Read Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester Online


The year is 1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Horatio Hornblower, a seventeen-year-old boy unschooled in seafaring and the ways of seamen, is ordered to board a French merchant ship and take command of crew and cargo for the glory of England. Though not an unqualified success, this first naval adventure teaches the young midshipman enough to launch him on a seriesThe year is 1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Horatio Hornblower, a seventeen-year-old boy unschooled in seafaring and the ways of seamen, is ordered to board a French merchant ship and take command of crew and cargo for the glory of England. Though not an unqualified success, this first naval adventure teaches the young midshipman enough to launch him on a series of increasingly glorious exploits. This novel-in which young Horatio gets his sea legs, proves his mettle, and shows the makings of the legend he will become-is the first of the eleven swashbuckling Hornblower tales that are today regarded as classic adventure stories of the sea....

Title : Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316289092
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 310 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower Reviews

  • Jason Koivu
    2019-02-28 21:14

    Mr. Midshipman Hornblower begins the seafaring career of a young British officer in one of the greatest historical naval fiction series ever penned! It's a heck of a fun rollick with seamen!Horatio Hornblower commences his career in the Royal Navy as an inexperienced midshipman in January 1794. Through a series of challenges and adventures both in and out of combat, Hornblower discovers he is actually talented in both seamanship and leadership. - WikipediaThis initial book in the series reads somewhat episodic, with whole creating a rounded introductory. The first chapter, "Hornblower and the Even Chance," is a fantastically tense and dynamic way to begin. A bit of a Mary Sue, Hornblower seems to do no wrong much of the time. He is given the slightest of character flaws and he occasionally fails, but his fairly consistent successes and need to chastise himself for his failings could get a bit tedious for some readers. On the other hand, isn't it nice when the good guy wins?The funny thing about Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is that it's a prequel. Forester went back and began his series after he'd already brought the narrative to completion. When he originally started writing these books, he began Hornblower's naval career in media res. After getting to the end, he went back and wrote a handful of prequels, sort of like what goddamned George Lucas did with Star Wars. However, in this case the creator's craft had improved. The writing in Mr. Midshipman Hornblower has a better flow to it, an effortless ease. The characters feel more like real people. I have to say, it's funny to get into the middle of the entire series and encounter the old books with their stiff characters and stilted writing. Regardless of any shortcomings, the series is still one of my favorites and this is a great send off to a wonderful voyage!A far too dashing image of Ioan Gruffudd, who played Hornblower in the tv series.

  • Werner
    2019-03-09 15:52

    Both my oldest daughter and her husband are fans of the Hornblower series, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the A & E movie productions that I've seen of the Hornblower corpus; so I was motivated to read the books, and decided to begin at the beginning of Hornblower's career, with this novel. (My only previous acquaintance with Forester was from reading one of his short stories.) I'm glad to say it didn't disappoint!Forester had a deft hand with maritime adventure (not all of it dealing with combat), characterization, and easily-readable Realist style. The movies based on parts of this novel don't always follow the book very closely; the Hornblower revealed here is a more complex character than the film version, younger (a teen at the beginning) and more callow, and definitely fallible. I could actually identify with him to a high degree --even though I'd never be able to do some of the things he did-- because he's portrayed as awkward and shy, and as pushing himself to the limit to do things that tax and scare him mainly because he fears other people's ridicule if he doesn't; and because he can make the same kind of absent-minded mistakes (like forgetting to cock his pistol when he's going into combat) that I could imagine myself making. One critic I've read felt that Forester is a less deep writer than his fellow maritime novelist, Melville, because he doesn't go in for symbolism and allegory. Nonetheless, his writing isn't shallow; he confronts his hero with several demands for moral decision-making. (And on these occasions, Hornblower comes through, earning the reader's respect and setting a good example.) The writing here is vivid; you get a really powerful picture of the hard and dangerous character of naval life in that day as you experience, along with the hero, the palms of his hands being flayed bloody by having to slide down a rough rope from a falling mast, or the winter cold and wet of the waves constantly breaking over him in an open boat.Although this book is usually considered a novel, the structure is episodic enough that it could have been billed as a collection of short stories; though the chapters are placed in chronological order, they're each perfectly self-contained and could stand as distinct units. Since this wasn't the first Hornblower book to be written, it doesn't furnish any detailed information about his life before he went to sea, or why he decided on such a career; I'm assuming this would have appeared in the first book, but the lack of it here made for a gap in the character development. Also, if Forester ever explained the basic nautical terms of a sail-driven ship and its rigging and operations, he doesn't do it here; technical terms are used abundantly and you glean (or sometimes, don't glean) an approximation of the meaning from the context, unless you've picked up a definition elsewhere. (A sailing ship entry in a good visual dictionary would be a useful accompaniment to this read!) But these are minor caveats; I'm looking forward to eventually reading the next two books (in terms of Hornblower's life chronology) of the series, at least.

