerly awaited the new additions. I used to wait until Christmas when someone in the family would gift me the latest. Now I pre-order from discovery books in the UK since the Canadian publication dates are so much later. I have often reread the series when a new book comes out. Lately I go back 3-4 books to reimmerse myself in the flow. I display the series in a lovely antique book case with my musket ball and other bits.

  2. I picked up a hardbound copy of KIDD at a used book sale and shelved it for several years while I reread the Bolitho, Ramage and Aubrey series in chronological order. I was skeptical about KIDD, since it began on the lower deck, but within the first two chapters I was hooked! As a retired naval officer and a long time small boat sailor I love the details and hope the series has at least a dozen more tales to come (after THE IBERIAN FLAME). Sure wish you’d take time out to host/guide Kydd Tours of the key locations in Thomas Kydd’s life. I’d be among the first to sign up! Tom K

  3. I entered the world of Kydd through a door opened by the movie MASTER AND COMMANDER. After discovering that Patrick O’Brian had written about 17 books on Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, I looked around for others, and through a Google search, stumbled on to the Kydd series.

    I have a question about long boats. Could you please describe the differences among the following:

    Jolly boat (where did they get that name?)
    Cutter (as opposed to a ship called a cutter)
    Captain’s barge
    Captain’s gig

    Which of these hangs out over the stern of a ship? On the cover of the book I just finished, “The Privateer’s Revenge,” which I thoroughly enjoyed and am eagerly awaiting the arrival of “Invasion,” I see a boat hanging off the stern of what I think is the “Witch.”

    I know the Bounty had three boats — the jolly boat, cutter, and launch (which saved Bligh’s life because of its size).

    Thank you!

    Curt Johnson

    P.S. I’ve always been excited about sailing ships. As a young boy, I talked my parents into buying me a plastic pirate ship that I sailed in the bathtub. It even had a plastic cannon and rubber men, top men hanging on the rigging as well as those on deck. I loved that little ship.

  4. I have been a fan of naval fiction from Forester, O’Brien, Kent, Donachie, Wilson, Pope, Worrall, etc. You sir, are by far the most informative and enjoyable!

  5. After reading all the other authors eg C S Forester , Patrick O” Brien and Alexander Kent etc. picked up a copy of Tenacious at a local store where one can pick up recycled paper backs for a fee then return them for a credit . I was hooked and devoured several other books by Julian . He has a rare talent for making the reader almost feel they are part of the story. Keep ’em coming can’t get enough! Tony [ Canada]

  6. I was on holiday in Tenerife and Kydd was left in the apartment this was many years ago and I am just up to date as starting the new one shortly

  7. I started following Kydd when I visited a Barns and Nobel in Bellingham, Wa. USA. I was looking at the “Heart of Oak” novels on a list. Since I had just finished the Patrick O’brian novels I was looking for something else to whet my appetite. WOW! Well done Sir!!! I have been a fan ever since. My lovely wife is constantly watching for any further publications, and usually purchases them for me as gifts!!! Thank you for your contributions in literature. Can’t wait for the next novel.

  8. Hi Big Jules I joined your newsletter recently, have been voraciously reading through the Kydd series. Thanks for the good thoroughly crafted novels. As an American navy man I am curious to here more about your naval history than the dust jacket. Perhaps you have posted it somewhere or can describe in greater detail? Joe Hanley

    Sent from my iPhone


    • At age 15 I joined the Royal Navy as a boy. When my family emigrated I transferred to the Australian Navy. I served to my mid‑twenties and was eventually rated petty officer. My naval career included service around the world; the Far East, Antarctic waters and the South Seas. In Vietnam I saw active service in a carrier task force and I was duty watch in the carrier Melbourne at the time of her disastrous peace time collision with Voyager. Leaving the Navy was a wrench but I wanted to take up the education I had missed. I graduated in Far Eastern studies (intrigued by what I’d seen on my voyages) and psychology (after what I had seen in the fo’c’sle of a warship, fascinating). After two years teaching I went into practice as an educational psychologist. Then I met a lovely lady! Kathy and I decided to seek adventure together in Hong Kong. There I became seduced with computers and eventually became a software designer. In Hong Kong also I renewed direct involvement with the Navy and was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve, where I was awarded an MBE for my work there.

  9. I found my copy of “KYDD” (Portuguese edition) in a bookshoop in Viana do Castelo, just after I finished the last of the Aubrey-Maturin series and was feeling really sad for that. But then, there it was: a new nautical-fiction novel, and the beginning of a new saga!
    Still loving it!

