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.
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.
Not as deep or involved as the Jack Aubrey series, but certainly more entertaining and adventursome. I thought it was going to be another (boring) period tale, but really liked it and will pick up other titles in the series if they go on sale.
Beats TV by a mile. What excitement, sailng without motors for years at a time. Of course there is that problem of ships appearing over the horizon and trying to sink you.
Only books I could compare it to would be the rest of the Hornblower series
Too many favorites to decide
The fantastic character development.
Midshipman Hornblower has a tough start. It's a brilliant tactic by the author. Just when you're about to despair along with Hornblower, the Midshipman gains his "sea legs" and hits his "stride". Very well done!
Yes. As great as always.
I was very sad for Hornblower at the start. There are moments that I laughed as well. War, especially at sea is rough business though.
The POB series Master and Commander has long been a favorite. I think this series will be just as epic.
I'm a country potter, gardener, flute player and tin tinker living with my husband, an electrical engineer & cabinet maker.
Maybe it's because I know nothing of the big sailing ships but I find this more of an account of sailing than a story. I don't hear the story. The segments are disjointed episodes to me.
The performance by Chrsitian Rodska is wonderful. The variety and suitability of voices, and the rapid interchange that sounds like a conversation among several characters is admirable.
Very disappointed. I had heard this series was very good. There is action but the character is not developed to any depth and no relationships are developed. There also seemed to be a jump from Hornblower being an inexperienced young man to an "in-charge" kind of guy. I like the Maturin-Aubry series so much better!
You pretty much know what to expect when you choose a novel with a giant sailboat on the cover sailing on the open ocean.
What you also get is solid writing, a noteworthy main character, and a clear plot.
Choose, if you love this genre!
Yes I would buy the next book to find out what happened to Mr. Hornblower.
The English accent and old ships vocabulary was very authentic but sometimes hard to follow and understand.
I absolutely loved how he did all the different characters voices! I would buy other books that he read just to listen to his performance again.
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
I am a big fan of this genre, C.S Forester is perhaps the best known, but there are also the Dewey Lambdin series which is also good, Peter Simple, and the Master and Commander Series from Patrick O'Brien. I would rate C.S Forester as among the better, but slightly more serious than the others. For more fun and spice I like Dewey Lambdin. The Bloody Jack Series is also fun although it is aimed at teenagers. This is book 1 (can't purchase book #2), and book # 3 is next one in series on Audible. So if you start listening, you will soon have to transition over to written word because there is limited audio format availability.