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Quarterdeck: A Kydd Sea Adventure (Kydd Sea Adventures) Paperback – September 1, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
Book 3 of 15 in the Kydd Sea Adventures Series

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Editorial Reviews


"Stockwin . . . writes of the nautical life with vivid authority." -- Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Richard Gore famously overcame modern day hurdles to become an officer and a gentleman, but they were nothing compared to the almost impossible odds two hundred years ago. The Royal Navy, though steeped in custom and tradition, did provide a rare means for someone low born to achieve the hightest status in the land. Right from the start of my series I knew my hero would eventually become an officer and in many ways "Quarterdeck" posed the most writing challenges for me so far. I had to take Tom Kydd from an environment of the lower deck, where he was popular and, as a master’s mate, near the pinnacle of his calling, to an alien realm where the talk was of foxhunting and the Season, and where, at first, he was neither liked nor respected. Having served both on the fo’c’sle and on the quarterdeck myself, to some extent I was able to draw on these experiences when I wrote the book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Kydd Sea Adventures (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: McBooks Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590131282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590131282
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I wanted to go to sea ever since I can remember. My mother says that as a toddler I went up to sailors on the street, and on one occasion dragged home a dead seabird because it smelled of the sea! I was entranced when my great uncle Tom Clay, a seaman in square-rigged ships who had sailed around the Horn in the "Cutty Sark", took me over this ship. As a young boy I read everything about the sea and I was especially terrified by a description of a great storm, but longed to go to sea to experience one.
I won a scholarship to a grammar school, but my mind was captivated by seeing low grey shapes far out to sea, outward bound to who knew where. I passed this sight every day on my way to school; my scholastic performance suffered!
In the hope of having the nonsense knocked out of me, my father sent me to a tough sea-training school. This only strengthened my resolve for a life at sea and at fifteen I joined the Royal Navy.
After leaving the Navy (rated Petty Officer) I practised as an educational psychologist. I worked for some time in Hong Kong, where I was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve.
I now live in Devon with my wife and literary partner, Kathy - and two Siamese cats.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this title after finishing Mutiny, the previous book of the series. I consider that title one the better Stockwin novels in the way it integrated the hero, Thomas Kydd, into the momentous events of the Royal Navy's history. Unfortunately, I find that quality missing in Quarterdeck. The novel begins well enough but Thomas Kydd's concerns about being a 'gentleman' seems to me a thin thread on which to hang a narrative. I don't believe the theme was treated with enough depth to sustain the novel. I've been reading through Vanity Fair at the same time which deals much better with the vagaries of the English class system.
Later episodes of the story don't help the book either. The commando style derring-do of the French privateer's sabotage borders on the incredulous. Stockwin does his research, so I might be wrong there. The episode aboard the USS Constellation following the privateer incident is just as bothersome. Thomas Truxtun was known to be obsessed with his stature and idea of him treating with a British junior lieutenant is a bit far-fetched. Benjamin Stoddert, the US Secretary of the Navy, did exchange some signalling information with the British Admiral Vandeput in July, 1798 and a novelist is free to imagine the circumstances of the exchange, but I had hoped for a little more creative imagination.
I was happy when this series started; it's about time that someone wrote about the common sailors in the Age of Sail instead of the silk-stocking officer corps. After all, they were the ones who did most of the fighting and most of the dying, but this series seems to suffer from hasty composition and plotting. Still, it was engaging enough;I did manage to finish the novel instead of hurling it across the room. I can't say that about some others I've tried to read. After Mutiny, I had greater expectations and was disappointed. I don't know if I want to read further.
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Format: Hardcover
Julian Stockwin has grown in his Kydd series and I was most happy to read his latest offering. Although it is not to the high standard that the late Patrick O'Brien has set, it was certainly an enjoyable read. The plot sometimes seems improbable and contrived, but the humanity of Kydd shines through and I found myself rooting for the character throughout. Kydd has a particularly American appeal as a commoner among the gentry triumphing in spite of his humble beginnings, but shines through as an unmistakably British stout heart of oak. I look forward to the next installment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thomas Kydd has survived the Battle of Camperdown, arriving back home as an acting lieutenant. In wartime, men could advance by their abilities. The novel opens with Kydd being examined for a commission. He does have a champion on the examining board. Having obtained his step up to lieutenant, he is taken in hand by his friend Renzi for training to be a gentlemen. In that regard, his sister Cecilia, now a companion of Lady Stanhope, takes a hand. But when Thomas reports back aboard ship, he finds that the captain is an upperclass prig who does not want tarpaulin lieutenants on "his ship." (That upperclass attitude is reflected in the novels of Frederick Marryat, written in the early 19th century, and did exist in the Royal Navy). The captain attempts to have him removed without success (one can wonder what is left unsaid; was the captain told, perhaps, that Thomas was a friend of Lord Stanhope and known to Admiral Onslow?). In any case, Thomas stays on board, for better or for worse.

Action proceeds, and Thomas finds he can no longer be "one of the guys" before the mast and, at the same time, he does not fit in well with the "gentlemen" officers, having no small talk about foxhunting, society, etc. Thomas makes a few gaffes, getting some unwanted attention from the Admiral, but also distinguishes himself in some detached duties.

He finds himself seconded as a naval observer to the fledgling United States Navy, and making some acquaintances that may show up in the future. Returning to the squadron in Halifax, he obtains some detached duty doing a hydrographic survey, and makes a chance acquaintance with a mysterious, very beautiful young woman whom he invites as his companion to a state function in Halifax which he must attend.
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Format: Hardcover
The fifth book in the Kydd series (see my reviews of _Kydd_, _Artemis_, Seaflower_, and Mutiny_)sees our protagonist promoted to lieutenant and shipped off to North America. It's obvious that Kydd does not fit in with the other officers in the Royal Navy with whom he must serve. He simply comes from a different social class. This is the central theme of the book. The episodes are not as exciting as in the previous books, but this book is pivotal to the growth of Kydd as an officer in the Royal Navy. He is loaned to an American ship as an observer/advisor, where he experiences first hand how people can rise in society based on their merits. When he is offered a position in the American navy, Kydd seriously considers it. This seems like a dream come true. What will he do? Does he stay loyal to king and country, or does he do what millions have done-go with the future and opportunity? This book is interesting in that the conflict he feels is what every potential emigrant must face. One can only imagine one's own ancestors wrestling with the same conflict.
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