Beat to Quarters

( 21 )

Overview

June 1808, somewhere west of Nicaragua-a site suitable for spectacular sea battles. The Admiralty has ordered Captain Horatio Hornblower, now in command of the thirty-six-gun HMS Lydia, to form an alliance against the Spanish colonial government with an insane Spanish landowner; to find a water route across the Central American isthmus; and "to take, sink, burn or destroy" the fifty-gun Spanish ship of the line Natividad or face court-martial. A daunting enough set of orders-even if the happily married captain ...

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Overview

June 1808, somewhere west of Nicaragua-a site suitable for spectacular sea battles. The Admiralty has ordered Captain Horatio Hornblower, now in command of the thirty-six-gun HMS Lydia, to form an alliance against the Spanish colonial government with an insane Spanish landowner; to find a water route across the Central American isthmus; and "to take, sink, burn or destroy" the fifty-gun Spanish ship of the line Natividad or face court-martial. A daunting enough set of orders-even if the happily married captain were not woefully distracted by the passenger he is obliged to take on in Panama: Lady Barbara Wellesley.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316289320
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 9/30/1985
  • Series: Horatio Hornblower Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 91,847
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

20th Century British author famed for the 12 Hornblower novels, African Queen, Payment Deferred, 12 tales of war, and more than 20 other works.

Biography

C. S. Forester (1899 - 1966) wrote several novels with military and naval themes, including The African Queen, The Barbary Pirates, The General, The Good Shepherd, The Gun, The Last Nine Days of the "Bismarck" and Rifleman Dodd. But Forester is best known as the creator of Horatio Hornblower, a British naval genius of the Napoleonic era, whose exploits and adventures on the high seas Forester chronicled in a series of eleven acclaimed historical novels. Over the years, Hornblower has proved to be one of the most beloved and enduring fictional heroes in English literature, his popularity rivaled only by Sherlock Holmes.

Born Cecil Louis Troughton Smith in Cairo, Egypt, Forester grew up in London. At the start of World War II, he traveled on behalf of the British government to America, where he produced propaganda encouraging the United States to remain on Britain's side. After the War, Forester remained in America and made Berkeley, California, his home.

The character of Horatio Hornblower was born after Forester was called to Hollywood to write a pirate film. While the script was being drafted, another studio released Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn, based on the same historical incidents about which Forester was writing. Rather than seek another movie project, and to avoid an impending paternity suit, Forester jumped aboard a freighter bound for England. By the end of the voyage he had outlined Beat to the Quarters, which introduced the now legendary character Hornblower, Bush, and Lady Barbara.

Forester died in 1966 while working on Hornblower During the Crisis.

Author biography courtesy of Time Warner.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Cecil Louis Troughton Smith (real name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 27, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cairo, Egypt
    1. Date of Death:
      April 2, 1966
    2. Place of Death:
      Berkeley, California

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    Excellent!

    High adventure on the high seas! This entire series is some of the best work of historical fiction I have ever read!

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Best of a great series. Read them all!

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    Doesn't work with NOOK COLOR. B&N knows, but still has it for purchase.

    Doesn't work with NOOK COLOR. B&N knows, but still has it for purchase.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Great!

    This is one of those books that are part of a long series (12 books), but I must warn you, if you pick up this book, you are going to want to read every one. Beat to Quarters was the first Hornblower book Forester wrote, and it is the climax of all the Hornblower stories (So even though it's book #6, read it first). An intense tale of life aboard a ship of his majesty's service. Forester even throws in a twist with a love story that will expounded upon in his later books. Check out more great books for men with my pen name plus .com

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Forester brings to us a hero for the ages in Horatio Hornblower

    I finished Beat to Quarters last night and if C.S. Forester weren't already dead, I'd kill him. And this is a good thing.

    This so-called Book #6 is really the first novel in the Horatio Hornblower series, published in 1937. Forester wrote the other 1-5 stories as prequels [including the last publication, "Hornblower during the Crisis" (Horatio Hornblower Series #4) which is a collection of short stories and is unfinished], as well as books 7-11. I love how richly detailed these books are: I feel as if I could be pressed into the King's service of a ship of the line this morning and know my duties.

