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Commodore Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #9)

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  4,604 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
In this ninth volume in the Hornblower series, the incomparable Horatio Hornblower, recently knighted and settled in as squire of the village of Smallbridge, has been designated commodore of his own squadron of ships, led by the two-decker "Nonsuch" and bound for the Baltic. It is 1812, and Hornblower has been ordered to do anything and everything possible, diplomatically ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published December 28th 1992 by Amereon (first published 1945)
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Master and Commander by Patrick O'BrianCourage by Robert    CarterPost Captain by Patrick O'BrianHornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. ForesterH.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian
Historical Naval Fiction
22nd out of 119 books — 106 voters
Secrets of the Realm by Bev StoutTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules VerneMoby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman MelvilleMaster and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Maritime Classics
19th out of 117 books — 84 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mr. Matt
Aug 19, 2015 Mr. Matt rated it liked it
Horatio Hornblower is recouping in the pastoral English countryside, enjoying - or trying to enjoy - his forced time on shore with his wife and child. He finds life away from the sea dull and grinding. He has to answer to his wife, convention and his neighbors. A poor comparison with life as lord and master on an English ship of the line. How fortunate it is then that Hornblower receives an urgent summons by the Admiralty. He is requested and commanded to sail for the Baltic to harass the French ...more
This story marks a major turning point for Captain Sir Horatio Hornblower, in more ways than one can count. He is no longer young, no longer poor, no longer trapped in a bad marriage. For the first time, he is based in the chill waters of the Baltic Sea. And for the first time, he is truly calling all the shots, in charge of his own flotilla and given a free hand by the Admiralty.

But there is a price to all this advancement. While the complex politics of a Baltic teetering on the brink are quite
Jun 02, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent addition to the series. As Commodore, Hornblower has more ships under his command & bigger problems to deal with. Napoleon is marching on Moscow & Hornblower has to disrupt the French armies around the Baltic & protect England's allies - if he can figure out who they are. The politics are complicated since many of Napoleon's allies aren't really. They're just unable to oppose him while others are in uneasy states of neutrality. It was very interesting from a politic ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 22, 2015 Mike (the Paladin) rated it really liked it
Having finally advanced beyond the finical problems that have dogged him from his days as a midshipman. Now he's married Lady Barbra and moved on now as a well known hero of the British nation.

I like these books and recommend you start this journey from it's beginning with Hornblower as a young midshipman.
K.M. Weiland
Mar 29, 2015 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it
I think this is my favorite Hornblower book. I don’t know if that’s just because it’s been a while since I’ve read the others (they do all kind of run together in my memory), or because this one seemed much tighter and more cohesive than many of them. I also loved the setting: we don’t generally read too much about the British Navy in the Baltic or in Russia during the Napoleonic wars, so it was a pleasure to learn about that.

My delight in this volume might also have resulted from sheer comparis
Jim Puskas
Feb 20, 2016 Jim Puskas rated it really liked it
Arguably the best of the series, presenting the mature Hornblower in what becomes his most far-reaching adventure, culminating in his key role in the defense of Riga against Napoleon's armies, stalling their attempt to march on St. Petersburg. This book has all the attributes that make Hornblower such an intriguing figure -- resourcefulness, determination, ability to act decisively in a crisis. Above all, he's depicted as the complete man, beset by self-doubts about his own character, especially ...more
russell barnes
Mar 04, 2012 russell barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paul Murphy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Ellis
Jun 06, 2015 Nancy Ellis rated it it was amazing
Hornblower is a hero, but he does not see things that way. It's interesting that he is exceptionally brave, an excellent seaman and commander, and is admired, even loved, by all who serve under his command. Yet in his own mind, he is a fraud. He thinks of himself truly as a coward who merely puts on a show of bravery and tries to hide his insecurity and low self-esteem with a mask of coldness and/or indifference. By this book, though, he is finally beginning to loosen up a bit and realizes that ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 23, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
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, 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.

This book catches Hornblower at an interesting time in his life and career--after, seemingly, he's gotten everyt
May 14, 2008 Curtiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I recorded all of C.S. Forester's Hornblower books in 50-55 minute episodes for Golden Hours, my local radio service for blind and reading-impaired listeners. Too bad I didn't make CD copies for myself, since the radio station broadcast the tape versions and then erased them too reuse.

