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A Ship of the Line (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #7)

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  4,478 ratings  ·  135 reviews
May – October 1810

The time is May, 1810, deep into the Napoleonic Wars. Hornblower, newly in command of his first ship of the line is on his way to Spain with a ragtag, brutish crew. All their seamanship and all of Hornblower's ingenuity are demanded when the "Sutherland" takes on four French men-of-war.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 1st 1969 by Penguin Putnam~mass (first published 1938)
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Mike (the Paladin)
I read many of these books years ago and have started reading the ones I missed...or don't recall all that well, "chronological order". That is as Hornblower's life progresses.

Here Captain Hornblower is in command of his first *ship of the line.

*Note: A ship of the line was a war ship of at least 2 decks of guns. It was called a "ship of the line" from the tactic or strategy of running "your" ships in a line across the stern of the enemy thus allowing "your" **broadside to be fired into the rea
I'm tempted to take away a star for the cliff hanger ending, but otherwise it was as good as all the others. As a captain of a ship of the line, 74 guns, Hornblower has plenty of opportunities to strut his stuff. Lots of action.

While the manning of ships has been mentioned before, a special point is made of it this time. The gov't didn't give Hornblower enough men any more than they provided uniforms or many other things. They simply expected the captain of the ship to properly crew his ship, al
Re-reading the Hornblower books. I don’t like this one quite as well as Beat to Quarters. It’s an interesting read, and the naval stuff is fascinating, but this is terribly bleak.

It begins with Hornblower desperate to get away from the wife he dislikes, grumpy because Lady Barbara got married, and depressed because he can’t legally kidnap enough men to fully man the miserable ship he now commands. There’s a cheerful (if bloodthirsty) section in the middle where he harasses the French along the S
It's good to see that the amount of bare flesh on display in the TV series is based firmly in book-canon. I feel like Hornblower and the Eighth Doctor would get on well, what with their carefree attitude to nudity. (Yes, I am focusing on the important parts of the book, dammit.)

One day I shall make a graph with 'Chronological Progression Through Hornblower Series' on the X-axis and 'Urge to Give Hornblower a Slap and a Damn Good Talking To About Personal Relationships' on the Y-axis. Then I sha
Nancy Ellis
I certainly am learning more about the Napoleonic Wars than I ever knew I wanted to know!! Already 17 years going, the French still have control of the coast of Spain. Hornblower is now under the command of Admiral Leighton....not the brightest crayon in the box.....who also happens to be the new husband of Lady Barbara, Horatio's flame. Horatio still has the hots for her, even though he has vowed to remain faithful to his wife Maria, who of course is pregnant again. Understandably, Horatio is h ...more
Dec 10, 2011 K. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: naval adventure lovers
Initial fyi: my main purpose in reviewing these books is not with adults in mind, but for the parents or adult friends of reading children.

While this is full of adventure and amazing action, I am finding that so far I like the books in the series that were written later, rather than earlier. This was the 2nd Hornblower book written and it follows the precedent of "Beat to Quarters"...a little more violent and in my opinion Hornblower is allowed to dwell too much on his feelings for a certain som
I might have written before about the fascination I have with the sailing ships of a bygone age, but reading this book has rekindled my wonder at the mastery of the art of naval warfare as it was practiced in the so-called "Age of Sail". Again and again I am awestruck at the huge accumulation of knowledge required to command a single ship effectively, and how worthless individual lives seemed to be when ships faced off against each other in combat at sea. This particular novel is an account of H ...more
Mike Franklin
This book is a million miles away from my more normal preference for Science Fiction and yet I was extremely impressed by it. I came to it from my love of David Weber’s Honor Harrington books which openly acknowledge their debt to Forester and Horatio Hornblower, and I was not disappointed. This was a well-paced naval adventure that has the reader cheering Hornblower on along with his crew. Okay, so the reality that such a humane and considerate naval captain could even exist in those days of fl ...more
Based on other reviews, this might not have been the best Hornblower novel to make my first. I found the main character fascinating even in the things that made him annoying--he's astonishingly vain in the sense of ALWAYS being horrifically aware of the image he's presenting. Is he being commanding enough? Do the men respect him? Is he cutting exactly the right kind of figure? His dislike of his wife is based almost entirely on a feeling that she's not properly elegant and impressive for a capta ...more
Will Todd
This review is for the complete 11-book series of THE HORNBLOWER SAGA by C.S. Forester, which I just finished reading last night.

