The Seven Years War rages and the British frigate Renown returns to sea and the many lives she’s ferried turn upside down in this second book of the award-winning series.
Abraham, an English shipwright, and his wife Yvette confront childlessness and poverty in mid-1700s London until help comes from his old friend, Captain Shirley. Unspeakable acts change Shirley’s life and transform Abraham, at a dear cost.
Off the coast of France, Captain Mackenzie sails the frigate Renown into action, but the politics of Lord Fortrose force him into an unbearable assignment. The Siege of Havana tests his skills, but will it vindicate him?
In this compelling story, historical and fictional characters’ morality and villainy collide with the final unexpected revelations rocking their destinies.
David worked in publication printing and for numerous book publishers in the Chicago area. His debut book, The Ship's Carpenter, earned two Page Turner Awards, the only finalist in both their international ebook and writing categories in 2019. His second book, Captains of the Renown, was published in April 2021, and the third in his Tween Sea & Shore Series will follow in 2023. Be sure to visit his website at https://www.stockmanbooks.com for the latest on his writing and to add your email address for future news, give-aways, and downloads.
*I received a free DRC of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
This naval historical fiction is a sequel to The Ship’s Carpenter and follows the same characters, so it is definitely worth reading that story first.
The book tracks the lives of member of French, English and Scottish families, as their lives cross back and forth, impacting each other in obvious ways and unforeseen ones. Readers of the first novel catch up with Abraham, the ship’s carpenter, and his wife Yvette, along with Mackenzie and Maitland, Washington Shirley/Earl of Ferrers and Anne, and Louis de Saint Alouarn and family.
We follow these individuals, on either side of the Channel, and see the Seven Year war from both sides of the conflicts – the glories and the hardships. D.E. Stockman unflinchingly portrays the struggles of the poverty-stricken working classes and the inherited misfortunes of the gentry, showing that all face their challenges.
In addition to the social exploration, there is plenty of warfare and adventure at sea, aboard The Renown/La Renommée (and other ships), but the main heart of the story is always with the personal struggles of the people whose paths she crossed.
I found myself saddened by Abraham and Yvette’s tale in places here, but their flaws and missteps made me appreciate them both being shown more realistically, as opposed to the somewhat saintly depiction of Abraham in the first book.
This is well-written and researched historical naval fiction, suitable for any age or gender, but perhaps especially those interested in the wartime challenges faced by seafaring families.
Followed the further history of the Renown, the ship captured from the French and put into service in the English navy of the 1700s, with modifications to her by the ship's carpenter who originally built her in France. There are three subplots: one, concerning the English characters from the first novel in the series; two, concerning the French characters from the first novel; and three, Abraham Robinson, ship's carpenter, and his French wife, Yvette, now living in England. Much of the novel is taken up with the Seven Years' War, the Renown's captains, naval battles, and stormy weather. We follow the careers of the captains and the lives of Abraham and Yvette, trying to escape poverty and childlessness. A stroke of fate gives them a daughter. Abraham commits a major indiscretion [arising from miscommunication and misunderstanding] which are so serious they lead him to being fired from an excellent job he has, from the first English captain of the Renown, Washington Shirley, now an Earl. Abraham has been modifying Shirley's palatial dwelling, from an earlier style to the popular Palladian style. Jobless, Abraham, along with his family, hope to return to France, once the war has ended. Fascinating to trace out the history of this ship and those whose lives she touched. I thank the author for sending me a copy of his book.
This book was written a little different than the first novel, but it was an interesting storyline! Captains of the Renown follows the The Renown (a.k.a. La Renommée) ship through her various sea bearing journeys and the changes that were made to modify her after having been captured by the English. Once known as the fastest on the seas, she is expected to hold up to that title but modifications had been made. The Renown is still fast and reliable and so it was interesting to read about the various captains, as well as Abraham the carpenter from the first novel and his take on seeing this masterpiece once again. I really enjoyed that the author did carry on Abraham and Yvette’s storyline as I loved them in the first novel and it was fun to read about the other characters who were part of The Renown’s history as well. The author does a great job of writing out the sea battles and keeping the various three storylines straight, so you can follow. I liked the concept of writing it from the history of the ship- as often objects hold many secrets! Thank you to the author for the free book in exchange for my honest review. I learned about the Seven Year’s War and really what those ships were pushed to during those times, and I was quite surprised how easily they modified the ship at that time.
Thank you to D.E. Stockman for providing me with a copy of his book in exchanged for an honest review. Captains of the Renown is the second in a series of books which center on a sailing ship, The Renown. Originally built in France for the French Navy, she was captured by the English and renamed. The narrative follows the ship and the men who built her and sail her. Much of the action takes place during what is called The Seven Year's War, a global conflict that in America was the last of the French and Indian Wars. I enjoyed following the ship from the Caribbean to Canada and back to England. I am familiar with the war as it played out in the American Colonies but did not know much about many sea battles that occurred or the fighting over islands in the Caribbean. The author has clearly done an enormous amount of research. I like the continuing story of the Saint-Alouarn family but admit that I thought the Abraham and Yvette tale a bit disappointing. A well-written tale of adventure on the high seas, I am happy to recommend it to readers who enjoy well researched historical fiction.
Author D.E. Stockman's "Captains of the Renown", Book II of the 'Tween Sea & Shore' series, is the continuing saga of the French-built frigate, The Renown (a.k.a. La Renommée), the one-time fastest sailing war ship during the 18th century British and French conflicts, and the men who commanded her, most of whom rose to naval prominence after their experience on the Renown. The venerable war ship changed hands as a result of naval battle victories, thus its innovative design influenced war ship construction throughout Europe henceforth. Stockman deftly interleaves the lives of historic notables with fictional characters to create a tangible sense of reality of the unstable period's alternating stretches of war and peace. Of particular value is the author's informative website ( http://stockmanbooks.com ), which provides supplementary material on period war ships, such as brief histories, a glossary, technical specifications, maps, ship diagrams, and etc., that not only is helpful to the readers of this series, but is a great reference resource for all readers of 18th century naval warfare.
Historically accurate, but appropriate for any reader regardless of age. Descriptive, but not overdone to the point of drudging through needless adjectives. Immersive in the struggles of the time, but always relatable in today's modern age. Stockman's book rides the line between genres, themes, and plot points. Never committing to what you expect, while not blatantly subverting expectations either. This is not a book for someone who needs clearly defined good guys and bad guys, rights and wrongs, successes and failures. This is a book for those who appreciate humanity and history for all that it is, in all its flawed perfection.
I have to admit, I liked this better than book one, and found it easier to follow now that I was more familiar with some of the terms and characters. A good chunk of the book does follow the military (naval) storyline, but Abraham and Yvette's story was the one I was most interested in. It was interesting to follow everyone whose lives this single ship has touched, and watch the ship and them change through the years. If you're interested in historical fiction, I recommend starting with book one and then picking up the story with this engaging read.