I guess I'll have to re-record them for Golden Hours and this time keep a copy.

I have read and re-read the entire Hornblower series over a dozens times each, three times aloud: once from the upper bunk to my brothe
Aug 20, 2008 Tom rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young people looking for adventure
Shelves: adventure, boys, nautical
This is the eighth (or ninth) book of the Hornblower saga written by C.S. Forester and my favorite of the series.

Hornblower's personal and financial well being are finally settled and he devotes himself fully to the business of war against France. He takes command of a small fleet of ship as a Commodore and has wide latitude to carry out his plans.

In this book we see Hornblower at his military peak and unfettered by the commmands of other men.

This was originally my favorite of the novels when I
Jul 25, 2015 Larry rated it really liked it
In chronological order, this is the 9th Hornblower book. (It’s getting near the end of the series and I’m already not look forward to it.) As usual, the book is VERY well written.

It’s now “Sir” Horatio Hornblower and member of the chivalrous Order of the Bath. (This is big stuff!) He’s married to Lady Barbra too. He’s got it all going for him as a Commodore. Even his always faithful Bush is now the Captain of his 74-gun ship of the line flagship. Listening to the thoughts of Hornblower continue
Aug 05, 2014 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Napoleon is threatening Russia, having conquered the European countries. There is still some skirmishing in Spain but Bonaparte's sights are now set toward Asia. Hornblower is elevated to Commodore and given command of a squadron headed for the Baltic to try to stave off the entrance of Russia and Sweden into the war on the French side.

The Baltic, a landlocked sea but for the narrow strait between Denmark and Sweden, has no fleet in occupation. There is just one privateer taking prizes, commande
Aug 19, 2015 Dyana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am almost at the end of this series and will miss reading about Horatio Hornblower. This is the 9th in this historical fiction series. Since I'm not a history buff, this book was simple enough in the explanation of the Napoleonic era for me to understand the ramifications of what was going on during Hornblower's military exploits.

The beginning of the book finds Captain Horatio Hornblower getting ready for a ceremony to mark his next phase of life on land. He has become Squire of the small vill
Sep 16, 2016 George rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
Hornblower is called to duty in the Baltic during the summer of 1812 to keep an eye on their French enemies and woo the Russians. Adventures abound. A turning point in his life, mature with far reaching duties, he's successful in the mission. This book is more about the political than the running of the ship; an appropriate place and time for him to be. The battles are necessary, but a little tedious...especially the ones fought on the ground. Yes, Horatio finds himself aground for a significant ...more
Mike Franklin
An excellent book and my first five star read since the early summer. Probably my favourite of the series so far. Promoted to Commodore and given his first flag mission (in command of other captains) Hornblower travels to the Baltic just before and during Napoleon’s disastrous Russian campaign. I think one of the features of this book is how much more alive Forester has made the history; the previous books are, of course, all set against the real history of the Napoleonic wars but the actual his ...more
Will Todd
Oct 17, 2011 Will Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hornblower
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
Richard Palmer
Sep 29, 2013 Richard Palmer rated it liked it
I had enjoyed tremendously 'Captain Hornblower', which is the
predecessor to 'Commodore Hornblower' in the series. In that
one, Hornblower actually spends most of his time hiding incognito
in France. There seemed to be much richer description and
development of the emotions inside the man, and it still managed
to be quite an adventurous story.

With this volume, I was initially quite disappointed. It seemed
that Forester had jumped the shark, that he was revisiting tired
old caricatures and worn out phra
Jun 05, 2015 Mattias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kommendör Hornblower är en av de senare böckerna i serien om Horatio Hornblower. Böckerna utspelar sig under Napoleonkrigen, och det som gör den här boken lite extra intressant är att den utspelar sig i Östersjön med Sverige som en av de stora aktörerna. Förutom en intressant historisk inblick innehåller boken samma slags berättelse som gör Forester så stor som författare. Det är spännande, detaljerat, men samtidigt väldigt lättillgängligt. En av de bättre böckerna i en redan bra serie.
Elizabeth S
Feb 12, 2011 Elizabeth S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hornblower is made a commodore (obviously) and sent to cruise the Baltic in 1812. Politics are tricky as Sweden and Russia (who usually fight each other) are both on the fence about war with Napoleon. Hornblower must tread (sail) carefully to avoid alienating these powers in the hopes that they will both side with England against France.

