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Forester's genius was not tidy, and so this story, which sets Hornblower on course at age 17, is Forester's sixth book about him, though it should have ...
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Forester's genius was not tidy, and so this story, which sets Hornblower on course at age 17, is Forester's sixth book about him, though it should have been the first. Lieutenant Hornblower, which follows it, carries the intrepid young man another step forward in his career.
A January Gale was roaring up the Channel, blustering loudly, and bearing on its bosom rain squalls whose big drops rattled loudly on the tarpaulin clothing of those among the officers and men whose duties kept them on the deck. So hard and so long had the gale blown that even in the sheltered waters of Spithead the battleship moved uneasily at her anchors, pitching a little in the choppy sears, and snubbing herself against the tautened cables with unexpected jerks. A shore boat was on its way out to her, propelled by oars in the hands of two sturdy women; it danced madly on the steep little waves, now and then putting its nose into one and sending a sheet spray flying aft. The oarswoman in the bow knew her business, and with rapid glances over her shoulder not only kept the boat on its course but turned the bow into the worst of the waves to keep from capsizing. It slowly drew up along the starboard side of the Justinian, and as it approached the main chains the midshipman of the watch hailed it.
"Aye, aye," came back the answering hail from the lusty lungs of the woman at the stroke oar; by the curious and ages-old convention of the navy the reply meant that the boat had an officer on board - presumably the huddled figure in the sternsheets looking more like a heap of trash with a boat cloak thrown over it.
That was as much as Mr. Masters, the lieutenant of the watch, could see; he was sheltering as best he could in the lee of the mizzenmast bitts, and in obedience to the order of the midshipman of the watch the boat drew up towards the main chains and passed out of his sight. There was a long delay; apparently the officer has some difficulty in getting up the ship's side. At last the boat reappeared in Master's field of vision; the women had shoved off and were setting a scrap of lugsail, under which the boat, now without its passenger, went swooping back towards Portsmouth, leaping on the waves like a steeplechaser. As it departed Mr. Masters became aware of the near approach of someone along the quarter deck; it was the new arrival under the escort of the midshipman of the watch, who, after pointing Masters out, retired to the main chains again. Mr. Masters had served in the navy until his hair was white; he was lucky to have received his commission as lieutenant, and he had long known that he would never receive one as captain, but the knowledge has not greatly embittered him, and he diverted his mind by the study of his fellow men.
So he looked with attention at the approaching figure. It was that of a skinny young man only just leaving boyhood behind, something above middle height, with feet whose adolescence proportions to his size were accentuated by the thinness of his legs and his big half-boots. His gawkiness called attention to his hands and elbows. The newcomer was dressed in a badly fitting uniform which was soaked right through by the spray; a skinny neck stuck out of the high stock, and above the neck was a white bony face. A white face was a rarity on the deck of a ship of war whose crew soon tanned to a deep mahogany, but this face was not merely white; in the hollow cheeks there was a faint shade of green - clearly the newcomer had experienced seasickness in his passage out in the shore boat. Set in the white face were a pair of dark eyes which by contrast looked like holes cut in a sheet of paper; Masters noted with a slight stirring of interest that the eyes, despite the owner's seasickness, were looking about keenly, taking in what were obviously new sights; there was a curiosity and interest there which could not be repressed and which continued to function notwithstanding either seasickness or shyness, and Mr. Masters surmised in his far-fetched fashion that this boy had a vein of caution or foresight in his temperament and was already studying his new surroundings with a view to being prepared for his next experiences. So might Daniel have looked about him at the lions when he first entered their den.
The dark eyes met Masters', and the gawky figure came to a halt, raising a hand self-consciously to the brim of his dripping hat. His mouth opened and tried to say something, but closed again without achieving its object as shyness overcame its owner, but then the newcomer nerved himself afresh and forced himself to say the formal words he had been coached to utter.
"Come aboard, sir."
"Your name?" asked Masters, after waiting for a moment.
"H-Horatio Hornblower, sir. Midshipman," stuttered the boy.........
Excerpted from MR. MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER, published by Little Brown and Company. Copyright © 1978 by Dorothy E. Forester.
