This book gives us Hornblower s first outing as a full Master Commander of his own vessel, as a commander assigned to a sloop of war in the channel blockade.The novel takes place after the peace between England and France has broken down and Napoleon is preparing for an invasion of England The book does a great job of showing not only the hopelessness of this prospect there was no way to get an army across the channel in the face of England s naval superiority but also the precariousness of the English position Whilst at sea they were the superior, one bad storm leaving a break in their blockage could have allowed the French army an opportunity to dash across the channel and make landful After this, as Hornblower puts it, the tricolour flag would fly over the tower of London.After the last novel, Lieutenant Hornblower, we re used to seeing the title character from the eyes of others in that case, Mr Bush We know he is intelligent, dashing, daring and all the rest, what we see in this book is how wildly insecure he is This becomes irritating at times, but it does help to flesh out a very real character of whom we wish to read , despite his all too human faults.Much is also made in this novel of the system of Prize money given to captains during the Napoleonic wars and the disdain Hornblower has for it I think this is perhaps overstated somewhat and starts to feel a bit preachy, particularly towards the end when Hornblower gives up a chance at hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of prize to do the right thing and engage a frigate with his severely underpowered and outmatched sloop The idea that he would do this is not at issue, it was the right thing to do for the war effort, however the book does have a tendency to paint those receiving prize money as opportunistic and corrupt officers, uncaring of the overall war effort and interested simply in lining their own pockets which in this case was most patently untrue given that the capture of the treasure fleet was a major objective of the war effort, if only to keep the money out of Napoleons hands.Overall, an entertaining book that paints a very human picture of a naval captain striving to do what he considers his duty and struggling with the fear that he is not up to the task that is required of him, whilst others watch the actions he considers simply necessary and see a remarkable and heroic man. She was close hauled, sir, under double reefed tops ls, on the starboard tack, sir He s past the wind s eye, sir His fore tops ls coming round Ava a ast Brace all back again Jump to it Quartermaster Hard a port I have no idea what all that means, but I love reading it anyway I read almost the entire Patrick O Brien series before starting Hornblower, which was written first I like both series, not as a steady diet, but maybe one a year Hornblower and the Hotspur Hotspur is the name of the ship was very well written, with a mixture of many action scenes, a few personal scenes, and an underlying frustration with the English navy bureaucracy Hornblower s struggle with his personal ethics and sense of duty is engaging I think the history 1805 war between England and Napoleon is reasonably accurate and it is certainly well presented. Hornblower S Reconnaissance Mission Quickly Turns To Warfare In This Installment Of The Beloved Series Of Naval Adventures By C S Forester, A Master Of The Genre New York Times April The Peace Of Amiens Is Breaking Down Napoleon Is Building Ships And Amassing An Army Just Across The Channel Horatio Hornblower Who, At Age Twenty Seven, Has Already Distinguished Himself As One Of The Most Daring And Resourceful Officers In The Royal Navy Commands The Three Masted Hotspur On A Dangerous Reconnaissance Mission That Evolves, As War Breaks Out, Into A Series Of Spectacular Confrontations All The While, The Introspective Young Commander Struggles To Understand His New Bride And Mother In Law, His Officers And Crew, And His Own Accursed Unhappy Temperament Matters That Trouble Him , Perhaps, Than Any Of Bonaparte S Cannonballs This book picks up right on the heels of the last Hornblower finds himself attached to a young woman, Maria In the last book he developed some sort of relationship with her while staying at her mother s boarding house In fact, the book starts at the alter with Hornblower getting married Fortunately, Hornblower is now Commander of the Hotspur It s a tiny ship a Sloop of War but it is his He s the Captain and therefore only one step from God when at sea And he s one step away from his new, confusing domestic life I found this book another excellent read In many ways I think this was an interesting book THe cold, manipulative Lieutenant of the last book was discarded in favor of a return to the do gooder young Midshipman Hornblower was unwilling to disappoint this young woman and finds himself marrying her He did the right thing Like that earnest young Midshipman, Hornblower does his duty And this carries on, over and over Hornblower helps a crewman escape rather than face hanging He also turns aside a chance at hundreds of thousands of prize money to chase a single French frigate even though he knows the odds of him beating the Frigate are astronomical It was the right thing to do.I wonder how Hornblower will continue to develop Is he cold and calculating, or a kind hearted softie I wonder if the difference is due to the author writing these books out of chronological order Four stars out of five The book is very good, and the fights at sea are top notch Lots of fun. This review is for the complete 11 book series of THE HORNBLOWER SAGA by C.S Forester, which I just finished reading last night Note Individual books have individual star ratings mostly 5 star, a few 4 star , but the descriptive review will be the same for each, and encompass the entire series, as follows Actually, I just finished reading the complete series for the second time, the first being as a teenager some 30 years ago.It s remarkable to me that I have only just this moment realized that my own timeline regarding the two readings corresponds almost exactly to the age progression experienced by the main character in the course of these 11 novels.It s a 30 year journey unlike any other I have ever taken in books full and deep and satisfying.This is the epic saga of fictional British naval hero HORATIO HORNBLOWER, who goes from a 17 year old