We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 >   > 
The Happy Return | [C. S. Forester]

The Happy Return

Horatio Hornblower sails South American waters and comes face to face with a mad revolutionary in a novel that ripples with risk and gripping adventure. Throughout his escapades, Forester's hero remains resourceful and courageous.
Regular Price:$21.36
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Horatio Hornblower sails South American waters and comes face to face with a mad revolutionary in a novel that ripples with risk and gripping adventure. Throughout his escapades, Forester's hero remains resourceful and courageous.

©1937 Cassette Productions SA (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (236 )
5 star
 (141)
4 star
 (74)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
4.5 (187 )
5 star
 (112)
4 star
 (57)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.6 (182 )
5 star
 (123)
4 star
 (50)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (3)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Carol Massachusetts 11-29-10
    Carol Massachusetts 11-29-10 Member Since 2010

    Classical history buff, but find most of history fascinating. Love books, ballet, and basketball.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    753
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    197
    91
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    87
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "AKA "Beat to Quarters""

    "The Happy Return," also known as "Beat to Quarters," is the first-published (1937) adventure of Captain Horatio Hornblower, RN. It was followed in 1938 by "Ship of the Line" and "Flying Colours." Later books, published after WWII, went backward to cover Hornblower's early career, and forward to his rise to admiral and the peerage. "Midshipman Hornblower," chronologically the first story, was published in 1950.

    Having listened to all the Aubrey/Maturin books and feeling bummed that there were no more left to hear, I decided to try this book, since I knew it sailed similar seas (British navy during the Napoleonic Wars). This first Hornblower adventure does not disappoint. The distant, all-powerful captain with extraordinary navigational skills and an almost uncanny connection to his ship (there's a reason ships are thought of as female), sailing under sealed orders to a dangerous assignment in a faraway and exotic (in this case the Pacific coasts of Nicaragua and Panama) locale; encounters with the enemy won sometimes by guile, sometimes by superior seamanship, and always by sheer guts; unimaginable pain and privation, encounters with stunning cruelty--it's all here, guys and gals! There's even a shipboard romance.

    What is not here, unfortunately for his fans, is any character even remotely resembling Stephen Maturin. As it is, Hornblower is limited largely to conversations with himself, we don"t get to see the Central American volcanoes through Stephen's naturalist eyes, or get his spy's-eye view of the intrigue. This "criticism" is unfair to Forester, however, and shouldn't deter anyone from enjoying these earlier books, which undoubtedly influenced O'Brian.

    I have enjoyed both Simon Vance's and Patrick Tull's approaches to narration of the O'Brian books. Christian Rodska never gets as ponderous as Tull or as exuberant as Vance, but reads with clarity and energy. I particularly enjoyed his Spanish accents. All in all, this one's worth the listen.

    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Helena, MT, United States 04-23-12
    Michael Helena, MT, United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    71
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Horblower is Great!"
    Where does The Happy Return rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As good as the best, maybe better.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Everything except that it ended. Fortunately, there is another in the series which takes up where this one leaves off.


    Have you listened to any of Christian Rodska’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have listened to his other Hornblower narrations, and this is as good as the others, which are great.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    In the battle with the Natividad, when the crew cheered for "Hornie" as he berated and threatened them.


    Any additional comments?

    Lovers of historical adventure novels and just plain first class writing should start with Midshipman Horblower and get on board for one of the best reads in the English language. Churchill and Hemingway were big Hornblower fans. Find out why.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 02-04-12
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 02-04-12 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    120
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Happy Return"

    Christian Rodska did a wonderful job narrating the story. Hornblower sails to central America and a secret mission. Forester description of the land and people brought a picture to my mind as if I was watching a movie. Forester's battle scenes are almost as good as Patrick O'Brian. It is hard enought to fight another ship without having to worry about the wind in the sails and directions you can sail. This was the first book in the series and I am looking forward to reading more in this series. I understand Forester has written many book such as African Queen that became movies. I shall see what Audible has of Forester's books.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Starkville, MS, United States 11-08-11
    Thomas Starkville, MS, United States 11-08-11 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    199
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Finally the naval novel I've been waiting for..."
    If you could sum up The Happy Return in three words, what would they be?

    Fast Paced Fun


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hornblower is my favorite character. He is so self critical he doesn't know he is an awesome sea captain.


    What does Christian Rodska bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I like Rodska's reading style. He has an easy to understand British accent and read the book at a pace which matched the story.


