By Julian Stockwin. Published by Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH. ISBN: 0 340 83217 7. Price £16.99
This is the fifth book in the series based on the exploits and adventures of one Thomas Kydd, Lieutenant Royal Navy. Kydd is a recently commissioned Lieutenant, his seniority the 20 January 1798, and a hero of the Battle of Camperdown the year before. The experiences of Kydd that lead him to promotion are covered in the previous four books. Fortunately, the reader of Quarterdeck is not disadvantaged by not having read them, as the author gives an excellent overview thus far, although the attention to detail by the author in this book, amongst other strengths, will inevitably lead the newcomer to read for themselves the previous adventures of Lieutenant Kydd.
This is a most informative and enjoyable sea story and makes a positive contribution to the genre. I had quite forgotten how much I enjoy reading such a book and found myself rationing chapters to make it last! The book can be considered a good yarn and enjoyed as such but there is also a wealth of interesting detail which is on offer in Quarterdeck. I was greatly interested in the use of swamp oak, Q. prinus bicolour, and the importance of its specific gravity to a particular action in the story. The author also recounted a contemporary view of the Falmouth Packet Service and used the mysterious carving of the Cornish chough on a ships figurehead to great effect. This will I’m sure be of interest to at least two of our members! Importantly there is worthy commentary on the problems that can surround a man rising from the Lower Deck to the Officer’s Mess. Those who have come aft ‘through the hawse’ as Thomas Kydd describes it will find themselves in familiar territory.
Finally, the author, Julian Stockwin maintains an interesting
Homepage dedicated to the Kydd series and it is well worth a visit. I understand from this that Julian is presently engaged in writing the sixth Kydd book, Tenacious. I’m sure Jean will have lots of volunteers to review the book on its publication!
Reviewed by Mike Baker
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