    Horatio Hornblower has been crafted as a hero of the mind, so much more than of action, though there is plenty of that here. Captain Hornblower of HMS frigate Lydia is on a secret mission to the Pacific to aid rebels rising against the Spanish, who in turn are allies of the ever-despised Napoleon Bonaparte. We meet "El Supremo" a despotic rebel leader convinced of his own divinity, and Lady Barbara, a member of a very important family, looking for safe passage from Panama in the face of a yellow fever outbreak.

    Despite my sadness at some news received near the conclusion of "Beat to Quarters," I realize the only reason I feel this so deeply is because of the effective story-telling by this master.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Complex Character in an Interesting Time

    There is action enough in a story about a complex character. Perhaps he is so complex because of his profession, naval officer in somewhat rigid social heirarchy, or his inability to be proud of what he accomplishes.

    The story opens with HMS Lydia in the pacific on secret orders. Hornblower is to help start a revolution against Spanish America, sink or capture a Spanish warship much larger than his and then cause the Spanish shipping interests as much harm as possible. He accomplishes the first two tasks (turning the captured warship over to the rebels) but finds that Spain has switched sides and is now an ally. So he has to find the rebel ship and sink it. All this is complicated by the arrival of Lady Barbara, a member of a very powerful family (the sister of the future Duke of Wellington). She insists on coming along.

    Hornblower is complex because he can not give himself credit to success and believes he lacks self control. For example, he doesn't talk to his officers beyond the barest minimum. He believes that to do so will hurt discipline. He will not allow his crew to see him happy, sad or worried because he believes that if they see he is human, they'll question his orders. In short he lacks self-confidence and is terrified that others will see that he is not daring or brave. Yet he is all of those things.

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  • Posted March 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Horatio Hornblower is the best fictional hero of all time!

    I can not remember when I officially became a fan of Horatio Hornblower, but I know that I am one now. Over the past few years I have been collecting every book written by C.S. Forester, slowly building a first edition library. In the meantime I have been enjoying the series through Barnes and Nobles. C.S. Forester was a gifted writer and has the envied ability to pull you into the story and allow you to understand what is going on even if you have never stepped into a boat or ship in your life. His characters are full and deceptively simple and fit into their era as if he lived the life of each and every one. I recommend all eleven books to anyone who cares to read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2007

    True to his character

    At first, it was evident to me that this was Forester's first HH book--Hornblower has a few strange ticks that I would not have expected from the previous 5 books. However, as the book goes on, he becomes more 'human' 'as Lady Barbara says at one point', and in all that he says, does, and thinks, he is the sometimes exasperating Hornblower one has grown to admire and love. As for the action--it is non-stop and engaging throughout and leaves one wanting more. Wish Forester had written a bit more about the deaths of HH's first two children, but then, that distance was part of the seafaring life, I suppose.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2005

    Hornblower At His Best

    In Beat to Quarters, Captain Horatio Hornblower sails to the western coast of South America. His mission: to deliver arms and aid to El Supremo, a Spanish landowner who has gone mad and fancies himself the direct descendent of an Aztec god, and thereby stir up a rebellion in the Spanish colonies. I found El Superemo to be one of the most entertaining minor characters in the Hornblower saga. Not nearly as entertaining (but more important for the series of the whole) is the introduction of Lady Barbara, Hornblower's love interest. The highlight of the book lies in the long and heroic battle between Hornblower's ship, Lydia, and a much stronger Spanish ship, a day-long massacre that shows Forester's knowledge of naval warfare and his clear yet moving style at their best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2004

    A battle on both sides

    In this book Horatio is the first British captian to sail a ship in the pacific around central america. He takes a Spanish ship twice there size and gives it over to a crazy landowner, only to find out they are not at war anymore with spain. He then has to fight and take the ship back. After all this is done he returns home to England with a lady form a very famous family.

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    Posted September 3, 2009

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