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Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Horatio Hornblower Series #1)
     

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Horatio Hornblower Series #1)

4.0 54
by C. S. Forester, Bill Kelsey (Read by)
 

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Horatio Hornblower was born in C.S. Forester's fertile imagination and became arguably more famous, certainly more personal, than Nelson, Cook and Drake combined. He fought in a dozen major campaigns during the Napoleonic wars, and it was in these pages that we first got a glimmer of just how much Bonaparte was hated, and why.

Forester's genius was not tidy, and so

Overview

Horatio Hornblower was born in C.S. Forester's fertile imagination and became arguably more famous, certainly more personal, than Nelson, Cook and Drake combined. He fought in a dozen major campaigns during the Napoleonic wars, and it was in these pages that we first got a glimmer of just how much Bonaparte was hated, and why.

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.

Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
Exciting, realistic, packed with grand naval action.
Chicago Tribune
No other contemporary writer can equal Forester at this kind of storytelling.
Washington Post
Readers...will keep their eyes glued to the page.
Saturday Review
Delightful....Forester is, like Dickens, a professional....Everlastingly entertaining.
Times Literary Suppleme
C. S. Forester's knowledge of the technical side of life during the Napoleonic Wars is a continual delight.
New York Times Book Review
A pleasure to read from beginning to end.
NY Times Book Review
A first-rate swashbuckler.
Christian Science Monitor
In storm, in flame, in blood, and in love, the plot unfolds.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780736606509
Publisher:
Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date:
11/01/1983
Series:
Horatio Hornblower Series
Edition description:
Unabridged, 8 Cassettes

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Hornblower and the Even Chance

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.

What People are Saying About This

Ernest Hemingway
I recommend Forester to every literate I know.
Winston Churchill
Vastly entertaining.

Meet the Author

C. S. Forester (1899-1966) is well-known for his many 'Hornblower' novels, which describe life on the fighting ships of the British navy two hundred years ago. His books are famous for their rich and accurate historical detail.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
August 27, 1899
Date of Death:
April 2, 1966
Place of Birth:
Cairo, Egypt
Place of Death:
Berkeley, California
Education:
AlleynGuy's Medical School of the University of London

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Mr. Midshipman Hornblower 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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
LoveSeaStories More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!
TeddyOH More than 1 year ago
I've read this series many time's and how that it's in ebook form I'll read them all again and again.....
Gunner1223 More than 1 year ago
Right from the first chapter the character Horatio Hornblower embarks on his naval adventure as each chapter is a story in itself. This book is a fast paced read with a different mission in every chapter. Horatio's inexperience mixed with his high potential create many challenges the reader can relate to. Especially Horatio's fears and anxieties which are always in his mind but must not be known to his shipmates as his leadership is what makes him a successful naval officer. There are many personalities, many distant lands and varied political situations that make this book interesting and gives the reader a chance to learn more about the world and how to adapt to your surroundings. If you enjoyed Patrick O'Brian you will find this a similar tale(s) at a faster pace.
ilvmwf More than 1 year ago
In the genre of Patrick O'Brien's excellent "Aubrey" series, but more action oriented and less character development. If you love sea stories from the Napoleonic wars you will enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I began reading this after finishing "The Shores of Tripoli" and I am glad that I did. I have not read any other books in the Hornblower series yet but after this one I plan to read the entire series. Midshipman Hornblower is an interesting character and it is cool to see him slowly gain his confidence and bearing throughout the first novel, I am sure in the books to come this will increase and turn Horatio into the successful naval officer he becomes. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys adventure novels or to those that enjoy 18-19th century naval stories. There is a great tv series to go along with the books as well!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He is so hot as horatio. I mean his voice and accent are so hot and his cute smile.... I AM MELTING.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't bother starting this series of you prefer nook format as b&n is missing several volumes. WTH???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kkw More than 1 year ago
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).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yay!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like Horatio alot but i wish the books were as interesting as the movies and antone who has not seen them should. I think they are PG-13
gregrosine More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book ,i can't wait to read read the next one.
Jay37 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KonaDog More than 1 year ago
Looks like it's been fixed: archive, then un-archive (to force a re-download) and it should open.
Halchrist More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SanDiegoJohnDiehl More than 1 year ago
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.