A guest blog from author Julian Stockwin
Posted on: 03/04/2014 with tags: Britain, British History, eBooks, historical fiction, history, Julian Stockwin, Napoleon, Napoleonic wars, seafaring, Thomas Kydd
I’m really delighted that Hodder is launching the first of four special 3-ebook bundles of the Kydd series today.
Looking back over the past thirteen years that I have been writing these books one of the aspects that gives me special pleasure is the bond that has developed between my two main characters, Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi.
Kydd is a young wigmaker having a quiet ale with his friends in the local pub in Guildford when his life is about to change forever. He is taken by the press gang and spirited away in the night to become one of the 600,000 or so sailors who fought during the bitter French wars of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century (1793-1815).
Initially he rages against the unfairness of his fate but gradually learns to love the sea life and finds that he is a natural born sailor. He will go on to rise up in his sea career, being made master’s mate by the end of the third book in this first bundle. Subsequently there are more promotions and in the second bundle Kydd makes the incredible journey across a great divide – he becomes an officer from the lower deck. Eventually, he achieves command of his own ship and will finally make admiral. Quite a journey for Tom Kydd but his life is based on the actual historic record and the tiny handful of men who did indeed achieve this.
Nicholas Renzi finds himself on the lower deck of a man o’-war because of what he considers a family sin. When his father enclosed his lands this caused great hardship to the tenant farmers and one young man committed suicide as a result. Renzi takes moral responsibility for his father’s actions and sentences himself to five years exile before the mast. A hard thing indeed to bear for someone with his background.
There are a number of double acts in literature and having two very different characters is a useful device in conveying things to the reader that you wouldn’t be able to with just one character. This was initially Renzi’s main function – the eighteenth century Jack Tar was not all that articulate – and also Renzi was a useful tutor as Kydd learns to become a gentleman. But a funny thing happened as I wrote – I found that Renzi needed Kydd as much as Kydd needed him.
Now having just finished my fifteenth book, PASHA, Kydd and Renzi continue to be close friends but their life paths have taken very different courses…
I do hope you enjoy these first three ebooks. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via my website if you have any comments or questions. I love hearing from readers.
Live the Adventure with Kydd and Renzi in the Great Age of Fighting Sail!
Listen to a radio interview here in which Julian Stockwin and his wife Kathy talk about the Kydd series.
For more information about Julian Stockwin and his novels, visit his website and follow him on Twitter. PASHA will be published in hardcover and as an eBook on 9th October 2014.