This is a great addition to the historical nautical-adventure subgenre.
Tyger, by Julian Stockwin, finds the dashing Captain Thomas Kydd struggling to survive epic sea battles, protect his nation and allies, and root out a mutiny before it boils over. The sixteenth entry in the Kydd Sea Adventures is a well-crafted historical epic focused on a shrewd and sympathetic Kydd.
Kydd discovers his beloved ship, L’Aurore, is in dire straits and out of commission. While waiting for his next command, Kydd is overheard discussing the outcome of the court-martial of his former commander. Punishing him for his remarks, the admiralty deals Kydd a possible career-ending blow: they transfer his command to the recently mutinied Tyger. Tasked with reforming the crew and scouting for French activity in the Baltic, Kydd strategically overcomes almost every obstacle thrown his way. In an epic showdown, Kydd and the Tyger face a climactic battle against three French-commandeered ships.
The writing is solid and appropriate to the era. Historical terms and formal dialogue capture the feel of the early 1800s. Characterization is strong, even for secondary characters. The setting features just enough detail to provide a framework for the imagination to fill in, lending a feel to the novel that Stockwin found Kydd’s journal and filled in the dramatic details. Engaging and engrossing, Kydd’s adventure commanding the Tyger is a swashbuckling good time.
Tyger, being another episodic adventure starring the illustrious Thomas Kydd, is a great starting point. While easily accessible to new readers, there is little time wasted on extraneous details. The provided time line at the end of the book fills in some important details and provides book titles for readers wanting to catch up. With strong pacing and a well-built plot, this book is good not only for historical-fiction fans but for anyone who loves a solid yarn. Kydd is a heroic figure to rival Horatio Hornblower or Jack Aubrey, and a great addition to the nautical-adventure genre.
John M. Murray
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