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
After listening to this I immediately downloaded Lieutenant Hornblower. I mainly listen to audiobooks when exercising at the gym. I find exercise boring, and am always looking for books that will hold my attention. I think the Hornblower novels read by Christian Rodska may be my best find yet. Forester is, of corse, a wonderful storyteller. The novels aren't especially profound; but they're not shallow. Characterization is excellent, and the gritty historical detail throws you into the world of the British navy circa 1800. The narration is simply superb. The voices fit the characters perfectly. The only thing I can imagine some people not liking about the book is the heavy use of nautical jargon--but personally, I enjoy that too, even if I don't always fully understand what it means.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is book 3 in the series written in 1950, book 1 The Commodore was written in 1945. Forester went back in time instead of forward. Forester was the pen name for a prolific writer Cecil Louis Troughton Smith. Beside the Hornblower series he wrote The African Queen in 1935 and Hunting the Bismark in 1959 both were made into movies. In this book Hornblower is an ungainly 17 year old midshipman new to the sea. He goes from one adventure to another. I got a laugh about the French merchant brig that was captured and Hornblower was assigned to take it to Britain as a prize ship. It was loaded with rice and had taken a canon ball below the water line. The rice got wet and started to swell. I could just picture the ship being torn apart by all the rice. The book has adventure, suspense, sea battles and humor. I love sea stories about the British Navy circa 1790 to 1810. If you like sea stories you will enjoy this book. Christian Rodska does a great job narrating the book.
The Hornblower novels are old friends. It was a pleasure to meet them again, so ably performed. There was not a single jarring note in the narration, and the story was as stirring as I recall. My plan is to work my way through the series, and based on this first listen, I anticipate many hours of enjoyment.
Believable, entertaining, and even educational, giving a richly detailed glimpse at a way of life and war now long gone.
Hornblower. Who else?
Adventure, Honor, and Excitement aboard His Majesty's Navy in the age of sail.
The narrator was brilliant, as good as any I have heard. He didn't overwhelm the story, faded into the background until you forgot he was there; an excellent job.
This is the first book in a series which I first discovered when I was in junior high. Since I lived in a rather isolated small town and our local library only had two or three of the books in the series, I had to wait impatiently until I went away to college to get the rest of the series. It was well worth the wait.
I have listened to both this entire series and also the Aubrey-Maturin series, and while there are many points of similarity between them, I like this one better.
Forester did not write the series in chronological order. The first book he wrote in this series was “The Happy Return” (That is the name it was published under in England; in the U.S. it was named “Beat to Quarters”) I know another reviewer here has said the that the first book was “The Commodore,” but I have consulted Wikipedia and a couple of other sources online, and they all say, “The Happy Return.” However, he went back over time and filled in the gaps in the chronology, and I have always read them in the order Audible presents them here.
There are five short stories about Hornblower which Audible does not have. I doubt that audiobooks of them were ever made. However, they are available on Kindle in a book called “Hornblower Addendum”. If you are interested in reading them in the order they fall in in the series, consult the Wikipedia article, “Horatio Hornblower.”
David Weber credits this series as the inspiration for his Honor Harrington series. Like Weber, Forester writes a ripping good action scene. And I have been assured that he did a good job with his research so that the historical details are authentic.
C. S. Forester wrote many novels other than the Hornblower books. The majority of them were never made into audiobooks, and when I checked a few years ago, most of them were out of print. However, many of them are now available on Kindle, and I recommend them to you. I have read two of them recently enough to be able to recommend them particularly: “The Good Shepherd” (about an American ship captain during World War 2) and “Captain from Connecticut” (about an American ship captain and a British ship captain around 1814).
I consider this one of the best series I have ever read. I recommend it to you.
A Compelling story coupled with some top notch narration makes this a great listen. I would recommend this book to any friend, French or English.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
This was one great book. I loved every minute of it. Sure there were nautical terms bandied about (it's a book about the Royal Navy) and a awareness of these terms can help in its enjoyment but such knowledge is not essential. At first I thought this was a coming-of-age story and in some respects it is. And, while it could be classified as YA, this story has something for everyone. The actor/narrator Christian Rodska takes the book to a whole other dimension. His voices for all of the characters seem spot on.
The book is truly exciting, touching and hilarious. I highly recommend it. I loved it.
This was one of the best books on British Naval challenges during the Napolionic era. It was entertaining, and very well performed. I have read the O'brian "Aubrey/Maturin" series and found this book much better.
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower ranks easily among the top five books I've listened too. Excellent listen.
When he decided to duel his officer tormentor, determining to live or die rather than go on in such circumstances.
Great personalization, great accent, great feeling.
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.
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