  • Jim
    2019-03-19 17:07

    My library didn't have this when I started reading the series, so I wound up reading Lieutenant Hornblower, the second book chronologically, before this. There was quite a difference in the two books. Where 'Lieutenant' was pretty much one long story with a short bit tacked on to the end, 'Midshipman' jumps from one short adventure to another like a frog on a hot road, but I liked both. Reading them out of order wasn't a huge deal, although I would have preferred to read them in chronological order & will do so from now on. I have all 11 books.Hornblower is a really interesting hero. He's not physically perfect. He's tough as nails, but shy, skinny, prone to seasickness, & clumsiness. He's fairly smart & does his best thinking with real problems under life-threatening circumstances, but most of all, he has a very rigid code of honor & holds true to it. He never prevaricates, even to himself & this series of adventures shows off the entire young man.Hornblower is rather offhand about the many hardships a sailor faced in the British Navy of the early 1800's. I thought back to my Army days & tried to put it in perspective. Each man had 22" to hang his hammock. Imagine that for a moment. That's about shoulder width & that's the room they had, not only to sleep in, but to get in & out of the bloody thing! Suddenly my WWII barracks with rows of bunk beds seemed quite spacious.Why so little room? Forester mentions 300 men on a 'frigate' & space issues in several places. What's a frigate & how big is it? I looked around a little & guess it was about 135' long x 40' wide. (Tough to tell since the term seems to have covered a lot of different types & sizes.) Figure 2 decks & the math shows that each man had 36 square feet, a 6'x6' area without allowing for any superstructure, bracing, tapering, cannon, supplies, or anything else which may well have eaten up a lot of the room. Oh my! Tight quarters indeed, especially for voyages of months. They might have more room in a grave. Even with all the fresh sea air, I imagine the smell was enough to knock a vulture over. Barely mentioned are the 'latrines' which weren't really, as such. They were an area with ropes strung off the side of the ship. They swung out over the ocean with their trousers down & hung on while they did their business, no matter what the weather was like. Ugh!Food & water are mentioned a few times. Do NOT look it up. It's enough to gag a maggot. And there were rats. Yet Hornblower likes the sea life! It's beyond imagining. Shore life must have been dismal indeed. It makes the adventures & hardships that he willingly endures far more believable. I'm still quite entranced by the series & will continue to listen to it. It's very well read, a perfect medium.The full series in Published Order:1. The Happy Return (1937) aka Beat to Quarters2. The Ship of the Line (1938)3. Flying Colours (1938)4. The Commodore (1945) aka Commodore Hornblower5. Lord Hornblower (1946)6. Mr Midshipman Hornblower (1950)7. Lieutenant Hornblower (1952)8. Hornblower and the Atropos (1953)9. Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies (1957)10. Hornblower and the Hotspur (1962)11. Hornblower and the Crisis (1967) aka Hornblower During the Crisis (partial, unfinished novel)12. Hornblower Addendum (2011)Hornblower One More Time contains 3 short stories:- Hand of Destiny- Charitable Offering aka The Bad Samaritan- Hornblower and His MajestyHornblower Addendum - Five Stories (2011) is 5 adventures of Horatio Hornblower, two as Lieutenant, two as Captain, and one as Admiral of the Fleet.The Hornblower Companion is an atlas with brief descriptons & should be read along with the books.Hornblower Chronology: From Wikipedia & other sources.(SS = Short Story)1. Mr Midshipman Hornblower Jan 1794–Mar 17981.4 Hornblower and the Hand of Destiny (SS) 1798 (need to find)1.5 Hornblower and the Big Decision (Temptation or Widow McCool) (SS) 17992. Lieutenant Hornblower May 1800–Mar 18033. Hornblower and the Hotspur Apr 1803–Jul 18054. Hornblower and the Crisis aka Hornblower During the Crisis Aug 1805–Dec 1805 (partial, unfinished novel)5. Hornblower and the Atropos Dec 1805–Jan 18086. The Happy Return aka Beat to Quarters Jun 1808–Oct 18087. The Ship of the Line May 1810–Oct 18107.5 Hornblower's Charitable Offering aka The Bad Samaritan (SS) Jun 18108. Flying Colours Nov 1810–Jun 18118.5 Hornblower and His Majesty (SS) 18129. The Commodore aka Commodore Hornblower Apr 1812–Dec 181210. Lord Hornblower Oct 1813–Jun 181411. Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies May 1821–Oct 182311.5 The Last Encounter (SS) Nov 1848"The Point and the Edge" is a brief outline of a story.The Wikipedia entry for the series has a lot of good information, but careful of spoilers. There is a table listing all the books & stories with both the UK/USA published names & dates, plus the chronological dates, movies & other stuff.See Joy's review for movies:

  • Christopher
    2019-03-17 20:00

    Here we have a lad of seventeen, a greenhorn deckhand, who works his way up through the ranks with his determination, grit, and a dash of book learnin': poor, seasick Hornblower, who barely manages to escape with his life from the duel he himself orchestrated, knowing his own inability and lack of experience in combat! Here we have Mr. Midshipman Hornblower of the HMS Indefatigable, unaware of the dangers of a leaky ship with a cargo hold full of dry rice! Here we have the pertinacious, the temerarious, the au courant, the über-prescient Horatio f___ing Hornblower!, foiling mutinous plots, fighting baddies on sea and on land, farting in the general direction of the French, Spanish, et cetera, and basically drop kicking evil in the face!Sometimes I forget that reading can be so fun. I spend a lot of my reading time struggling through dense prose, trying to understand philosophical jargon or, in the case of my recent Ulysses failure, trying to understand anything at all. Which is good. It's valuable. But holy cow monkeys do I enjoy hearing about Horatio Hornblower's adventures on the high sea!

  • Catie
    2019-03-22 19:02

    So, this is actually a prequel, written many years after Horatio Hornblower first took the stage and even after he had become one of England’s most famous heroes. But I’ve decided to read these in chronological order and I’m quite glad that I did. In this book, Horatio is a very young midshipman (although not as young as the wealthy and titled lads who take up that position). He’s been given his first commission aboard the Justinian, where he immediately becomes known as the midshipman who got seasick while still anchored at port. He’s introverted, awkward, gangly, and a bit of a math nerd. However, what makes Horatio’s fumbles so incredibly enjoyable is the tangible affection that C.S. Forester so obviously feels for him. You can really feel Forester’s warmth and humor as Horatio contemplates suicide with all the drama of a seventeen year old, or disguises his skinny calves with a bit of wood and some plaster, or gets flustered by a questionable Duchess.And then there are the little glimpses of Hornblower, the leader: the man who should not be trifled with. These are even more enjoyable. Underneath all that skinny awkwardness lies a daring, brave, and rigidly honorable man. I’ve listened to a few author-narrated audiobooks recently, and while they weren’t terrible (and were also undoubtedly more authentic in terms of the author’s “vision”), this audiobook really reminded me of how much I love a skilled, professional narrator. The narrator for this audiobook is amazing with voices, accents, and inflections. I highly recommend this on audio.Perfect Musical PairingBob Dylan – When the Ship Comes InYes, I know that this is a metaphorical “ship coming in.” But still. I think that this song is a bit about revenge, but also a bit about the inevitability of social growth and change.I found myself very amused by Hornblower’s unquestioning participation in government sanctioned kidnapping (“press gangs”) or piracy (“privateering”), and the casual racism that he applies to both the French and Spanish sailors, even as he looks on the practice of using galley slaves with disgust. But near the end of the book, he seems to become more open-minded and level-headed. So there! Even in a metaphorical sense, this song applies.And in a literal sense, obviously. Yay for high-seas adventures!