I very much enjoyed the sea battles, the clever strategy, the intertwining of real historical events and figures with the fictional Hornblower. A book both excit
Feb 11, 2014 Ben rated it really liked it
Summary: Another great Hornblower book

Things I liked:

Historical setting made more interested in Napoleonic history.
Hornblowers reflections and horror of war while at the same time engaging in it.
Hornblower goodness.

Things I thought could be improved:

Ended too abruptly. Quite a few loose ends.


(view spoiler)
Aug 02, 2009 Penny rated it liked it
Hornblower is promoted to Commodore and sent to the Baltic. It's a new environment for the series, and Hornblower's challenges are as much political as military.

All Hornblower books are worth reading, but this is one of the lesser works. There are not many naval complications -- the British fleet is clearly superior to anything else in the Baltic. Where they do come up against another ship, like the lone French ship they isolate and bombard, hard not to feel bad for the enemy.

One odd thing abo
Steven Bragg
Apr 14, 2016 Steven Bragg rated it it was amazing
C. S. Forester set a standard for seafaring adventure that has rarely been equaled (and only by the Aubrey/Maturin series). This Commodore book is not quite as good as the core trilogy, mostly because it is essentially comprised of a series of mini-adventures, rather than one complete story. Nonetheless, the psychology of Hornblower is as carefully drawn as ever, at a level you just don't see in more recent books.
Jan 15, 2016 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
This is the fourth Hornblower book I've read (I've read books six through nine so far), and while it was not my favorite, Hornblower continues to be one of my favorite characters in all fiction. I found the location of this story (the Baltic sea) to be particularly interesting, particularly because I have spent time in two of the cities (Riga and Konigsberg, which is now Kaliningrad, Russia).

Re-read: 25 Nov 15
Oct 05, 2016 William rated it liked it
A wildly improbable but fun book. Good descriptions of life aboard a British fighting ship during the Napoleonic wars. Some interesting descriptions of the Baltic of that time. The heroics of Hornblower were way out of proportion but meant to be as that was the nature of the series. To read one of the Hornblower saga about every 10 years is probably enough!
A thrilling and taut first half, but the second half loses focus and tension. Promising subplots are abandoned at the midpoint, and the rest becomes predictable. Feels almost like two different books haphazardly joined. Forester still visits some dark places, and the continued development of Hornblower's character is impressive. Overall a lesser entry in the series.
Todd Gutschow
May 06, 2016 Todd Gutschow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Commodore Hornblower Continues to Entertain...

I thought, perhaps, the series would begin to run down now that it's near the end and Hornblower has reached the rank of Commodore. Not at all. Each new exploit brings about continued insight into the British Navy in the 1800s with storytelling that is truly a pleasure to read.
Apr 05, 2016 Kathie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cs-forester
The Commodore finds himself as negotiator, ambassador of sorts, and ground troops leader. Not so much second guessing of himself this time - a welcome relief. And amazing feats of seamanship! Is it really possible for two lighters to raise a ship out of the water so that all three can enter the shallows a mere few feet deep?
Peter Krol
Oct 22, 2015 Peter Krol rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Hornblower remains a fascinating character, even as he takes command of a squadron of ships on mission in the Baltic. However, I found the plot too slow, and it was a bit of a slog to get through this one. And Hornblower's affinity for women detracts drastically from his heroism.

I'm fascinated by the depth of Hornblower's musings and the ways he is easily misunderstood by other characters. For this reason, I'm still eager to finish the series to see how he develops.

Here's a sample from Commodore
Mark Wilson
Mar 13, 2014 Mark Wilson rated it liked it
My least favorite of the books so far. This book seems to make Hornblower the improbable hero far too often and too easily. Rather than merely be a small cog in a large machine, he is now the one critical part of all kinds of situations, up to and including getting the Prussian army to surrender, basically single-handed. I'm glad his personal situation has gotten to a good place, but the professional exploits were just too much for me.
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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
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)
  • Ship of the Line (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #7)
  • Flying Colours (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #8)
  • Lord Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #10)
  • Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #11)

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