The year is 1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Horatio Hornblower, a 17-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 11 swashbuckling Hornblower tales that are today regarded as classic adventure stories of the sea.
©1950 C. S. Forester. All rights reserved. (P)2011 AudioGO
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
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.
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.
Human side of the British Navy and it's training that developed the most famous Navy in history
Character growth of the main character fron a youth to a mature Naval Officer
Rescue of the crew of the French privateer and his keeping his word and returning to captivity.
Hornblower's pardon by the French in recognition of his effort to save the crew of the French privateer,while they were at war with England !
I love the technical language and the likeable hero. Comfort reading of the highest order.
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