Copyright ©1962 C.S. Forester; Copyright ©1999 NewStar Media Inc.
"Hornblower was never in better form." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Vivid...intense and exciting." (New York Times Book Review)
This is an abridged version, but frankly I'm glad it is because I found the narrator so annoying I wanted it to be over. Patrick Manee narrates in a ridiculously lugubrious manner. He reads painfully slowly, and constantly goes into a strange singsong mode, elongating the vowels to a ridiculous extent when reading dialogue. It's OK, perhaps, when rendering the speech of a rustic bargeman at the beginning; but it's quite inappropriate when Hornblower is supposed to be snapping orders in a crisis. Christian Rodska, who narrates many of the other Hornblower novels is consistently superb, and his performances shine even brighter compared to this rendering.
I found the story disappointing also. Even though it's abridged, uninteresting scenes seem to be drawn out: e.g. the opening journey down canal and river to London. It's not a patch on Lieutenant Hornblower or Mr Midshipman Hornblower.
I would have preferred this without all the musical interludes between chapters. Also the narration bordered on cartoonish in a lot of ways. Christian Rodska has to be my favorite Hornblower narrator. I wish this was available with him.
And Buffalo George
This book is a series of Hornblower adventures. The junior captain saves Nelson's funeral procession, recovers treasure from Turkish waters and captures a Spanish ship of the line. I particularly enjoyed the salvage operation...use of Ceylonese divers, probably without artificial air--wow! None of the familiar characters, except Maria and the kids are part of this book--perhaps showing our hero's growing independence. I read this book while riding San Diego's Hornblower Cruises looking for whales--avast, thar she blows! The staff was clueless about the literary origination of their company name.
I really love the Hornblower series! It's been one of my favorite series to read. My dad recommended it to me when I was a little boy finally got around to reading it and wondered why I hadn't read it by now :-)
The Hornblower Novels are great on their own, but Patrick Macnee makes them incredible. His narration is perfect. I dare say he is even better as a narrator than he was as "Mr Steed"
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