[Note: Individual books have individual star ratings (mostly 5-star, a few 4-star), but the descriptive review will be the same for each, and encompass the entire series, as follows.]

Actually, I just finished reading the complete series for the second time, the first being as a teenager some 30 years ago.

It's remarkable to me that I have only just this moment realized
Greg Deane
“Ship of the Line” by CS Forester is more than a swashbuckling tale of adventure in the Mediterranean. Here. Horatio Hornblower enters into command of a third rate battleship as a senior post-captain, on HMS Sutherland. The loneliness of command is now full upon him. He is willing to take his part in the Napoleonic Wars in an old, unweatherly 74-gun ship with a crew of 600 or more and a group of lieutenants each with his own problems that interfere with his ability to carry out his duties object ...more
K.M. Weiland
This is a rip-roaring naval adventure from start to finish, no mistake. But I also find it one of the most problematic in the Hornblower series. For one thing, the action seems much more episodic (and, as a result, much more easily resolved) than in previous installments. But the big concern is that Hornblower is perhaps at his most unlikable in this book. His deeply flawed character has always been one of his most intriguing aspects. But here, he crosses the line into self-absorbed whining, IMO ...more
I have never heard the Horatio Hornblower books referred to anti-war books. Therefore I don't believe it was the author's intention that battle scenes came across as effective illustrations of the senseless slaughter that occurs during war.

This was the first Hornblower novel that I have ever read. I have seen some of the movies starring Ioan Gruffudd. As I would expect, I was taken much more deeply into the mind of Hornblower in the novel. His character has many admirable qualities, although my
Julian Cribb
Hornblower was the first of the modern genre of Nelsonian naval heroes, and one of the best. Tortured, self-critical, congenitally shy, but a lion in battle, he's an unlikely hero in many ways - but an enjoyable one, with plenty of human flaws as well as military cunning.
These are probably the best books of the series. The Happy Return was the first one Forester wrote and is an interesting study of the problems of command and communication in the days when it took half a year for a letter to rea
Another Horatio Hornblower novel. (Actually, it’s I think it’s the second he wrote but I have been reading them in chronological order.)

I originally thought these were kids books – probably because of the old Gregory Peck movie. (Young adults would certain enjoy them. They are very well written.) Reading the thoughts of this Captain – a leader of men, a warrior, a tactician, etc. – is fascinating

His ship, the HMS Sutherland was captured from the Dutch and now in the Royal Navy. It’s rather unga
Summary: Hornblower finally gets a big ship to command and knows what to do with it.

Things I liked:

The way the character sizes up the other characters, some people would see this as cheap exposition, but I think it tells you a lot about Hornblowers view of the world and is not just a plot device.

The way the author keeps managing to find new challenges for the character no matter where he is in the chain of command. Not just more of the same.

Things I thought could be improved:

Cliffhangers I
Hornblower is so hilarious as a character. He is so stoic and sharp on the outside, yet terribly self-conscious on the inside. He literally thinks his next steps out in his head to appear more badass than he actually feels. Adorkable ain't the word!
I honestly can't tell you exactly when I read these, but I can tell you it was during my excruciatingly horrible years of high school. While others were doing the classic high school stuff, I would loose myself in the world of Horatio Hornblower, fighting alongside him against the Napoleon era French troops, against the Atlantic gales, and even the illnesses brought to bear in the stories. I learned a great deal about the Napoleonic wars reading these books, which sparked my interest in all thin ...more
Appointed to a commission in a large ship of the line under Admiral Leighton (Mucho Pomposo) who also happens to be the newly married husband of Lady Barbara, much to Horatio's anguish, our hero must first man his new command, a Dutch built ship of shallow draft and rounded lines, not the sharp prowed English ship. Worried about how it will handle, how he can possibly get enough men to man it, and worried about Maria meeting Lady Barbara at a dinner they accepted an invitation to.

This is a tale
Joe Johnston
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angie Bollard
Another great Hornblower book. As Andy would say. Dude could write.
Not the best of the Hornblower series, but entertaining enough in parts. Strangely enough, I enjoyed the beginning and end the most and found the middle to be rather unremarkable.