  • Steven Walle
    2019-03-11 20:08

    I enjoyed this book. It is a book about a young inexperienced midshipman named Mr. Hornblower. He takes us on many fun and challenging sea ventures. I recommend this book to all readers. It is quite light and fun to read.Enjoy and Be Blessed.Diamond

  • Mr. Matt
    2019-03-11 15:00

    Having finished the first one, I have no idea why I'd put off reading these books for years. This book was great - historical fiction/Ships of the Line/Age of Sail done right! Mr. Midhsipman Hornblower introduces us to Hornblower. He boards his first ship as a raw, inexperienced and frightened midshipman at seventeen. And the book takes Honrblower and the reader on all sorts of adventures. He engages in a duel to earn his place on the ship. He is given charge (and loses) a prize ship. He visits (and almost gets stuck in) Morocco. He meets a Duchess. He is captured. Throughout it all, he keeps a level head and makes the best of his situation.What strikes me about these books as opposed to some of the recent Age of Sail (or Age of Sail in space) fiction that I've recently read is that Hornblower faces adversity. Hornblower is given tasks and he fails! When Hornblower loses the prize ship (and his first independent command) because swelling rice in the hold literally pops his ship open from the inside out I was hooked. In too many stories of this ilk, the main character faces only token cardboard opposition - an unruly crew that needs to be whipped into shape, or some such. In this book the curve balls lobbed at Hornblower are often either self-inflicted or out of his control. That's a nice change of pace.Four stars out of five. The book moves along at a good pace, with plenty of action. It's a short, but fun read. My only real knock on the book is that Hornblower can be a bit of a twit. He always does the right thing. I'd like to see a little more edge on him, but that's OK. (We see a glimpse of a darker side in the next book, which is good.)

  • Daniel
    2019-03-11 14:05

    Zabavna knjizica koja na dosta fin nacin prikazuje kolko je bio tezak i surov zivot mornara na velkim ratnim prodovima 1800tih godina. Brrrr, ne bih voleo to da probam.Glavn lik je isto interesantan posto pretstavlja izuzetno moralnog i casnog coveka stavljenog u situacije koje ce testirati ono sto mu je najvaznije.Lako i citko stivo sa dosta dubine tako da svaka preporuka.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-02-26 14:48

    The Hornblower books by C. S. Forester are among the iconic novels of the English language, and with good reason in my opinion. I almost gave this a 4 star rating (because of my "stingy" with the 5 star ratings rule. After all 5 is the best you can many can there be? But...)but decided I really do like these books to a 5 star level and they are very well written.This was not the first Hornblower book...not the first written that is, but it is the first in chronological order in Hornblower's life. This book starts out with an extremely unsure and YOUNG Midshipman Hornblower arriving at his first ship. It follows him through a series of adventures from the misery of serving under a senior Midshipman who will never be promoted (because he's failed the Lieutenant's test too many times). This man takes his wretchedness and bitterness out on all the younger (thus junior)Midshipmen. The book's story continues with Hornblower's life through his promotion to Lieutenant (while he's in a Spanish prison as a prisoner of war). The book ends with his release from prisoner of war status and a promise of more adventure.This (these) book (books) are well worth reading. Patrick O'Brian's works have become very well known of late, in my opinion as action and adventure stories Forester's works are far superior. Just me of course.

  • Scott
    2019-03-14 18:04

    "Hell!" said Hornblower, actually stamping his feet on the upper gangway in his anger. "Hell and damnation!"C. S. Forester's Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (1950) finds himself all too often frustrated in a "savage, merciless world," where he is "very much alone ... depressed, and unhappy." It's a world where very little goes as Hornblower plans: each adventurous episode nearly ends his career – and his life. The young midshipman tempers his exasperation by relying on his keen, mathematical intellect that's quick to appraise risks and make split-second decisions. But without friends, without family, and faced with cruel discipline, bullying, and the brutality of war, the inexperienced Hornblower grows callous, shoring up his many insecurities through violence, rigid obedience to authority, and a bravado that borders on suicidal. For many chapters, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is a fairly dark read. Written in the gloomy days just after WWII, when Britons watched the Empire being dismantled, Forester's tale mirrors the angst and anger of the period; at the same time, though, it looks back longingly on the Empire in its first "finest hour," when – like the heroic airmen who saved England during the Blitz – courageous British seamen stood alone against a Europe dominated by an aggressive dictator.I was equally charmed and repelled by Forester's vulnerable, volatile midshipman; but what remained constant were my curiosity to see what became of him and the pleasure I found reading about his adventures. Fortunately for us, Forester tells a good yarn from stem to stern. While the structure of each episodic chapter is formulaic and the focus rarely strays from Hornblower, Forester's clever imagination and extensive research create a believable illusion of life in the British navy during the Napoleonic wars. There's plenty of suspense and adventure; and the grim, understated humor that liberally seasons the yarns keep the reader's spirits up and the pages turning. I had no problem finishing the book, and at the conclusion, I was happy to see the more humane, more confident lieutenant Hornblower set to embark on an illustrious maritime career. I'm looking forward to setting sail with him again soon.

