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Next to Hornblower and Aubrey-Maturin.
What is the Thomas Kydd Series about?
The Thomas Kydd series is written by Julian Stockwin MBE, an English author of historical action-adventure fiction. He served for the Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy before joining the University of Tasmania where he study cross-cultural psychology. He later rejoined the Navy.
Stockwin’s writing career started in 1996. The Kydd series hit the shelves five years later and became his main work.
Set during the Age of Fighting Sail, the series focuses on the adventures of the young Kydd, who was pressed into service on a British ship in 1793. This is “a dramatic story closely based on real events following one man’s journey as he becomes a true sailor and defender of Britain.” There are 25 books in the series.
How to read the Thomas Kydd Books in Order?
Every book in the Thomas Kydd series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Kydd (2001)
- Artemis (2002)
- Seaflower (2003)
- Mutiny (2003)
- Quarterdeck (2004)
- Tenacious (2005)
- Command (2006)
- The Admiral’s Daughter (2007)
- Treachery (aka The Privateers’s Revenge, 2008)
- Invasion (2009)
- Victory (2010)
- Conquest (2011)
- Betrayal (2012)
- Caribbee (2013)
- Pasha (2014)
- Tyger (2015)
- Inferno (2016)
- Persephone (2017)
- The Baltic Prize (2017)
- The Iberian Flame (2018)
- A Sea of Gold (2018)
- To the Eastern Seas (2019)
- Balkan Glory (2020)
- Thunderer (2021)
- Yankee Mission (2022)
What is the plot of the Thomas Kydd novels?
For more information about the books in the Thomas Kydd series by Julian Stockwin, you’ll find below the official synopsis for all the books:
Kydd – It is 1793. Europe is ablaze with war. The British prime minister is under pressure to intimidate the French, and dispatches a Navy squadron to appear off the French coast. To man the ships, ordinary citizens must be press-ganged. Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized and taken across country to be part of the crew of the ninety-eight-gun line-of-battle ship Duke William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast.
Artemis – Thomas Payne Kydd and sea-mate Nicholas Renzi are set to sail all the way to the fabled Far East aboard the 18th-century crack frigate Artemis. In this great age of fighting sailing ships, Kydd’s voyage promises to be a perilous undertaking, but not even shipwreck, mutiny, or a confrontation with a mighty French frigate manages to thwart them. It is only when Kydd receives an urgent message from home that the real journey begins.
Seaflower – Returning to England for the court-martial of the sole-surviving officer from that voyage, Kydd has evidence that could destroy the officer’s career, as well as his own. In a political act to shield the officer’s reputation, Kydd and his mate find themselves forcibly shipped off to the Caribbean where they encounter a new set of challenges.
Mutiny – As Thomas Kydd crosses the Mediterranean to a rendezvous with danger and returns to England—only to find himself caught up in the Nore Mutiny. Kydd is a loyal servant of the King, and he is expected to side with Naval authority against his friends, but how can he? Faced with an impossible decision of duty and conscience, he must find a way to save himself and his fellow sailors.
Quarterdeck – Thomas Kydd was promoted to acting lieutenant at the bloody Battle of Camperdown in October 1797. Now, he must sit an examination to confirm his rank – or face an inglorious return before the mast. But this is only the first of many obstacles for a man who was pressed into the King’s Service and discovered a calling for the sea. If he is to avoid spending the rest of his career as a tarpaulin officer, he must also become a gentleman.
Tenacious – Thomas Kydd is aboard Tenacious, part of a small squadron commanded by Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson. Its mission is to scour the Mediterranean and locate Napoleon and his army. Kydd’s newly fired ambition leads him to volunteer for shore service in the capture of Minorca. Later, he faces the great ships-of-the-line at the Battle of the Nile as the British take on the French in a no-holds-barred struggle for supremacy in southern waters. But there is one more test to come: the Siege of Acre, where Kydd and a handful of British seamen under the command of Sir Sidney Smith face an army of thirteen thousand!
Command – Thomas Kydd is master of his own brig-sloop Teazer and he must race the clock to make her battle-ready to defend Malta against Barbary pirates and the French. Suddenly, peace is declared, and the young captain finds himself ashore. To make ends meet, he agrees to transport convicts to Australia. Little does he know that his friend Renzi, weakened by illness and embittered with the service, is also bound for that colony as a settler.
The Admiral’s Daughter – Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi return to England in 1803 after tumultuous episodes on the other side of the world to find England in peril of starvation and bankruptcy. Kydd is placed back in command of his beloved vessel, Teazer, but he barely has time to prep her for the sea when he is sent on an urgent mission. Smugglers, enemy privateers, and treacherous sea conditions await Kydd on his journey to northern France on the eve of war, but equally worrisome events are occurring ashore.
Treachery (aka The Privateers’s Revenge) – Following the loss of his fiancée, Lieutenant Thomas Kydd descends into depression in this installment of the riveting nautical-adventure series. Rescued from despair by his close friend Renzi, Kydd finds life increasingly difficult when he is framed and dismissed from his ship. The pair eke out a pitiful existence in Guernsey, where, in a moment of desperation, Renzi offers his services to the Prince de Bouillon and becomes embroiled in covert operations.
Invasion – Rumors fly of Napoleon’s planned invasion of England, and British naval commander Thomas Kydd is sent to liaise with American inventor Robert Fulton, who has created “infernal machines” that can wreak mass destruction from a distance. Fulton believes that his inventions, namely the submarine and torpedo, will win the day for the power that possesses them, and Kydd must help him develop the devices.
Victory – Napoleon Bonaparte continues planning for the invasion of England as Admiral Horatio Nelson and the Royal Navy patrol the seas, seeking out their elusive enemy. When convoluted political machinations in England lead to the impeachment of the head of the Navy, Commander Thomas Kydd is forced to choose sides.
