Written by Julian Stockwin
Review by Ellen Keith

Commander Thomas Kydd, RN, is determined to once again sally forth to protect England from the threat of Napoleonic France. In this tenth volume of a thoroughly enjoyable series, our nautical hero witnesses the birth pangs of a new era in naval warfare. He is tasked by the high command to work with the eccentric American artist and inventor Robert Fulton on the development of Fulton’s submarine and torpedo—“infernal machines” to one comfortable on the quarterdeck of a sailing ship man-of-war.

The present novel deals with the very real threat posed by a French invasion of England. Robert Fulton had first demonstrated his revolutionary weapon to the French but was frustrated at their hesitant reaction. Kydd’s good friend, Nicholas Renzi, is instrumental in convincing the reluctant American to transfer his allegiance from Napoleon to George III while Kydd is engaged in the deadly work of coastal warfare in the treacherous waters of the English Channel and the Downs.

Stockwin continues to display his talents in transporting his audience from the 21st century to the chaotic worlds of Kydd, Renzi, and their imperiled homeland and its enemies. He captures Georgian society and the closed world of a Royal Navy warship particularly well and, as one expects, goes into action with swords drawn and cannons and carronades blasting. Britannia does indeed rule the waves.