It’s now 1803 and Thomas Kydd, who started his career as a pressed man, now commands a brig-sloop, HMS Teazer. This is an unrated vessel too small to have a place in the line of battle. For Kydd, it, even so, represents a giant step forward.
His duty in this book is to patrol the southern coast of England and watch for incursions by French ships and privateers.
He is also tasked with assisting in the government’s never-ending campaign to suppress smuggling. Kydd is about to discover that the most dangerous waters can be closest to home. Privateers, smugglers, perilous storms, and a treacherous coastline all threaten to overcome HMS Teazer. We follow his pursuit of and repeated encounters with a privateer and its extremely skilled captain and his initially fumbling attempts to catch the Cornish smugglers in the act. Smugglers, perilous storms, and a treacherous coastline all threaten to overcome HMS Teazer as her men fight to gain control of the seas around Cornwall and Devon.
However, The Admiral’s Daughter is not only a book about Thomas Kydd’s sea adventures – it is, even more, a book about Kydd’s first steps into “higher society”. As a commander, he starts to get invitations to social events – parties, balls – and now he must learn the social graces required of a man of his new standing. Having been promoted from the ranks for his abilities and bravery, Thomas Kydd is not, as many of his fellow officers in the Royal Navy, a noble or a man of higher learning.
Also, Kydd falls in love in this book, not once but twice, with two different women. And, as he will find out, at the wrong time and in the wrong order. High society can be just as treacherous as the high seas, it seems to Kydd.
The Admiral’s Daughter is a little too much concerned with matters ashore and has too little naval action for my taste. It is, of course, well written and nicely plotted, but it is not among the best books in the Thomas Kydd series. I recommend it primarily to followers of the series.