The Baltic Prize

Written by Julian Stockwin
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

The Baltic Prize takes us to Scandinavia at the beginning of the 19th century.   The Anglo-Russian War, September 1807–1812, took place after Russia signed the Treaty of Tilsit. Tsar Alexander I formally declared war on Britain after the British attack on Copenhagen in September 1807, but hostilities were limited to minor naval actions in the Baltic and Barents Seas.  In 1808 Admiral Saumarez was given command of the Baltic fleet with his flag in HMS Victory.  His mission was to protect the British trade, which was of vital importance for Royal Navy supplies and to blockade enemy ports including those under French control in northern Germany.

This is the background for this very powerful story centred around Captain Thomas Kydd commanding his frigate, Tyger.   The various actions are well-described with plenty of suspense. The author makes use of many colloquial expressions of the day, and at the back there is an excellent glossary—which could come in useful for Scrabble players!

My knowledge of the conflicts with Napoleon mostly relates to Trafalgar and Waterloo, so until I read this book I had no knowledge of the events described in this book.  It has prompted me to look them up.  Stockwin has captured them very well, making the book fascinating and easy to read.   I would recommend it to anyone, but particularly to those interested in our naval history.