Captain KyddTag Archives

Kydd by Julian Stockwin

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Reason for Reading:
  • I picked this book off my TBR list for one of my 2012 challenges.

I also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized by the press gang, to be a part of the crew of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship Royal William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast. Despite all that he goes through in danger of tempest and battle he comes to admire the skills and courage of the seamen – taking up the challenge himself to become a true sailor.

My Review:

So imagine it’s the year is 1793 and you are sitting in a nice little tavern, enjoying a drink.  A shout is heard, and you immediately stand up and make your way to an exit – you’re just an ordinary wig-maker, not used to hard labor.  Instead, you are grabbed and, along with several other men, tossed into the hold of a ship – your future that of a pressed sailor for His Majesty’s Navy.

So begins the story of Thomas Kydd – a young wigmaker who is forced to look into living life as a sailor.  This book was harshly written, but once I got used to the language, the nautical terms, and – much like Thomas, finally got a feel for my bearings within the story, things started to come to life.  The descriptions of life on board a gunner are so vivid, I could almost smell the salt-water.  Julian Stockwin pulls no punches when it comes to life, death, or punishment in between.  (I also made the mistake of becoming attached to a character.. big mistake.)

I picked this book a while back because I thought, mistakenly, that it was about William Kidd, or Captain Kidd.  It isn’t – but it still is an interesting seafaring adventure as told from the eyes of a common, pressed man, rather than someone of higher ranking.  I very highly recommend this if you are a historical or wartime story lover.

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