midshipman to a 46 year old admiral during the golden age of sail which encompasses the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century.I ll list the 11 books in chronological order not the order they were written , which is the best way, I believe, to read them MR MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER LIEUTENANT HORNBLOWER HORNBLOWER AND THE HOTSPUR HORNBLOWER DURING THE CRISIS HORNBLOWER AND THE ATROPOS BEAT TO QUARTERS SHIP OF THE LINE FLYING COLOURS COMMODORE HOWNBLOWER LORD HORNBLOWER ADMIRAL HORNBLOWER IN THE WEST INDIESI ve read other sea faring novels, but to me, Forester earns the crown.Why Many reasons, but I ll list just three 1 All the rousing action you could ask for in a well paced adventure series2 coupled with a complex main character This is the true secret of the Hornblower books that Hornblower himself is not some one dimensional, infallible, faultless hero On the contrary, he is filled with self doubt and doesn t always choose the best course, especially in personal matters But by building the main character this way, Forester allows you to recognize, empathize, and eventually care deeply about him rooting for his success rather than merely expecting it It s this complex characterization that complements and actually allows for the heroics of the plot because it all comes at a price One price is so high that, as a teenager, I couldn t believe that Forester had actually done it I can t go into detail because this is a spoiler free review, but something happens that is so devastating that literally for entire books afterwards, I kept expecting Forester to make amends But it doesn t happen And finally, as an older adult knowing it will happen, knowing there will be no reprieve I realize Forester was saying, This is the price of war 3 The Language of Sailing Ships I m not nautically minded, and there is much use of nautical language in these books But rather than being annoyed, I had a very different reaction First, I learned a few things But much importantly, I also grew to appreciate the language itself, whether I understood its technical details or not To me, it became like poetry Or even music.And I loved it.All 11 books.It s an investment, to be sure.But, for those able bodied , a wonderfully entertaining journey awaits.Should you set sail Aye aye Lots of action, well grounded historically and Hornblower is an interesting character, but there s not a lot of depth as it lurches from engagement to engagement Fun. I read this book about 50 years ago, not long after it was first published It was then, and remains upon rereading, one of my favourite Hornblower novels, I think primarily because of how it emphasizes Hornblower s continuing inner conflict between what he believes is expected of a RN officer and what his sense of human decency and of justice demands Fortunately, his sense of decency and justice prevails Since Hornblower is an outsider with no Interest, this is particularly impressive climbers tend to sacrifice all human considerations on the altar of ambition I like my heroes to be noble, and it s even better when it s a book reading nerd making good.I had recently read Sam Willis The Fighting Temeraire One of the most interesting sections in that book deals with how the Royal Navy managed to maintain the blockade of the main French fleet in Brest That reminded me that Hornblower and the Hotspur deals primarily with Hornblower commanding a sloop close inshore at the blockade, so of course I had to read it again When I reread it, I was amazed by how effectively and accurately C.S.Forester had woven the story of the blockade into Hornblower s story.Altogether a great fighting sail story the finest part for me was a description of Hornblower sailing the sloop through a hurricane into shelter in Torbay. The Hornblower books get better with every installment Hornblower is a wonderful character, flawed, nuanced, introspective, and dynamic Forester s obvious knowledge of his subject brings a compelling and even instructive verisimilitude to the historical setting Hornblower s little domestic troubles add a nice rounding touch the otherwise stalwart naval scenes. I started listening to this stopped thinking I d missed a book, but this is definitely the third chronologically It starts out with Hornblower getting married, rather surprising considering where we left off in the last book Then Admiral Cornwallis makes reference to knowing Hornblower over some business with an Irishman Again, I hadn t realized they met before the game of whist at the end of the last book This is cleared up if you read the short story Hornblower and the Widow McCool aka, Temptation or Big Decision.I really enjoyed this once I recovered from the whiplash of the first part Since it was the last complete novel, but is only third in the chronology, I suppose that is understandable, although others have handled it better Lois McMaster Bujold in her Vorkosigan series to name one.The people are great Hornblower is a very weird guy, though I guess it was the era in which this story was written, but there is no mention of sex or sexual urges That s a huge hole in the otherwise very real world that Forester paints.The action isn t nonstop, but very well done there was never a moment when I wanted to put the book down Now I REALLY want to go on to the next, but I have another Parker novel, too I should stick to alternating them, but I think I have to go on to Hornblower During the Crisis Yes, they re that good Can t stop. I recommend these books highly As the story continues Hornblower marries quickly from pity for his bride than love though he goes to lengths not to let her see this and goes to sea in command of the Hotspur.I won t synopsize than that I ll only say the adventures here are worth the read This is another step in the life and career of one of the iconic characters of literature The book carries us through to see Hornblower promoted to Post Captain.Enjoy.
Cecil Scott Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of adventure and military crusades His most notable works were the 11 book Horatio Hornblower series, about naval warfare during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen 1935 filmed in 1951 by John Huston His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded
- 394 pages
- Hornblower and the Hotspur
- C.S. Forester
- 13 October 2019 C.S. Forester