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Lieutenant Hornblower (1951)

by C S Forester

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Horatio Hornblower (2), Horatio Hornblower: Chronological Order (2)

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2,373476,524 (4.1)73
In this gripping tale of turmoil and triumph on the high seas, Horatio Hornblower emerges from his apprenticeship as midshipman to face new responsibilities thrust upon him by the fortunes of war between Napoleon and Spain. Enduring near-mutiny, bloody hand-to-hand combat with Spanish seamen, deck-splintering sea battles, and the violence and horror of life on the fighting ships of the Napoleonic Wars, the young lieutenant distinguishes himself in his first independent command. He also faces an adventure unique in his experience: Maria.… (more)
  1. 00
    The '44 Vintage by Anthony Price (Stepn)
    Stepn: Another period thriller with a similar viewpoint.
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» See also 73 mentions

English (42)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Hornblower is a second lieutenant on a frigate with a mad captain when Lieutenant Bush comes on board as first lieutenant. The captain suffers a head injury in a fall down a ladder, Bush becomes acting captain, but spurred on by Hornblower has to storm a pirate fort in the Caribbean. The pirates manage to take over the frigate, but Horblower, commanding a captured vessel, saves the day. There is a court-martial because of the loss of the ship and the state of its captain, with Hornblower promoted to commander and sent home to England in a prize ship
This was the first of the Hornblower books that I read, so I located it in the summer between 7th and 8th grade. I finished the whole series over that summer, and I recall arguing with my 8th grade teacher if the Hornblower saga could be considered an epic. ( )
  neurodrew | Jan 3, 2024 |
Also good story. Second in series. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
This is the second book in the series and opens with Lieutenant Bush climbing aboard to join HMS Renown as the ship's third lieutenant. The officer on watch as he does so is Hornblower, the ship's most junior (fifth) lieutenant.

All the action that follows is told from Bush's point of view. It starts in Plymouth Sound where an atmosphere of fear and suspicion exists between the captain and his officers, an apparent accident befalling the captain, a mission to the West Indies that ends in triumph before finishing off in the peacetime port of Portsmouth.

In this second book Hornblower has progressed in rank with much of his character already formed by the time the novel opens, but here get to see how his natural talents which as a leader of men and a strategist begin to develop and be recognised. Whilst Forester provides a pretty convincing portrayal of what is takes to sail a wooden warship in the heat of battle it still takes quite a leap in faith to believe that more senior officers would not only follow the suggestions made by a junior officer so closely but also give him credit for its subsequent sucess.

It has been quite a few years since I last read any of these books and this is a re-read however, I've always been a bit of a sucker for a maritime yarn. I found it a pacy piece of escapism but just not up to the standards of Alexander Kent's Bolitho series. ( )
  PilgrimJess | May 23, 2022 |
I listened to the audiobook and I cannot praise Christian Rodska too highly as a narrator. He brings the scene vividly to life, clear voices for each different character (including the women), an ease with naval terminology and a story-telling ability that never oversteps the boundary into melodrama.

This book is written from the viewpoint of Lieutenant Bush, which is a good authorial choice as there is a an event which takes place relatively early on in the book and Hornblower knows what happened and Bush does not. This means the reader does not know either and has to try and make his/her own deductions as to what happened.

The books starts in an area familiar from the TV series, with the increasing insanity of Captain Sawyer and the effect of his paranoia on the crew of the Resolution.

But the book goes further, because it shows the crippling effect of Sawyer's remaining presence as a lunatic invalid even after he has been removed from command.

The five lieutenants are often paralysed by indecision, trying to predict how their actions will be viewed by a future court of enquiry. Should the Sawyer's sealed orders be opened or not? They could be wrong in either direction depending on how events pan out.

in the case of the first lieutenant, it impacts on his command decisions as well. He's not thinking things through in detail, just going for simple safe options - in the Navy you can rarely be judged wrong if you attack.

Bush, the 4th lieutenant is a very good seaman, but he doesn't think outside the box. He undergoes a gradual shift throughout the book in his attitude to Hornblower, the 5th lieutenant, moving from initial mistrust to respect and a real friendship.

The story isn't just about naval battles. The writer includes a land battle - with fascinating historical details about the use of heated shot as a weapon; vicious tactical negotiation of a Spanish surrender (Hornblower manages to push them into terms that are far more painful for the Spanish than initially proposed); a glance at slave rebellions on Haiti; life on half pay when there is no war (and the Catch 22 of a promotion at the wrong time...), and the benefits of being a good whist player.

If you like naval/military history in the Napoleonic era, then definitely a recommended read/listen. ( )
  JudithProctor | Apr 5, 2022 |
In some respects I liked this better than the first (chronologically) book, I think in part due to so much of the story told from Bush’s not Hornblower’s POV. ( )
  jimgosailing | Nov 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forester, C Sprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Biro, ValIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornwell, BernardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coster, NicolasPerformersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gruffuddd, IaonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, GeoffreyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodska, ChristianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Lieutenant William Bush came on board H.M.S. Renown as she lay at anchor in the Hamoaze and reported himself to the officer of the watch, who was a tall and rather gangling individual with hollow cheeks and a melancholy cast of countenance, whose uniform looked as if it had been put on in the dark and not readjusted since.
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In this gripping tale of turmoil and triumph on the high seas, Horatio Hornblower emerges from his apprenticeship as midshipman to face new responsibilities thrust upon him by the fortunes of war between Napoleon and Spain. Enduring near-mutiny, bloody hand-to-hand combat with Spanish seamen, deck-splintering sea battles, and the violence and horror of life on the fighting ships of the Napoleonic Wars, the young lieutenant distinguishes himself in his first independent command. He also faces an adventure unique in his experience: Maria.

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