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The Gun

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  278 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
It is the time of Napoleon. The place is Spain, where his troops are busy propping up Joseph, Napoleon's brother, as king. Spaniards hate a master, and rebel. They fight a desperate, protracted, bitter and merciless guerilla war.

Into the hands of a guerilla band falls a remarkable cannon, an 18-pounder that transforms the rebels into a besieging army. With the gun they red

Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 12th 2005 by Cassell (first published 1933)
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43rd out of 221 books — 180 voters
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44th out of 96 books — 112 voters

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Community Reviews

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Greg Deane
Jun 06, 2013 Greg Deane rated it really liked it
Forester’s “The Gun” is a brief but well-crafted tale from the pen a storyteller who obviously had a deep knowledge of the Napoleonic Wars, most particularly the sea war, which he portrays through his hero, Horatio Hornblower. But here, he also shows a mastery of the conditions of the Spanish peasantry and guerrillas who fought against the French invaders during the Iberian Peninsula War. Written in 1933, the book may have served as a model for Ernest Hemingway’s “For whom the Bell tolls”.

The g
Jul 26, 2012 Peter rated it liked it
A few years ago I read Forester's Hornblower series of books and thoroughly enjoyed them so when I was given this book I was very enthusiastic about reading it. Sadly I was a somewhat disappointed with it.

The book is the story of an old ornate artillery piece abandonned by the defeated regular Spanish Army, during their battle against the French during the Peninsula War, which is found and pressed into service by freedom fighters as they attempt to harry the French rearguard. Before discovering
Dec 22, 2010 John rated it did not like it
Wow, is this a boring narrative written for the post WWII adolescent market. All narrative, little dramatic story telling. The main character is a giant bronze gun that Spanish partisans use to slaughter the French Infantry. Forester wrote a bad story, yet, nevertheless, he really knows how to tell a story. Skip this one.
A classic of military historical fiction, an old school good book. Forester influenced Bernard Cornwall in writing Sharpe, but Forester's books, though fewer, are better.
Toms Murnieks
Jan 11, 2013 Toms Murnieks rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like historical stories
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosemary Forester
After the richness of the Hornblower series, I found this story somewhat dry. There just was not enough energy in it. The star of the story is a big bronze eighteen-pounder cannon that Spanish guerrillas steal from French forces during the Peninsular War. The effects that The Gun has on the lives of the freedom fighters is a study but I never became highly enthusiastic.
Jim Puskas
Dec 03, 2015 Jim Puskas rated it it was ok
Those who have enjoyed some of Forester's more popular works, notably the Hornblower series will probably be a bit disappointed in this book, set in Spain during the Napoleonic occupation and having almost no naval content. The main characters are sketchily drawn and apart from Jorge, the young guerilla who very quickly "learns on the job" how handle artillery effectively and how to mount a systematic siege, the individuals are not the least bit appealing as people. The story line had potential ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those with an interest in the period
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: LT
* * 1/2

I wavered between 2.5 and 3 stars for this one, but in the end I settled on the description I attribute to my 2.5-star reviews: "Almost liked it, but not quite." At any rate it is probably my least favourite Forester. The story focuses on a big bronze eighteen-pounder cannon that Spanish guerrillas steal from French forces during the Peninsular War and use to great effect on various campaigns. The battle scenes are very well done -- very typically Forester in that regard -- but overall I
Mar 12, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
Mike Walker adapts C S Forester's gripping guerrilla warfare story set in Napoleonic Spain. Made famous by Hollywood as The Pride and the Passion.

Partisan groups under charismatic leaders wage a desperate war in which no quarter is given by either side. The hero of The Gun is the gun itself, a massive 18 pounder that is dragged across the mountains and plains of Spain - an epic task. Throughout the story, the gun changes the lives of those who fight each other to the death in order to gain contr
Jul 31, 2014 Nate rated it liked it
Shelves: saw-ay-14-15
An interesting discussion of the Spanish insurgency against Bonaparte. The Gun provides a link between several different types of insurgents in a way that probably would never happen in reality, but it exposes to the reader to the undertones of the insurgency in a unique way.
Apr 21, 2014 Glen rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story ... I remember the film ... Think it was called the 'Pride and the Passion' ...
Edward Rosenfeld
Mar 15, 2014 Edward Rosenfeld rated it really liked it
They made a rather mediocre motion picture of this book staring Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra.....
Fernando G.
Jan 22, 2014 Fernando G. rated it did not like it
The idea of making a gun as the main character was quite good and in my opinion innovative. However, I found the characters (human ones) quite plain and flat. I did not like the book actually too much. I found it quite boring.
Tom Davies
Jan 14, 2011 Tom Davies rated it really liked it
A short, gritty Peninsular War novel, similar in subject matter to Death to the French. A good read if you ever find yourself thinking that war could be glamourous -- in fact almost any C. S. Forester is an antidote.
Colin Powell
Nov 24, 2013 Colin Powell rated it really liked it
Set in Spain during the Napoleonic Peninsula War. This book started off a little slow but held my interest. It gradually got more exciting as it went on.
Dec 23, 2011 Rosemary rated it liked it
A book thought provoking read. Not exactly my kind of book and yet I found myself unable to put it down until I'd finished it.
May 21, 2011 Vincent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read so long ago - seems it is only available in hardbound now - try the library - great human struggle book - in a war
DNF - I got through the first 110 pages but it was a struggle so I gave up. Too many other books were calling.
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Brazilliant Laura!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An almost documentary style look at guerrilla warfare in Spain during the Napoleonic War.
Aug 26, 2014 Chrisl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite Forester Napoleon era novels. Have reread multiple times.
Carey Combe
Mar 13, 2011 Carey Combe rated it it was ok
Not my kind of thing - too much fighting!
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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
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