I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (historical fiction) - I loved the movie Master and Commander and I love sailing on a nearby lake, so I thought I might like this book. It is Book 1 and introduces the main character of the series, 16-year-old Horatio Hornblower, who boards a British ship for the first time. As he begins to learn what it takes to be a seaman, he and his fellow crewmen face all kinds of challenges -- sinking ships, encounters with various enemies at sea, a battle with the French on land, saving a ship wrecked on a reef, etc. It's well-written and never boring. There are lots of nautical terms which some listeners might enjoy, but it may make it difficult for others to envision what's actually happening. Terms like fore, aft, leeward, poop (deck) and many others are common throughout the story.
The series apparently will chronicle Hornblower's promising career as an English naval officer. This book ends at a satisfactory stopping point but is definitely not an end to the adventure.
PERFORMANCE - Narrator does very convincing English, Spanish and French accents as well as some great salty old sailors. Perfect choice.
OVERALL- If you're interested in this period of history and life on the high seas, you will probably love this series. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. IMHO, this is a "guy book," although I see other women reviewers have thoroughly enjoyed it.
Say something about yourself!
It's been 30 yrs since I read these and Hornblower is as captivating as ever - simply great adventure stories. Rodska does an admirable job reading this and does a good job with the various characters. Looking forward to the next books in the series
I read like a madwoman all my life but now I have bad eyes. Thank goodness for audio books
Something is wrong with this recording it does not have an ending. I wish I had a better copy
This one needs a better recording
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
The only real story arc for this book is the discovery of self and courage by a young man just coming of age. This is portrayed over a series of vignettes that could easily be standalone short stories. Forester is a master at writing action scenes. He portrays characters with words as if they were short, powerful brush strokes.
Forester did not write the Hornblower books in actual chronological order. I suspect that, at some point, he wanted to go back and give his readers a sense of the younger Hornblower and how he came to be the man he is in the later books. Therefore, this is more a filling in of blanks than an independent novel.
The narration is wonderful: the different voices, accents, and full range of emotions are consistently excellent.
From my perspective, the primary reason to listen to this book is if you are investing your time (and credits) in this whole series. I'm definitely moving on to book 2 in the series.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
This is classic adventure on the high seas, and C.S. Forester’s crisp, spray-tossed depiction of the Napoleonic-era British navy seems hard to beat as a standard-setter. Our hero here is the gawky, 17-year-old midshipman Horatio Hornblower, whose intelligence, persistence, and daring, if not social confidence, mark him for future greatness (of course, there are many more novels in the series). Being young, he makes mistakes, but he learns valor, honor, compassion, and a few lessons about human nature. Through his eyes, we see how 19th century military life works (or doesn’t) in the empire that ruled the waves; the varied assignments, routines, and hardships of the British navy; and a little about the rest of the world at that time.
This particular book, my introduction to the series, isn’t really a novel, but is divided into a series of separate episodes. In each mini-adventure, Mr. Hornblower encounters some aspect of naval duty, ranging from capturing enemy vessels, to going ashore and supporting land forces, to warding off the deadly attacks of fire ships. He faces some challenge, rises to to the occasion, and manages to save the day, if not always perfectly. The opening chapter, in which he contrives a daring, ingenious solution to a shipboard bully, is riveting. By the midpoint of the book, though, the formula becomes a little repetitive, and few of the other characters persist beyond an episode or undergo much development. Perhaps there’s more complexity to other books in the series.
Still, there’s enough variety to the scenarios themselves, and I enjoyed myself. The history feels well-researched and authentic, albeit in a PG-rated way, and the writing is brisk, full of sensory details, and a little humorous. Christian Rodska’s dramatic audiobook narration more than does it justice. I would also add that, as a science fiction fan, I can see the influence Forester had on that genre. A bold captain? A complex ship and a multi-talented crew? A few salty characters? An enemy empire to keep an eye on? Hello, Star Trek.
I do not sail. I get seasick looking at pictures of boats on the ocean. And I LOVE the Hornblower series. This is a story of daring, ambition, intelligence, discipline, risk.taking and luck! A co-worker reminded me that Horatio Hornblower was the inspiration for Captain Kirk of Star Trek, and it is an apt comparison!
If you have never read any of the series, this is the perfect book to start with.
The unfamilar nautical terms make sense in the context they are used. Your time and place in history come alive through the narrative. The reader is excellent. Before you know it, the book is over, and you are purchasing and downloading the next one....luckily there are many in the series, so you have many happy hours before you must say goodbye to Horatio Hornblower.
Aircraft Pilot and Mechanic with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Africa.
near the top
Returning to a Spanish prison to keep his word
I don't think so. He did a good french ascent.
I want to listen to the next book!
This book is a good story. It is pretty straight forward without any big twists or turns. It is a good start for the Hornblower stories. I was a little taken by surprise at the abrupt ending, but that too was appropriate.
It was a good introduction of Hornblower, who, although the hero was still learning his craft. He makes plenty of mistakes along the way but in the end does a good job.
The scene with the fire barges was well written, very vivid.
Hornblower, all of the rest of the characters were simply supporting players.
This is a short book but well worth the listen.
Except when it all gets too quiet and you can't really hear it. Maybe you can if you are sitting at home in your armchair listening with headphones on, but I tend to listen in the car to and from work or on other errands. The volume of Mr Rodska is good 90% of the time, and I think it's his flair for the dramatic, which is a good thing all told, which causes this small problem.
Every so often someone with a small voice comes in, or there is something whispered or shocking and it's hard to hear at normal volume for the rest of the piece. I get by because I've read the books already, if you haven't you may end up rewinding or palying with the volume.
As for Hornblower? An awesome tale of high seas adventure in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Era!
Ripping good yarn, beautifully acted. Rodska captures both young Hornblower's competence and his vulnerabity. Secondary characters are beautifully realized.