The opening chapters deal with Hornblower's troubles in getting his ship ready to sail and for some strange reason I actually enjoyed these chapters. It also deals rather briefly with his relationship with his wife, but it's mostly about his struggles in getting his ship ready to sail, and his inner doubts about how th
Once again, Hornblower shows that he truly lacks a moral compass, doing whatever is expedient regardless of the law or even abstract justice. And the same fixation on appearances and formality, fuelled by a deep-seated fear that he would lose the respect of his subordinates if he were to be his natural self. Everything with Hornblower is a denial of his authentic nature in order to build up a facade of what he thinks a captain (or a gentleman, or a man, generally) should be.

Once you get past the
Good. The action and the story are told well.

Horatio is a fighting man, but no leader in his home, like Nelson and the author. We cannot measure men solely by their virtues and these novels are teachable in that no amount of vigilance in duty and bravery can wash away unfaithfulness to your wife. This is a novel, but their popularity among men is problematic if the fun they give is not balanced with the honest truth. They offer two lessons.

Horatio is a fictitious character based on the real cu
This book is the sixth of the Hornblower saga. He is now in command of the Sutherland that has been ordered to assist in the Mediterranean in the hope of harassing Bonaparte's souther shores. Many of the Hornblower exploits, as outlandish as they often seem, are actually based on the true accomplishments of Lord Cochrane whose biography I read several years ago. Sometime the adventures take an amusing turn.

The captain and a group of volunteers take the captain's barge ashore after spying a Fren
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 23, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Historical Fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Kenji
Hornblower was the inspiration for Star Trek's Captain James Kirk, as well as Cornwell's Sharpe. Hornblower is more cerebral and socially awkward than Kirk (or O'Brien's Aubrey), more educated and refined than Sharpe. In his own right, Hornblower is certainly an engaging and complex character and the series is an interesting study in leadership, and a fascinating portrait of life at sea in the Age of Sail during the Napoleonic wars.

I think the best books in the series run from Hornblower and th
It's Hornblower. Whaddya want?

The Hornblower Saga really comes down to the main three, and I think first three novels. Beat to Quarters (or The Happy Return), this novel and Flying Colors. The last two even could have been published as one story. FC picks up very soon after SotL ends. The books before and after (except for the stories that comprise Mr Midshipman Hornblower) just aren't as good, and the continuity is lacking in some of them. Sure, Commodore and Admiral are great stories, but by
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in July 1998.

Re-reading A Ship of the Line is like encountering an old friend; it must be getting on for twenty years since I last read any of the Hornblower series. I was prepared for the book not to appeal, or not to match up to the other Napoleonic navy novels I've read in the meantime.

I was more impressed than ever, and it has become clear why Forester set the standard that every historical naval writer has had to live up to since. He does not ignore the
russell barnes
Jan 28, 2012 russell barnes rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paul Murphy
I'd spotted this before Christmas in the window of Slightly Foxed Books on Gloucester Road, and coveted it in a way you only can when you see a Hornblower you've never read. What tales of derring-do have did my 13 year-old self miss out? How did Horatio become an Admiral and when did he get married?

Well some questions are answered, and curiouser and curiouser, A Ship of the Line presents a much more 'adult' version of the earlier books I remembered. He's taciturn and grim, driven and mean, rathe
Hornblower gets promoted to the command of the 74-gun Sutherland, and departs for the Mediterranean, where he is part of a squadron commanded by Admiral Sir Percy Leighton. Hornblower has two issues with Leighton: first, that he's kind of an idiot, and second, that he has just married Lady Barbara. Hornblower acts as independently as he can along the French and Spanish coasts -- to the annoyance of Sir Percy, though Hornblower's tactical decisions are typically brilliant. At the end of the book, ...more
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  • The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A Biography of C. S. Forester's Famous Naval Hero
Cecil Scott Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith, an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of adventure and military crusades. His most notable works were the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series, about naval warfare during the Napoleonic era, and The African Queen (1935; filmed in 1951 by John Huston). His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded t ...more
More about C.S. Forester...

Other Books in the Series

Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #1)
  • Lieutenant Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #2)
  • Hornblower and the Hotspur (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #3)
  • Hornblower During the Crisis (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #4)
  • Hornblower and the Atropos (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #5)
  • Beat to Quarters (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #6)
  • Flying Colours (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #8)
  • Commodore Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #9)
  • Lord Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #10)
  • Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #11)
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #1) Lieutenant Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #2) Beat to Quarters (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #6) Hornblower and the Hotspur (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #3) The African Queen

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“I did not ask for objections, but for comments, or helpful suggestions. I looked for more loyalty from you, Captain Hornblower.'

That made the whole argument pointless. If Leighton only wanted servile agreement there was no sense in continuing...”
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