I came late to the books of Julian Stockwin and this novel is the first one I have read, out of sequence I know but my excuse is that being disabled and not always able to get out myself, Maureen was the one who saw this book on the quick choice shelf at Pimlico library and knowing how much I am partial to yarns of this sort she had no qualms in getting it for me, in any case I read this novel and was instantly captivated by this escapade of Thomas Kydd and Nicholas Renzi.
After the Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar removed the image of invasion and England is now free to seek conquests and colonies in the furthest reaches of the world.
Captain Kydd joins an expedition to take Dutch-held Cape Town, a strategic imperative to secure the rich trade-route to India. But even if the British can defeat the enemy and take possession of the capital, there is still more fighting to be done.
Kydd and his men must defend the fragile colony from attacks by the enemy from all sides, while braving the wild beasts and hostile environment of Africa‘s vast and savage hinterland.
Conquest launched me in what I trust will be a series of brand new adventures, a twelve book exploration in the Thomas Kydd series.
I found this book to be attention-grabbing historically owing to the story being set at the emergence of the British Empire which is one of the main periods of history I am interested in and studied.
Stockwin vividly links fact with fiction and I found the entire story enthralling and compelling at the same time.
The account of the landing and ensuing ground campaign was agreeably written and the mind images depicted ship you back to the actions as they happened.
To do research is vital when writing stories of this kind and Julian Stockwin surely shows the way in his interpretation of life in the Cape in the early 1800’s along with the actual characters of the time and his skill to steer clear of disorder really cut to the chase.
I look forward to reading the whole series hopefully in series order to find out just how the two friends met and how Kydd rose from before the mast to the quarterdeck.
For me Conquest ticks all the usual boxes for a rollicking good read with its indefatigable plot and rate of knots, but always told with enthusiasm and historical intensity, here I find a writer who not only knows his subject but cares for it deeply, I loved each and every page and you must not miss this brilliantly written book but unlike me get your books in series order. I strongly recommend Conquest to all readers attracted to naval fiction and indeed historical fiction in general.
- Shieldwall, By Justin Hill (independent.co.uk)