  • Brad
    2019-03-02 20:05

    I may have liked this more than it deserved because I read it around the birth of our third child (Katya is two days old as I write this), but whatever the reason, I really had a good time with Mr. Midshipman Hornblower.Better than Cornwell's Richard Sharpe books, but not as good as Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin books, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is really a novel of short stories. "Hornblower and the Examination for Lieutenant" and "Hornblower the Duchess, and the Devil" were my two favourite tales, but all of them were readable and kept my interest.I am looking forward to reading a Hornblower novel rather than a series of Hornblower stories. I think an extended tale in the Hornblower saga would be more compelling. The little details when action is at a minimum, the relationships on board ship, those are the things that really interest me. I felt that Hornblower's years as a Midshipman were covered too fast, and there were times when the jumps in his career -- from action to action -- left gaps I wish were filled. I am probably just spoiled by the stories of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, though. I'll get over it.

  • Michael
    2019-02-25 15:14

    Now that I have run out of Patrick O’Brian’s series and dabbled with several Alexander Kent’s Bolitho as a poor substitute, I took a chance to go back to the series from my youth that really turned me on to reading. I figured I would find Forrester’s starting version of the Brit navy in the Napoleanic Wars would be just be an adventurous potboiler appropriate to satisfy my twelve-year old mind. But I was surprised at the subtlety of tales, the lack of crass derring-do, and the self-effacing good humor as much as anguish with which he faced early mistakes from inexperience. After an apprenticeship with a captain and ship of has-beens and wimps, he gets a chance at important mentorship under a brilliant, dashing captain of the Indefatigable on blockade duty in the Bay of Biscay. He is so successful in taking merchant and French naval prizes, Hornblower gets his first chance of command of a ship, tasked with taking it to England with a small crew. I loved to see him overcome his sense of inadequacy and learn to juggle all the tasks of navigation, keeping authority over his seamen, and keeping watch on the prisoners. Disaster happens from his own mistakes, and he pulls off a miracle save. When the captain doesn’t punish him, he finds a way to punish himself. This book is composed of diverse kinds of episodes, none with the melodramatic battles I sort of expected from dim memories. The successes for him are not so much in vanquishing the major enemy ships, but in using his wits and budding leadership to save the day in terms of surviving a storm in a small boat, saving Spanish naval victims of a shipwreck on a reef, and climbing a mast in the dark to release the sail of an enemy ship assaulted by stealth in “cutting out” operation. I seem to remember Forrester painting the French and Spanish as simply despicable and treacherous, but I didn’t see much of that here in the times when he was a prisoner of their navy. The painting of the evils of slavery in the Spanish colonies and captured slave ships was a different story. The growth in Hornblower’s character was satisfying to experience, though in retrospect I can see how each episode was used just for that purpose, imbued with moral lessons as much as a steps on the path to the wise and courageous commander he will become. I didn’t realize this tour of his midshipmen phase was written as a prequel to a set of five that took him from lieutenant to squadron commodore. I read and loved all ten. In contrast, O’Brian puts in a lot more gritty realism in his tales, engages you more in the microcosm of the society aboard ship, and makes the friendship between his officer hero Jack Aubrey and doctor/spy/naturalist Stephen Maturin the core of his stories. But second best is pretty good. If you try the Hornblower series, see if your library has The Hornblower Companion, which provides maps for every episode and outlines the big picture on the wars and interludes between them in the period from 1794 to 1823.

  • Siria
    2019-02-26 16:14

    This wasn't the first of the Hornblower novels to be written, but chronologically it comes first in the series of novels covering his life. For someone who is just coming to the series, this mightn't be the best place to start.Although you are introduced to Hornblower as a nervous young seventeen-year-old midshipman, the fact that the book is actually comprised of a dozen or so loosely connected short stories means that the flow is rather choppy. If you are coming to the series after seeing the A&E movies, as I am, it's interesting to see the stories which inspired the miniseries, but somewhat disconcerting to see the differences in characterisation. I really can see why the producers of the miniseries decided that it was necessary to add a foil for Horatio in the form of Archie Kennedy; in the books, he is so incredibly cold and neurotically repressed that it is hard to warm to him. The fact that each story in this volume only took up only twenty or so pages also meant that it suffered, in my mind, in comparison with the television movies - Kitty Cobham, for example, does not come to life in the book in the way that she does on-screen.The historical detail, however, is spot on, as are all the nautical details; and you can always rely on Forrester to deliver a rollicking good adventure story. I think as a stylist and a writer, though, Patrick O' Brian will always pip him as the best writer of historical naval fiction.