    If you could take any character from The Happy Return out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Hornblower of course. I guess I would have to do all the talking though since all he would do is harumph!


    Any additional comments?

    A lot of people compare Hornblower to Aubrey/Maturin. Hornblower is much more to my liking. The Happy Return has lots of action and moves at a brisk pace as opposed to the 3 Aubrey/Maturin novels I have listened to which I found to be long and slow reads.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter Haverford, PA, United States 05-24-13
    Walter Haverford, PA, United States 05-24-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyed it even more than the first time!"
    What did you love best about The Happy Return?

    I haven't read any Hornblowers since the 1970s, but I like naval adventures in general and remembered liking them very much, so I wanted to read them again. I chose this one because it was the first written. I know most people prefer to read series in chronological order, but I always find a series more accessible in the order written.
    The Happy Return did not disappoint me. I enjoyed it tremendously. The performance was all right - my only real beef with it is some very bizarre and distracting mispronunciations.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I always appreciate a book like this one, since I get more exercise and housework done when I'm motivated to continue listening. I wouldn't want to listen to it all in one sitting - too long - but it was absolutely a pleasure.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jesse Deland, FL, United States 01-13-11
    jesse Deland, FL, United States 01-13-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    97
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Thank you Forester"

    Great writer, good story. Not as good as the later books when Hornblower is young.

    Hornblower needs a buddy like Stephen Maturin.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer COARSEGOLD, CA, United States 09-14-13
    Jennifer COARSEGOLD, CA, United States 09-14-13 Member Since 2009

    Always looking for the highest insitghts to everyday life...especially those that reach into an interesting time or event in years past, and still holds true today. Everyday life may've changed drastically, but the core of what it is to be a human has not.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "beware of this download"

    it shot my itunes app twice, I had to remove entire itunes system and reinstall twice...it was only this book...so I didn't get to listen to it and have not yet picked it up as hard copy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martin Rochester, Australia 05-01-13
    Martin Rochester, Australia 05-01-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping Naval Yarn"

    This is the first-written and probably the best of the ten Hornblower books. Unlike many of the others, it is a continuous narrative rather than a sequence of episodic short stories.

    For those interested in the British navy of the Napoleonic era, Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin books are the outstanding literary series. Forester does not have anything like O'Brian's complex picture of everyday life on board, or for that matter his sense of humour, but the Hornblower books are gripping page-turners, and their action sequences in particular are brilliant. The climactic single-ship action between the Lydia and the Natividad, described over several chapters, is terrifyingly vivid.

    Christian Rodska gives an aptly gruff, boys-own-adventure sort of reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Carlsbad, CA, United States 05-28-12
    Robert Carlsbad, CA, United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2011

    Carlsbad Rob

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Best Hornblower Book"

    I could do without the last chapter or two which deals with romance instead of action, but the rest is pure gold. It is no wonder this one, the first written launched such a large number of sequels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS, United States 04-05-12
    Timothy WAUKEGAN, ILLINOIS, United States 04-05-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unfulfilled Expectations"

    As a long time of the Patrick O'Brien books, specifically the Patrick Tull narrations, I had hoped that the Hornblower stories would at least provide the same level of interest for me. The same applies to Cornwell's Sharpe books, too. Sadly, this is not the case. I could go on about the writing style, use of language, character development, etc. But it boils down to this: I do not like the character Forester has created, at least in this book. He is wooden, weak, false and shallow in my opinion. For example, his continual self-doubt and agony over his abilities and his career make him irritating, not interesting or complex. It is as though he is an actor playing the part of ship's captain. It's just not believable. A person with that temperament would not, and could not advance in the royal navy of that time, let alone accomplish the feats attributed to him. And then there's the silly shipboard romance making no sense at all. I understand that this is the first of a series and will try not to judge all of the books based on this one, but I will have to carefully consider purchasing another one and will not do so for at least some time. The narration was workmanlike and adequate, but could not save the experience.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
Sort by:
  • A
    Maghull, United Kingdom
    9/27/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good audiobook brought to life by Christian Rodska"

    I have recently devoured probably everything by Bernard Cornwell, finishing with the "Sharpe" books and wanted something similar, and after some searching I found Hornblower.

    And I am pleasantly surprised, being written in the 30s-50s, I had assumed they would be a bit old fashioned or Boys Own-ish but they feel modern and have a dry wit that is brought out superbly by Christian Rodska the narrator.

    They are books with action and battles etc but there is a lot of depth to the story and good characterisation too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-1 of 1 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.