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Horatio Hornblower 1 – 11. by C.S. Forester Review

Title: Horatio Hornblower 1 – 11. Author: C.S. Forester

First published January 1, 1981

3420 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9783810506504 (ISBN10: 3810506508)

Rating: 4.45


Embark on a thrilling journey with Horatio Hornblower as he rises through the ranks of the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. From his humble beginnings as a midshipman, to his daring exploits as a captain, Hornblower faces countless challenges on both land and sea.

He must navigate treacherous waters, outsmart his enemies, and lead his crew through battles that will test their courage and loyalty. With vivid descriptions and gripping action, C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and adventure.

About the Author

The author known as Cecil Scott Forester was actually Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, a British writer who gained popularity for his exciting stories of adventure and military battles. His most famous works include the 11-part series about Horatio Hornblower, which tells tales of naval warfare during the Napoleonic era.

Another notable book is The African Queen, which was made into a film by John Huston in 1951. A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours, two of his novels, were both honored with the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction in 1938.

Editoral Review

In Horatio Hornblower 1 – 11, author C.S. Forester takes readers on a thrilling journey through the life of a fictional naval hero during the Napoleonic Wars. First published in 1937, the epic 11-book series has been reissued and enjoyed by new generations of readers since 1981.

Forester’s style is classic naval adventure, bringing to life the sights, sounds, and smells of life at sea. His meticulous research and attention to detail provide a vivid, realistic backdrop for his characters to navigate the treacherous waters of war, politics, and personal relationships.

The series follows the exploits of Horatio Hornblower, a young naval officer whose ambition, intelligence, and bravery propel him up the ranks of the Royal Navy. Against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Hornblower confronts challenges ranging from squadron command to personal duels, all while struggling with the demands of duty, loyalty, and honor.

Forester’s exploration of Hornblower’s character is a highlight of the series, as he evolves from a young officer unsure of his abilities to a seasoned commander grappling with moral and ethical dilemmas. His supporting characters are also well-drawn, from his loyal friend and confidante Bush to his enigmatic nemesis, French captain Le Havre.

The historical and cultural significance of the series is undeniable, as Foresters meticulous attention to detail provides a nuanced and informative portrait of life at sea during the Napoleonic era. The themes of duty, honor, sacrifice, and the nature of leadership are explored through characters grappling with the realities of war and the complexities of interpersonal relationships.

While Forester’s writing can be dense and challenging at times, it is ultimately rewarding for readers willing to invest the time and effort. His pacing can be slow, and some action scenes feel repetitive or formulaic.

However, these flaws are minor when compared to the series overall achievement. Horatio Hornblower 1 – 11 is a classic of the naval adventure genre, comparable to the works of Patrick O’Brian or Alexander Kent.

Readers interested in nautical history, military strategy, or tales of heroic courage in the face of overwhelming odds will find much to enjoy in this series. It’s easy to see why generations have continued to discover and appreciate C.S. Forester’s epic storytelling, which continues to be relevant and entertaining today.

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.