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Literature / Kydd

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The cover of the first book
The Kydd series by Julian Stockwin follows the naval career of Thomas Paine Kydd during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Accompanied by his friend, Nicholas Renzi, he moves up the ranks from pressed man to Admiral over the course of the projected total of twenty-one titles, the most recent title (as of June 2014) announced being the fifteenth book, Pasha. A list of all the novels published so far can be found here.

Kydd contains examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: At the end of Quarterdeck, Kydd earns his place in high society by inviting Thérèse Bernardine-Mongenet to a banquet hosted by Prince Edward. What Kydd doesn't note  know is that his lady is the Prince's mistress, who isn't allowed to be with him at occasions such as the banquet.
  • Blackmail: A sailor who was at the Nore mutiny by the name of Dobbie attempts this with Kydd during Quarterdeck for what he sees as disloyalty to his former comrades. Luckily, Kydd earns his respect through showing up for a duel ashore as a fellow sailor, not an officer.
  • The Captain:
    • Whoever's in charge of the ship Kydd is serving aboard at the moment during his early years in the Navy.
    • What Kydd becomes in Command, though at that point, he's technically only a commander.
    • In Victory, Kydd finally "makes post" and becomes captain of the Cool Boat, L'Aurore.
  • Chick Magnet: Due to Kydd's swarthy looks, he attracts his fair share of women, including:
    • Sarah Bullivant and Tamaha in Artemis.
    • Kitty Malkin in Mutiny, though both agree to break off the relationship just before the climax of the book.
    • Subverted with Mrs. Emily Mulvany's "attraction" towards Kydd in the same book. She just happens to be a married woman who likes to flirt and entertain and who doesn't want to cheat on her husband.
    • Persephone Lockwood in The Admiral's Daughter as well as Rosalynd Morthwen.
  • Cool Boat: The frigate Artemis, based off the real-life Nymphe, and the first ship Kydd "had really loved".
    • Kydd's first command, the brig-sloop Teazer.
    • Later, in Victory, he gets another one befitting a post-captain, this time the frigate, L'Aurore.
  • Father Neptune: A notable example in the first book is Joe Bowyer, who dies from falling from the yard onto the deck.
  • A Father to His Men: Lord Nelson, as in Real Life.
  • Field Promotion: How Kydd is elevated to the quarterdeck. To elaborate, his commanding officer, Lieutenant Monckton, was knocked unconscious by the passing of a cannonball during the Battle of Camperdown, forcing Kydd to take command of his division.
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  • The General's Daughter: Kydd's career is (temporarily) threatened by his association with Persephone Lockwood, the admiral's daughter, though not in the way you might expect.
  • Glory Seeker: Heroic examples with Lord Nelson and Thomas Kydd himself.
    • Near the end of Tenacious, Kydd worries that he might be more of a reckless Glory Hound when one of the men under his command blames him for the death of a friend during The Siege of Acre. Luckily, he's soon heartened by the admiration expressed for him in the letter the dead man wrote to his wife.
  • Going Native: What Renzi does in the latter parts of Artemis on a Pacific island the crew visits. Luckily, Kydd's there to (literally) knock him out of it before the cannibalistic rival tribe of the islanders hosting them can get there.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kydd and Renzi.
  • Historical Domain Character: There are many of them throughout the series, most of them in supporting or background roles. Some of the more famous ones include Lord Nelson, and even some of the lesser-known figures make an appearance, such as Zephaniah Job in The Admiral's Daughter.
  • Incompatible Orientation: At the end Quarterdeck, after Prince Edward's banquet, Renzi reveals to Kydd that he fell in love with a woman "of the Sapphic persuasion" offscreen. As expected, this "romance" didn't last very long.
  • The Mentor:
  • The Mutiny:
    • The premise of the fourth book, Mutiny. Kydd initially joins the mutiny at the Nore in good faith, but he later regrets his decision when the situation turns ugly. In later books, it becomes an Old Shame for him.
    • This later becomes a threat for Kydd in Treachery note , when he treats the crew of Teazer badly to due to his grief over the death of his fiancée, Rosalynd.
  • My Nayme Is: Kydd takes pains to point out that his name is spelled with a Y instead of a I. Word of God says the name of Princess Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, rang a bell with him. [1]
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Averted with Renzi and Kydd, who actually helps his friend to try and impress his sister, Cecelia.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Kydd was named after Thomas Paine, whom his parents met before he was born, though they would later come to disapprove of his radical ideas.
  • The Neidermeyer: Lieutenant Swaine, who takes over the Seaflower in the eponymous third book from Reasonable Authority Figure Lieutenant Farrell. Fortunately for the crew, he falls overboard while trying to stop some deserters fed up with his treatment.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Subverted with Kydd during Quarterdeck and Tenacious, as well as other "tarpaulin" officers who "came up aft through the hawsehole". While certainly very good at their jobs through experience, they're considered crude by the standards of those who play this trope straight, which is why Kydd begins to resent his fellow officers in Quarterdeck.
    • Played straight with Renzi during those two books, highlighting his status as a Foil to Kydd.
  • Papa Wolf: Admiral Lockwood towards his daughter, Persephone, in The Admiral's Daughter, which comes back to bite Kydd in the rear later in the book when Kydd falls for a daughter of a country squire named Rosalynd instead.
  • The Philosopher: Nicholas Renzi is fond of talking about the philosophies of David Hume and the like with Kydd, and in The Admiral's Daughter, he begins doing research for his own book.
  • Plucky Middie: There are a couple throughout out the series, including Bowden, who later goes on to be signal midshipman at Trafalgar, and Luke Calloway, who's promoted from before the mast.
  • Press-Ganged: How Kydd got his rough start in the Royal Navy. This should be noted as quite different to the careers of Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, whereas they both started out as midshipmen on the quarterdeck at relatively young ages when compared to Kydd's twenty before the mast at the start of the series.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Lord Frederick Stanhope, who helps Kydd with his naval career after he volunteers to take him, his wife, and Kydd's sister to deliver an important message.
    • Lieutenant Farrell of Seaflower cutter, as well, for giving Kydd the credit for coming up with the plan that saved the landing operation instead of saying he was acting under orders.
  • Sentenced to Down Under:
    • Not Kydd himself - though he does captain a transport ship full of convicts to Australia during the Peace of Amiens in Command.
    • Renzi, however, joins Kydd's transport as a free-settler passenger, because he wants to impress Kydd's sister, Cecelia, by starting up his own estate. This doesn't work out very well for him, though, but luckily, Kydd's there to take him home.