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Book Title: Conquest|
The author of the book: Julian Stockwin
ISBN 13: 9781444711967
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 11.76 MB
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton
Date of issue: June 1st 2011
Reader ratings: 6.4
Loaded: 217 times
Read full description of the books Conquest:
I picked up this book as I was searching for some information on the British takeover of Dutch South Africa in the early 1800s. I was also looking for a jolly good adventure to bring that period alive. On the first count, I was lucky; there is a lot of historical detail here, factual and fictional; but on the second, I lucked out as that same level of detail and the pre-occupation with nautical intricacies trumps what could have been a very good story.
Given that this is about the twelfth novel in the Kydd series, the heroes Kydd and his confidential secretary, Renzi, must be well entrenched with their readership. But being my first read, I was looking for some depth in these men; all I saw were master calculators, incapable of fear or doubt, incessantly plotting their next moves; only Renzi shows a bit of emotion when he contemplates asking for the hand of Cecilia, Kydd’s sister, in marriage.
The plot centres around the British flotilla that sets out in the aftermath of the Battle of Trafalgar to expand the British Empire, now that the Brits have their nemesis across the Channel on the defensive. First stop: Cape Town, which is still ruled by the declining Dutch who are in turn under the protection of Napoleonic France since they were overtaken at home and rechristened the Batavian Republic. The British gain quick advantage as the Dutch army retreats into the mountains surrounding the Cape and the incumbent governor surrenders. Renzi is appointed acting colonial secretary and adopts a policy of minimum change and involvement, in exchange for taxes, to get the local populace onside. There is a rumour however that the French are mustering a land and sea attack on Cape Town to re-take the colony. Our heroes set off to find out how and where: Renzi going overland into the interior to visit his constituents and make enquiries, and Kydd patrolling the coast around Cape Town. Both finally stumble on the plot in their own way and their paths converge as they attempt to wrest this new threat to the burgeoning British Empire.
The novel is ripe with information of the perils encountered when sailing in convoy or on patrol in foreign seas; of storms, enemy ships, treacherous waters and hostile coasts. It diligently covers life in Cape Town at the dawn of the 19th century and is very detailed on sea manoeuvres, land battles and the politics of the period. There is even a chapter on the funeral ceremony of Admiral Lord Nelson in England, which has no bearing on the story at all other than to symbolize the glory of Empire, a cause these men willingly give their lives for.
As the French plot emerges, the novel takes on a James Bond type flavour, replete with the criminal mastermind giving the captured Renzi a detailed overview of plans for the assault to take back Cape Town. One is left twittering one’s thumbs waiting for the hero to turn the tables on the villain supported by the cavalry (in this case the navy, led by Kydd) that arrives in the nick of time.
A book heavy on plot and detail, but thin on character, such as this, makes for a quick read and does not leave one with the delectable aftertaste of contemplation.
Read information about the authorJulian Stockwin was sent at the age of fourteen to Indefatigable, a tough sea-training school. He joined the Royal Navy at fifteen. He now lives in Devon with his wife Kathy. Julian has written 18 books to date in the Kydd series of historical adventure fiction, the story of one man's journey from pressed man to admiral in the age of fighting sail, and a non-fiction book, 'Stockwin's Maritime Miscellany.' His latest Kydd series title is PERSEPHONE, out May 18; THE BALTIC PRIZE is published in November. And, he's also published two historical standalone novels, THE SILK TREE, set in the time of Emperor Justinian and THE POWDER OF DEATH, about the quest for the secret of gunpowder.
* Thomas Kydd
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