  • Chris
    2019-03-22 18:07

    In Horatio Hornblower, C.S. Forester created one of the most flawed heroes in military fiction. And not flawed in the "rogue" sort of way, like Richard Sharpe, but in a deeply human way. He does not strike you as a capable military officer; but he is undoubtedly brilliant, and an excellent commander. He is tone-deaf, awkward, shy, self-critical, self-doubting, and even prone to seasickness (something strange for a career naval officer). I think this, above anything else, is what makes him so appealing. When viewed from a 3rd part narrator, as he is in some of the novels through Leftenant Bush, he seems cold and aloof, but when you are inside his brain, it is a shocking counterpoint.In this particular book, the first chronologically (though not the first written), Hornblower begins his naval career as a Midshipman. This book is essentially a series of short stories, recounting his progress in ability and experience, up to his promotion to full Leftenant. It gives an interesting view into the world of early 19th century naval warfare (or at least naval life, there isn't a ton of actual warfare), and sets the character up well.This is one of those rare times when the prequel/origin story is actually something I recommend people start with. It lets you get a handle on him earlier, and makes him more sympathetic and understandable in later books.

  • Bfisher
    2019-03-16 20:51

    This book was my introduction to the Hornblower story. Beyond a great action story, a useful primer on how the Royal Navy mad Britain the dominant sea power of the era.

  • Laura
    2019-03-05 18:48

    Free download available at Faded Page.This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. IF THE BOOK IS UNDER COPYRIGHT IN YOUR COUNTRY, DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR REDISTRIBUTE THIS FILE.

  • Ava
    2019-03-12 13:53

    I recommend this to EVERYONE IN THE WORLD. It was completely... Oh, what's the word... AWESOME!!! If you want a good book to read, do not hesitate to buy Mr. Midshipmen Hornblower. 100% great.

  • Matt
    2019-02-26 15:58

    I read book #10 of this series and it was so good I am circling back and reading the adventures of Horatio Hornblower from the beginning. As a navy man these are almost required reading.

  • Soraia
    2019-03-02 15:50

    Ainda a investigar a estranha mas fantástica razão pela qual existe um género literário(embora ainda sem nome) de comédia náutica durante as Guerras Napoleónicas. De qualquer modo, a coleção Hornblower é-lhe indispensável. É densa e talvez não pareça assim tão divertida a quem a começa, mas é necessária uma abordagem gozona para realçar o seu génio.Aqui há uma personagem muito interessante e, apesar de reconhecível e relatable, rara: o protagonista Horátio Hornblower, aqui com 17/18 anos, é o clássico exemplo de inteligente mas demasiado inteligente para o seu bem.Nunca parece ter muita sorte e vai com o pé à argola várias vezes(eis um exemplo que acho importante em persuadir qualquer um a ler o livro: a dada altura é-lhe atribuído um pequenino comando que transporta arroz. Há fugas no casco, no entanto, e a água faz o arroz inchar tanto que o navio se começa a partir. Há arroz por todo o lado e vão inevitávelmente ao fundo, o que deixa Hornblower em lágrimas num pequeno bote com a sua tripulação de lobos do mar mais velhos e experientes. Awkward).Mas o que torna tudo interessante é esta personagem reunir toda a sua inteligência para se safar, sendo a conclusão de todas estas trapalhadas(e há muitas) o capitão dizer algo como "Hornblower, you screwed up and blew everything to hell. But it was awesome". E de facto, várias vezes damos por nós extremamente atentos à espera de ver o que Hornblower vai fazer a seguir para se safar desta. Ao contrário do Sherlock Holmes, conseguimos ver as engrenagens da sua mente rodarem furiosamente e fazerem clique, o que não só quer dizer que o escritor não saltou a parte difícil de escrever mas também é sempre mais interessante ver um motor enquanto trabalha do que tê-lo oculto. E enquanto estamos nós a pensar "Isto é estúpido mas é de génio", o próprio personagem pensa "Isto é de génio mas é estúpido". Defronta-se com uma enorme frustração para consigo próprio por ser ingénuo e para com as outras pessoas por gozarem-no por ser ingénuo. Awkwardness all around!Portanto é uma personagem por que vale a pena ler para quem não se interessa pela vida ao bater das ondas e de todos os termos náuticos(fáceis de saltar). Para quem se interessa, aprende-se imenso sobre a vida a bordo de um veleiro neste século - ao mesmo tempo que Hornblower - e ao fechar o livro parecemos ainda ouvir o mar. As personagens de diferentes nacionalidades também se debatem com comunicar entre si, o que é cativante para a malta de Línguas. Mais para o fim(terceiro terço do livro) as coisas tornam-se confusas e densas, pelo que li muitas páginas na diagonal, mas não é nenhuma coisa que nunca tenha feito a muita outra literatura boa e de que gostei.Pronta para começar o próximo pois nesse Hornblower depara-se com algo inesperado: uma rapariga. Já sabemos que ele é o tipo de pessoa que cora e gagueja e tropeça quando na companhia de pessoas, especialmente feminina(a qual é mínima em livros náuticos, o que não é censurável pois não haviam mulheres na Marinha, mas sempre é a sua presença inesquecível e forte e bem escrita), portanto será uma leitura ainda mais divertida, espero.