  10. I was at Gatwick airport circa 1999-2000. I was looking through one of the bookshops, when I spied a copy of Kydd on the shelf. I was instantly drawn to the fantastic artwork on the cover, bought the book with my 6th sense telling me this would be the start of a great adventure……. !

    Well, now its 2017. I’ve bought each book every year, and devoured them. I moved from the UK in 2003 and setled in Australia. The books were a constant companion, and the feeling of excitement leading up to each book never goes away. These books have a beauty about them, the sheer adventure, the quality of the characters, the awesome presentation and artwork. I almost feel I was there in a previous life !

    Up spirits !


  11. Good day Cap’n Stockwin

    I joined the RN in ’84 and believe it or not was partly inspired to do so by reading CS Forester. Spent 8 years in and specialised in submarines which probably explains a lot! But the point being it wasn’t until later in life I got drawn back to the tales of fighting frigates via O’Brien –

    But after my father in law picked up one of your paper book yarns at a bridge club meeting (!) I’ve been hooked and have just finished CONQUEST, BETRAYAL is incoming shortly. I don’t compare authors who write write the same genre – the ridiculous – but your level of detail makes compelling reading.

    And Renzi makes Maturin look a bit pedestrian to be honest….

    Keep up the good work.

    Rgds/Simon Charles

    Sent from my iPhone


  12. Good afternoon Julian,

    I am not a Facebook user so have only just read your article asking your readers how they first encountered Kydd.

    In my last job I was a property manager of a number of lease hold properties, the largest of which had 109 apartments where I had an on site maintenance man named Fred. Some of the owners used to give him books they had finished and no longer wished to keep. During one of my regular visits to see Fred he asked if my being ex RN would I be interested in reading books written about Nelsonian Times to which I replied yes, as like another of your readers has mentioned, I was also an avid Patrick O’Brien fan. Fred promptly opened one of his desk drawers and produced 3 brand new books and handed them to me.

    Quickly glancing at them and reading the covers I was immediately interested and asked him where they had come from. It appears that one of the apartment owners had given them to him and asked him to pass them on if he didn’t want them, these were your first 3 books in the series. I was hooked and as you know I order your book/books each year. Keep them coming, I find them fascinating.

    Yours aye

    Alan Rootes

  13. A friend of mine was teaching Combat emergency medicine at Hereford and stumbled across the audio books in a local bookshop. He knew of my interests in 18th and 19th century sailing and bought me a copy of the first book. The audio versions weren’t available here in the states yet so I had to use downloads from a Brit bookstore for the others as they came out.

  14. For me, the Napoleonic Wars have lasted for 60 years. They started with riding my bike to the library for the latest Hornblower, then progressed through Aubrey and Sharpe. After a detour through the 9th Century with Uthred of Bebbanburg, I stumbled upon Kydd while rifling through a disheartening pile of Danielle Steele/Joan Collins wannabes at our condo’s book exchange. It was my great good luck that I met Kydd as he was encountering the press gang and not in mid-career. I am now enjoying Artemis and looking forward to a long and enjoyable journey.

  15. Like others I found myself looking for the next O’Brian so quickly devoured the first book.
    However it was the consistency of the next couple of books that got me hooked
    I love the attention to detail and the progressive narrative.Authenticity is taken for granted of course!

  16. Pingback: Discovering Kydd: What’s Your Story? | Nighthawk News

  17. Pingback: Discovering Kydd: What’s Your Story? | Aerospace & Defence News

  18. Winters in the New Jersey Skylands can be arduous, so each year I occupy my dominant thoughts with Adventure series; Bernard Cornwell, Dewey Lambdin etc. and these works satisfy my wanderlust for Distant places while contemplating the Snow!!
    this year I was blessed with your countenance ( surreptitiously) through the Character of Tommy Cutlass! Fascinating recanting of famous Battles and distant places ……As a former Merchant Marine ( Grossing the Atlantic in December several times ), Great ,Great .Great Grandson to a Captain at the Battle of Trafalgar and avid Sailor your works have helped save my Sanity when the Temperature is in single digits and the Gales of Winter blow harsh through our Mountains!!
    Kudos to your style and Imagination !!!!
    If your travels ever take you The New York area I sure would like to stand you to Dinner and Share a Glass of Claret!!

  19. I happened upon Kydd while visiting our mobile library, and haven’t missed an adventure since. Great series with wonderful historic research threaded through, excellent.

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