- Book reviewer
- History - general, Book reviews, Influential People
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 2009 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
by Julian Stockwin.
Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 2008. rrp $32.99
Reviewed by Barry Nobes
Treachery is ninth in a series of Napoleonic War naval stories by Julian Stockwin, involving his principal character Thomas Kydd and his acolyte, Nicholas Renzi. Brought up on C. S. Forrester and weaned on the incomparable Patrick O’Brian, on his death I lost interest in this genre. This is the first in this series that I have read so I am not familiar with Stockwin’s style, previous stories in the saga, nor the development of the principal personalities. It was a little difficult to settle down with the rough and ready Kydd and to gain an appreciation of the characters and it took me some time to ‘get into’ this book. Nonetheless, it is written with skill and verve and eventually achieves that indefinable ‘can’t put it down’ characteristic.
The story is exciting and introduces historical characters in a believable way, even if the story line is somewhat implausible. Much of the background detail, which is very important to the story, is uncheckable (at least to me) but certainly seems accurate. Early nineteenth century conversation at different social levels comes over as authentic, if a little forced, and moves the action on with alacrity. Local knowledge of the Channel Islands and the nearby French coast also helps the book to come alive.
So, to the many readers of sea stories I do not hesitate to recommend this book, and I will look forward to reading more of the author’s previous books.