  • Earl Grey Tea
    2019-03-02 18:03

    To be honest, I was fascinating by 18th century European navies when I was a high school student. I found the idea of man-of-wars and frigates hitting each other with cannon fire at close range while marines storm the deck of the opposing ship absolutely thrilling. My father, upon learning of my peculiar interest, bought this book for me to read. I read the it, appreciated it, but found myself having a difficult time getting the through all of the archaic, obsolete and specific naval terminology, along with a writing style that akin the Victorian style.Now 15 some odd years later, I found this series in the eBook format, so I decided to give them another try. This time around I am older, a bit wiser, and have much more reading experience under my belt. I was able to enjoy the stories and even remember some of the scenes from the first time I read the book as a teenager. The language and writing style didn't hinder me as much as before, but it still wasn't smooth sailing (sorry for the nautical pun in this review). This isn't a book that an average modern American reader can just sit back and enjoy on a lazy afternoon. Instead, one must dedicate a fair amount of brain processing power to navigate (sorry!) the text written in the early 19th century British style in a world that revolved around naval battles. One drowsy evening after a long day at work, the large amount of words to describe naval vessels became confusing and I lost track which English boat the Spanish galley sunk. The next morning after a refreshing night's sleep, I was able to quickly sort out which boat was which and finished the story fully understanding what had happened in the naval engagement.I really did enjoy reading all of the different adventures of Mr. Hornblower. Even though each story was in chronological order, it didn't follow a uniformed pattern. Chapters could be separated by a couple of months or a plethora. Even within one of the stories, over two years passed from beginning to ending. One story in particular aroused a juvenile excitement in me while I read about the military discipline and martial exploits of British regulars in the skirmishes against French soldiers. In addition to this, it was nice to read about a protagonist that was a cut above everybody else but still made mistakes. This wasn't a story about a uebermensch that does everything perfectly.

  • Joy H.
    2019-02-26 20:01

    Added 5/16/15.I read to page 68 in this book in April 2015. Not sure if I will continue or not.I also listened to ten minutes of Audio #1 (Old Time Radio) online at:"Adventures of Horatio Hornblower"There are more Hornblower audios of Old Time Radio online at: Jim of KY's GR review at: contains invaluable information.Also see: The Hornblower Companion which contains maps and related information.MOVIES:There are several Hornblower movies. See the links below: (with Gregory Peck - 1951) (Netflix DVDs - 2003 - "Horatio Hornblower: The New Adventures" - with Ion Gruffudd )THE FOLLOWING ARE TV MOVIES WITH Ion Gruffudd: ( Horatio Hornblower: The Duel (1998) aka "Hornblower: The Even Chance" (original title) ) ( Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ship (1998) aka "Hornblower: The Examination for Lieutenant" (original title) ) ( Horatio Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil (1999) aka "Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil" (original title) ) ( Horatio Hornblower: The Wrong War (1999) aka "Hornblower: The Frogs and the Lobsters" (original title) ) ( Horatio Hornblower 3 (2003) aka "Hornblower: Loyalty" (original title) ( Hornblower: Duty (2003) )