Posted July 11, 2011
Posted October 21, 2001
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower is the prequel to the Horatio Hornblower series. Written as the sixth book chronologically, it covers the very first times when Hornblower served in His Majesty¿s navy. My recommendation is that you read it first, so that you can follow Hornblower chronologically along over his career as it develops. Since much of service aboard a naval vessel is routine, C.S. Forester gives us the high spots of Hornblower¿s first years in the form of short stories beginning at age 17 when he entered the navy. Each story is nicely balanced among the following qualities: Hornblower¿s inexperience; the rapid shift of circumstances that can occur at sea; Hornblower¿s physical and psychological weaknesses and courage to overcome them; the demands of honor; the importance of thinking clearly, getting good information, and making a swift decision; the benefits of discipline; and the brotherhood of all seaman before the dangers they face. Those who are interested in the war between Britain and France after the French Revolution in 1789 will find the material to bring those events to life in a vivid way. I learned a lot about the details of naval warfare as it was conducted then. The weakness of most short story writers is that their plots and resolutions often become overly predictable. These short stories are predictable only in their originality and unpredictability. As such, I found myself drawn forward, wondering what rabbit Forester would next pull out of the hat. This is just the sort of book that I loved to read as a teenager, and I could feel the years peeling off as I raced through the stories. This book would be a wonderful gift to a teenager who likes adventure tales based on historical events. Readers will be reminded of how embarrassing and emotionally daunting it can be to launch off to operate in the adult world at age 17. Unlike many adventure books, Hornblower serves the dual role of hero and morally-inspired man. It¿s too bad that so much modern fiction chooses to develop the action without developing any character in the process. What moral challenges did you face when you were 17? What were the best decisions you made? What were the worst ones? What have you learned from each experience? What would you do differently today, if put back into the same situation? Set an example for yourself that you can be proud of! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 26, 2011
Posted January 27, 2011
This is the first book in the series of Horatio Hornblower (even though Mr. Forester wrote "Beat To Quarters" first) and I thought it was just super. In this story Hornblower is young man just entering the Royal Navy when the British were fighting the French and the Spanish navies. As a young officer Hornblower learns the difficulties of obeying orders. Fortunately, for Hornblower he has the captain, Captain Pellew, that keeps both a stern and kindly eye on him. If want to understand what its really like to be sailing the oceans on a wooden frigate then this is the book for you. Not only do you get educated but you will find Forester's writing style terrific as he explains the ship in detail,its armament and crew while at the same time weaving a great story. Highly recommend.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 19, 2008
If you are considering watching the Hornblower series starring Ioan Gruffudd, I recommend reading this first. I saw the series and decided to read the book they were based off, and was sorely disappointed. The book has little rising action and does not make the 'bad guys' seem bad. They are more of an inconvenience. The climax of each chapter is cut short, and there is not much tension. Most of the characters (other than Hornblower) appear only once or twice and are never seen again. Do not expect the movie series to be like it. It is much more exciting and attention-grabbing.
2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2011
Posted July 14, 2011
I've read this series many time's and how that it's in ebook form I'll read them all again and again.....
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 3, 2013
I decided to reread the Hornblower series recently (I had read them a _long_ time ago). As enjoyable as ever. However, I got them in the Nook Book format and I have discovered that three volumes in the series do not appear to be in B&N's ebook format. Why is this? And those three books are in the iTunes ebook format as am omnibus volume(shock, horror).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 30, 2013
Posted January 1, 2013
Posted November 4, 2012
C.S. Forrester wrote these books in the 1930's about life onboard Brithish Naval vessels in the 18th century. So if you're not at least a little interested in history, adventure stories, or are an aglophile you should probably steer clear of these novels.
That's right, with an "s". There are a total of 12 full stand alone novels and some other misc. books of stories as well. All about the fictional career of one Horatio Hornblower (that's right, the BBC mini-series Hornblower). While they could be read as one and dones that's really not very satisfying. That would be lime eating half a bowl of popcorn...who does that??
They work in chonological order moving through Hornblowers naval career, starting with him as a mid-shipman on a British warship. I won't be giving anything away by saying that each book covers the next promotion of Horatio through the ranks as it's, pretty much, he title of each succesive volume.
I've now read 2 (out of order accidentally). They are a blast. Each chapter is almost a stand alone story within the greater context of the book. Almost as if it had been serialized in some other puplication before being published as a book. I know this was pretty popular back in the day.
C.S. Forrester was obviously the "Tom Clancy" of 18th century naval warfare. You get lots of details on manning and sailing a wooden warship along with weopons and tactics. (Perfect for reading on a nook, you can look stuff up as you want to).
There is also a great deal of insight on the incredible hardships sailors endured as part of everyday life.
These are facinating, gripping, adventure stories...almost science fiction in reverse...how can you go wrong with that!!
Posted May 7, 2012
Posted March 5, 2012
This is the first in the vaunted Horatio Hornblower series by author c.S. Forester. I read one of the other books in the series and thought I should start from the beginning. This book starts with Horatio Hornblower entering the Royal Navy and the wars with France and Spain. Horatio is midshipman and is working his way to becoming a lieutenant. Great writing and a real solid adventure. The history and details about being on a royal navy frigate is very interesting as an add on to the adventure. On to book 2.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 29, 2012
Posted February 13, 2012
Engrossing tales of nautical adventure. Each chapter is a telling of an incident. Easy reading at bedtime...many terms pertaining to parts of the ship are unfamiliar to me but not necessary to the understanding.
I plan to read more of them. Began due to a family member's interest in it (and all things of the sea). Of particular interest to readers 12--20, male.
Posted December 19, 2011
Posted July 29, 2011
I've enjoyed age-of-sail books for over 40 years. C.S. Forester is such a wonderful author. I felt myself to be alongside Mr. Hornblower every step.
I did have trouble with the ebook itself. It would not open on the NookColor. I tried downloading and archiving, and unarchiving, and even sideloading. I tried rebooting, as well. None of the suggestions I've seen mentioned on the boards seemed to help. The only way I could read it, and thus enjoy Mr. Hornblower, yet again, was to use the Nook application for the PC.
So, this only gets 4 stars, instead of 5.
Posted June 2, 2011
If you're a sailing buff then Mr. Forester will take you aboard with Hornblower and give you an excellent tale of the British navy and its desire to protect the oceans from its enemies.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 5, 2011
When you start the Hornblower series this is the first book ou should start with. In this story Horation Hornblower is a 17-year-old and he had just entered the British Royal Navy. This story will give you an insight to the life of a British seaman. Hornblower, being at the lowest officer rank must endure many crueling assignments and torments from other higher ranking officers. So, if you are navy buff, and enjoy historical sea stories, this is one of the great books out there to read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.