What the sailors would put up with is incredible. When repairs are needed, the efforts are truly heroic. Hornblower's navigation is Another good Hornblower novel, a bit shorter than some. Hornblower's navigation is fantastic. Twice he managed to hit tiny targets after months at sea.
Latitude is one thing. It's packed with adventure.
It ends rather abruptly, though. Can't wait to read the next. There's a thread dangling that holds some real promise. Glad I didn't read any of the short stories or books further along in the chronology. May 13, Qt rated it really liked it Shelves: action-adventure , history. I quite enjoyed "Beat to Quarters" and thought it was a fine sea-adventure tale; I didn't understand most of the nautical terms used so some of the action probably went over my head--however, I never felt lost or completely confused.
I enjoyed the writing style, which was pleasant and easy to read, with plenty of humorous touches. The ocean battles were exciting and dramatic; Hornblower was a good character, and the strategies he uses were interesting and never boring. View all 15 comments. Aug 30, Elliot rated it really liked it Shelves: napoleonic-wars , fiction , historical-fiction.
I was very curious about what differences there might be between the earlier and later Hornblower books, and it turned out there were many. It was immediately apparent to me that Beat to Quarters was written many years before the prequels. These qualities combined with the petty displays of pique make Hornblower a very human character, but just as importantly a not very likable one either — at least for the first segment of the novel. For example, Hornblower treats Captain Bush — that competent and devoted friend — quite coldly, especially so for reader who is not far off from reading Lieutenant Hornblower or Hornblower and the Hotspur.
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Despite all of this, Beat to Quarters is a great story of adventure on the high seas. This book is set in a unique location for Hornblower — off the Pacific coast of Central America. The battles that these two ships engage in are captured marvelously by Forester. In fact, these battles just might be the best action sequences in the whole series. I was enthralled by the drama and tension as I read about the maneuvering of the ships and the broadsides that were relentlessly traded.
The Happy Return
View 2 comments. Jan 18, Mike Hankins rated it really liked it Shelves: naval. Before there was "Master and Commander," there was Horatio Hornblower. The name might sound goofy to modern ears, but for a few generations, it has been synonymous with high seas adventure in the age of sail. Created in the late s by C. Forester, the character has endured a long, successful series of novels and short stories, a feature film starring Gregory Peck, and a series of TV movies starring Ioan Gruffold.
It even influenced other pop culture pieces, such as Star Trek. The director of "The Wrath of Khan" has repeatedly said his goal was to create "Horatio Hornblower in space. Yes, Forester pulled a George Lucas on us and wrote a bunch of prequels at one point, skipping around a bit to produce a confusing reading order. But whatever order you read these in, they're pure naval fun, if you're into that sort of thing. Which I definitely am.
Beat to Quarters is the tale of Hornblower crossing the Pacific to land on the Western coast of central America, where he gets embroiled in negotiations while trying to aid a local leader rebelling against Spanish rule. Just when things are looking up, however, the Spanish and French strike an alliance and Hornblower has to undo all the work he has done, destroying the very forces he built up.
The Happy Return (Hornblower Saga, book 6) by C S Forester
Oh, and he meets a girl and there's some kind of romantic tension or something. The bulk of the story revolves around life on a ship of the line in the early s, the relationships among the upper levels of the crew, the tension of being alone at sea, and the exciting action of naval battle. The book shines in two areas, the first being the battles. Forester has a knack for balancing accurate description while keeping the pacing fast and tense. The action scenes really make the reader feel like they're right there on the deck, feeling every cannon blast, gripped with the roller-coaster ride of alternating anticipation and terror of exchanging gunfire with a rival ship.
He also emphasizes the ridiculously high level of skill that must be displayed by competent ship captains while also not neglecting the role of pure luck in engagements like this. In between battle sequences, glimpses into the daily life of a ship captain are accurate and enlightening, and Forester is able to keep them from being dull. I really enjoy all the military jargon and technical stuff that goes into these types of stories, so for me, even the boring parts of this book are exciting.
The other area the book really shines is the character of Hornblower himself.
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Forester could have created a grand captain, bold and egotistical while never doing anything wrong -- like a James Bond of the sea. Instead, he creates a much more believable and relatable character -- Hornblower struggles with the dichotomy of presenting just such a commanding presence to his men, while his inner thoughts are full of self-doubt and questioning. What makes him such an inspiring character is the way he routinely is able to overcome his inner fears and take bold, decisive actions, earning the accolades his impressive deeds deserve while remaining humble.
All this makes him somewhat aloof from his men, and downright bumbling when it comes to women. Lady Barbara, the female lead of the book, is as empowered as a realistic female character can be for a story set in this time period, but Hormblower's is almost incapable of interacting with her with the confidence he routinely displays when commanding his ship. Overall, the love plot feels a little forced and irrelevant to the story.
When I read a story about adventure on the high seas, I rarely want to be distracted with a token love story. However, Lady Barbara's character is interesting enough, especially when contrasted to Hornblower, that it stays interesting. One aspect of the story I found particularly great was the sense of isolation. These men are hopelessly alone on the ocean, and the lack of communication hits home both emotionally and in terms of plot.
The careful negotiating and political intrigue, already difficult for Horatio to navigate on his own becomes that much more stressful because the political landscape can and does change on a dime -- and he may or may not hear of it in time to prevent disasters. This diplomatic tension, combined with a deep-rooted sense of loneliness, create a powerful mood for the book.
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Talking about diplomatic relations might sound boring, but Forester makes it fascinating, at least for a nerd like me. The ever-evolving dynamics of native uprisings interacting with powerful European monarchies is interesting and thought provoking. All in all, this is a great read, but I'm not sure what cross-over appeal it has.
xn----itbjbanp5adgf8b0d.xn--p1ai/scripts I love it because I'm a nerd for anything relating to the Age of Sail, and I'm a sucker for military action narratives. If you aren't already interested in an eighteenth-century naval action piece, I'm not sure if this would win you over, but it's worth a shot. Its a fun, action-packed, well-paced tale with captivating characters that even has some romance.
And it's a very quick and easy read. You've got nothing to lose by checking this one out. Oct 17, Will Todd rated it it was amazing Shelves: hornblower. Forester, which I just finished reading last night. It's remarkable to me that I have only just this moment realized that my own timeline regarding the two readings corresponds almost exactly to the age progression experienced by the main character in the course of these 11 novels.
It's a year journey unlike any other I have ever taken in books - full and deep and satisfying. I'll list the 11 books in chronological order not the order they were written , which is the best way, I believe, to read them: - MR. Many reasons, but I'll list just three: 1. All the rousing action you could ask for in a well-paced adventure series This is the true secret of the Hornblower books - that Hornblower himself is not some one-dimensional, infallible, faultless hero.
On the contrary, he is filled with self-doubt and doesn't always choose the best course, especially in personal matters.
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But by building the main character this way, Forester allows you to recognize, empathize, and eventually care deeply about him - rooting for his success rather than merely expecting it. It's this complex characterization that complements and actually allows for the heroics of the plot - because it all comes at a price. I can't go into detail because this is a spoiler-free review, but something happens that is so devastating that literally for entire books afterwards, I kept expecting Forester to make amends.
But it doesn't happen.