  • David Eppenstein
    2019-03-21 19:09

    I am a fan of the Age of Fighting Sail genre. I have read all of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series Woodman's Drinkwater series as well as the books of several other authors in this genre but I've never read any of Forester's Hornblower books until now. I have had all eleven books in this series sitting on a shelf and I've been saving them like the middle of an Oreo until now. After reading this first book in the series I have to say I am disappointed when the work stands in comparison to the books I have read. I know this might be considered heresy but it is the truth of how I feel. This book, and all the others too, has probably been reviewed and detailed well beyond my feeble abilities but I shall throw in my opinion anyway. First, the book is not a single narrative but a collection of episodic events in the early career of young Midshipman Hornblower. This feature is not fatal to the quality of the work but it fails to really take advantage of this technique to develop Hornblower's growth as a character through these events. I was also surprised by the lack of detail common in other works of these period but lacking here. Many events and descriptions of naval life and activity of this era are glossed over or skipped entirely. I think had I not already had a good grounding in this genre I probably would not have noticed the superficial treatment rendered by Forester to his subject. While the book was well written and entertaining I think Forester has been surpassed by later authors. Nevertheless, I will read the remaining ten books in hopes that things improve.

  • Laura
    2019-03-04 20:49

    I thought this book was brilliant. Horatio was a nervous, shy, young hero, who accomplished things simply because he sees no other way. Forester described the ways of ship life, and the historical context of the novel very well. I saw the movie first, but I think Forester kept a more consistent characterization of Horatio. Horatio was a realistic 17 year old: he was insecure, and had a difficult time adjusting to the role of a leader. However, he was courageous when he needed to be. The plot was broken up into several conflicts, each with their own resolution (it was pretty much by chapter). It did work for the story, as the overarching story was his adaption to the strange life of the British navy and his promotion to Lieutenant. I can't wait to read the next one!

  • Stephen
    2019-03-16 17:56

    I've loved these books since the first time I read them and return to them again and again. There's just something so appealing about an unlikely hero who's gawky, tone deaf and has almost no self confidence, yet has a morale code that's so strict that it will not allow him to let others down if it's even humanly possible. I also like the 6 knots an hour pace that they evoke and the mood that they bring up in me. This book is different from all of the other hornblower novels in that Forester tried an episodic approach to the chapters so that each could sort of stand alone as a short story. Yet, they do all tie in and it's still the same great storytelling as in the other books in the series.

  • Dree
    2019-02-21 21:04

    First, I did enjoy this--much more than I thought I would, certainly. It also piqued my interest in the Napoleonic Wars, which I know very little about. I was constantly using Wikipedia to look up places named in the book to better understand the situations.But--3 stars. I'm not going to run around telling all my friends to read it.It's kind of fun, kind of swashbuckling, kind of a really easy read, kind of ridiculous, and kind of a series of short stories rather than a novel. It strikes me as an excellent read for a 14-year-old boy who likes adventure novels.

  • Abigail Hartman
    2019-03-15 16:01

    It took me a number of attempts to "get into" this novel, primarily because, having grown up on the Ioan Gruffudd-Hornblower, it was a shock to find how different the original hero was. I still prefer the films, perhaps only for nostalgia's sake; certainly the book is more like a collection of short stories than one contiguous whole, as the movies are. Still, I enjoyed following Hornblower around the navy and into his adventures.

  • Blake Charlton
    2019-03-07 17:08

    at 17 years old i didn't get to run away to sea to fight napoleon's tyranny, but this book was a close second. a wonderful, well-written, ripping sea yarn of classic YA adventure. highly recommended, especially for those who loved the o'brian's aubrey–maturin series.

  • B.M.B. Johnson
    2019-03-10 18:05

    A fairly blandly told sea adventure of 17-year-old Horatio Hornblower. It's an interesting story, if impersonal. I especially enjoyed the extremely detailed account of the Whist game, giving a card-by-card account, which I believe was satirized in Red Dwarf in Rimmer's Risk War Diary.

  • Trace Andley
    2019-03-01 19:52

    love it.

  • Lisa Feld
    2019-02-21 21:05

    I've been a fan of the Hornblower TV movies for many years, so I figured it was time to finally read the originals. Forester has an amazing ability to lay bare the secret heart of a teenage boy--bright, lonely, deeply self-critical--so that the reader aches for Horatio at every turn. At the same time, at least in this first book, he also has a complete inability to write action scenes: everything devolves into a chaos of technical terms and abrupt transitions. I will probably read more, both to see whether he improves and out of curiosity for how the adaptations differ from the books (for one thing, this first book offers a skeleton for much of the first four movies, so I'm interested to see if later incidents got folded into those movies or if the books have nifty plot twists that were left out entirely), but I'm not completely sold on these books yet.