Conquest – Newly victorious at the Battle of Trafalgar, England now rules the seas and is free to colonize the furthest reaches of the world. Captain Thomas Kydd joins an expedition to take Dutch-held Cape Town, a strategic harbor that will give England a rich trade route to India. With enemies lurking on all sides, Kydd and his men must defend the fragile colony while braving Africa’s vast and hostile hinterland.
Betrayal – Cape Colony is proving a tiresome assignment for Thomas Kydd’s daring commander-in-chief Commodore Popham: South America’s Spanish colonies are in a ferment of popular unrest. Rumors of a treasure hoard of Spanish silver spur him to assemble a makeshift invasion fleet and launch a bold attack on the capital of the Viceroyalty of the River Plate in Buenos Aires.
Caribbee – As the captain of a useful frigate, Thomas Kydd is claimed by the Leeward Islands station. In Europe, Napoleon is triumphant on land, but so far away in the Caribbean, Kydd and the others feel secure and make the most of running down prizes and sending off fat convoys of sugar to England. But, in a stroke of genius, Bonaparte finds a way to take revenge for Trafalgar.
Pasha – Word has come from the British ambassador Arbuthnot that the neutral Turks are being wooed by the French and if the ancient city of Constantinople falls into their hands, Napoleon’s route to India will be completely unfettered and his plans for world domination a reality. Concerned for his safety, Arbuthnot is demanding a large fleet presence to take him off and bring the Turks to their senses. Thomas Kydd returns to sea and rescues the ambassador, but as Kydd waits for the rest of the expected fleet, the French are able to strengthen the Turkish defenses.
Tyger – Captain Sir Thomas Kydd’s part in Britain’s doomed occupation of Buenos Aires has put him on the wrong side of some powerful men at the Admiralty. He is given a poisoned commission that some hope will destroy his career: a recently mutinied ship. But enemies aboard and on the high seas are just the start of the problem.
Inferno – It’s 1807. Captain Sir Thomas Kydd’s famous sea action aboard Tyger has snatched his reputation from ignominy. He is the hero of the hour. But though Britain’s Navy remains imperious, a succession of battles has seen Napoleon victorious on mainland Europe. In an attempt to prevent the French from taking control of Denmark’s navy, Kydd’s great friend, Nicholas Renzi – now Lord Farndon – is sent on a desperate diplomatic mission to persuade the Danes to give up their fleet to Britain. But the Danes are caught between two implacable forces and will not yield, opting instead for the inferno of battle…
Persephone – November 1807. Captain Sir Thomas Kydd must sail to Lisbon to aid the Portuguese Royal Family’s evacuation in the face of Napoleon’s ruthless advance through Iberia. In the chaos of the threatened city, an old passion is reawakened when he meets Persephone Lockwood, a beautiful and determined admiral’s daughter from his past.
The Baltic Prize – 1808. Parted from his new bride, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is called away to join the Northern Expedition to Sweden, now Britain’s only ally in the Baltic. Following the sudden declaration of war by Russia and with the consequent threat of the czar’s great fleet in St Petersburg, the expedition must defend Britain’s dearly-won freedom in those waters.
The Iberian Flame – 1808. With the Peninsula in turmoil, Napoleon Bonaparte signs a treaty to dismember Portugal and put his brother, Joseph, on the throne of Spain. Meanwhile, Nicholas Renzi, the Lord Farndon, undertakes a deadly mission to stir up partisan unrest to disrupt this Napoleonic alliance with Spain. Thrust into the crucible of the uprising, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is dismayed to come up against an old foe from his past who is determined to break him.
A Sea of Gold – 1809. After his heroic actions during the retreat to Corunna, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is the toast of London society. Here he falls in with the legendary frigate captain, Lord Thomas Cochrane. So begins a relationship, professional and personal, that will be unlike any that Kydd has known: a relationship that will lead him, almost simultaneously, to first glory, then ruin.
To the Eastern Seas – With Bonaparte held to a stalemate in Europe, the race to empire is now resumed. Britain’s ambitions turn to the Spice Islands, the Dutch East Indies, where Admiral Pellew has been sent to confront the enemy’s vastly rich holdings in these tropical islands. Captain Sir Thomas Kydd joins reinforcements to snatch these for the British Crown.
Balkan Glory – Captain Sir Thomas Kydd finds his glorious return to England cut short when the Admiralty summons him to lead a squadron of frigates into these waters to cause havoc and distress to the enemy. Kydd is dubbed ‘The Sea Devil’ by Bonaparte who personally appoints one of his favorites, Dubourdieu, along with a fleet that greatly outweighs the British, to rid him of this menace.
Thunderer – 1812. Arriving back in England after his successes in the Adriatic, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is bestowed with honours. In London, he’s greeted by the Prince Regent who, despite Kydd’s protestations that he’s happy with his present command, insists he be given a bigger ship – HMS Thunderer, a 74-gun ship of the line. But she’s old, and being part of a standing fleet Kydd’s chances of further fame and distinction are slim indeed.
Yankee Mission – 1812. Off the coast of Brazil, HMS Java, a proud British 38-gun frigate, is captured in battle by the American USS Constitution – signaling across the world’s oceans a challenge to Britain’s naval premiership that cannot be ignored. Back in England, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is enjoying a moment of normal life with his wife and his newborn son. It’s a position the Admiralty does not leave him in for long, and he is soon given a mission: engage the young republic in a fair fight, frigate against frigate, and restore the Navy’s reputation. And they have just the ship and crew for him . . . Tyger.
What should you read if you like the Thomas Kydd novels?
If you like reading Julian Stockwin’s Thomas Kydd, you may be interested in Hornblower, Nathan Peake, Dewey Lambdin, Aubrey-Maturin…