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.
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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