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Readers unfamiliar with the previous eight books in the Kydd series (The Admiral's Daughter, etc.) may find themselves lost at sea with the plot and setting of Stockwin's underwhelming latest addition. After the death of Cmdr. Thomas Kydd's one true love, Rosalynd, in Daughter, Kydd's depression only worsens when his ship, the HMS Teazer, is assigned to the Channel Islands, a backwater in the sea war between England and Napoleonic France. His crew's loyalty flagging, Kydd is framed for smuggling, then cashiered from royal service. After a brief stint working as a stagehand for a roving theater troupe, he is recruited to captain a privateer, duty he previously considered beneath him, while his steadfast friend and clerk, Nicholas Renzi, falls into the service of the prince of Bouillon, who is part of a plot to kidnap Napoleon and restore the Bourbon throne. Full of indecipherable sailing jargon and one-dimensional characters, Stockwin's plodding installment sinks. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.