Julian Stockwin,
Kydd #6: Tenacious
(Hodder & Stoughton, 2005; McBooks, 2006)

Tenacious kicks an excellent series up to a much higher level.

This book, the sixth in Julian Stockwin's Kydd series, is exciting and packed with action. There are great deeds here, high-water marks for the British navy in the Age of Sail, and Stockwin presents it all with a solid punch that will keep readers happily turning pages.

Tom Kydd, risen from pressed seaman to fifth lieutenant in His Majesty's service, is part of Rear Admiral Horatio Nelson's fleet when it corners the French in the Nile -- a major engagement that, surprisingly, is rarely portrayed in historical fiction. As if that's not enough, Kydd plays a vital role in the taking of Minorca, a pivotal base of operations in the Mediterranean. And, for the hat trick, he is a keystone defender at Acre, denying Napoleon a crucial victory.

If that's not enough, Stockwin introduces us to Nelson himself and hints at the developing, scandalous relationship that developed between the admiral and Lady Emma Hamilton, the wife of a British envoy. He delves more deeply into the enigmatic character of Nicholas Renzi, Kydd's closest friend, and presents Kydd with a new sword.

Our Tom Kydd is a busy, busy man. Stockwin sticks him repeatedly in the thick of things, and Kydd consistently rises to the challenge. While it defies reason somewhat to place Kydd at all of the events that have transpired in this series so far, I'm willing to grant the author a little license just to get him where he needs to be to tell the tale. And tell it he does; Stockwin began Kydd's saga as a good writer, but this book marks his advancement to a more exceptional level. Fans of O'Brian, Forester and Pope, among others, will surely enjoy this series.

[ visit the author's website ]

book review by
Tom Knapp

27 November 2010

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