Commodore Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #9)
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Commodore Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #9)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  3,226 ratings  ·  83 reviews

These thrilling tales of high-seas adventure in the Napoleonic era, which Winston Churchill found "vastly entertaining" and Ernest Hemingway recommended to "every literate I know", are being eagerly embraced by a new generation of readers. Back Bay takes pleasure in reissuing these classic tales in handsome new trade paperback editions.
— The Hornblower renaissance is in fu

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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published December 28th 1992 by Amereon (first published 1945)
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Courage by Robert    CarterMaster and Commander by Patrick O'BrianPost Captain by Patrick O'BrianH.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'BrianHornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. Forester
Historical Naval Fiction
21st out of 113 books — 91 voters
Secrets of the Realm by Bev StoutTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonMaster and Commander by Patrick O'BrianTwenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules VerneMoby-Dick by Herman Melville
Maritime Classics
15th out of 79 books — 61 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Forrest
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...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 23, 2010 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
russell barnes
Mar 04, 2012 russell barnes rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paul Murphy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom
Aug 20, 2008 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young people looking for adventure
Shelves: adventure, nautical, boys
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...more
Shari
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...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...more
Richard Palmer
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...more
Elizabeth S
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...more
Ben
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.

Highlight:

(view spoiler)
Penny
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...more
Mark Wilson
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.
Curtiss
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...more
Cathy Houston
another ripping sea yarn in the Hornblower series; Hornblower's Baltic Sea exploits, Hornblower convincing the Czar to fight Napoleon; but most remarkable is Hornblower commanding his vessel in action while standing naked on his Quarterdeck has to be unique in literature
Jennifer
Hornblower continues to be a fascinating character even as his rank increases--maybe more so, as his dissatisfaction with life in general is even more interesting given that now he has everything he's claimed he ever wanted.

This book is much more concerned with diplomacy and politics than earlier books, which makes sense considering that instead of being a captain focused on carrying out orders, he's now in a position to give orders--and to fret about that as well. The siege of Riga is well-desc...more
Vickey Foggin
Commodore Hornblower faces heightened responsibility in the Baltic and near impossible objectives to undermine Napoleon, which he naturally achieves with stoicism and derring-do.
Siria
Probably one of the more interesting of the series, historically speaking, given that it is set in Russia and the Baltic during one of the key periods of the Napoleonic wars. The battle scenes are well-described, and thankfully Horatio isn't in the company of women for too long, so the descriptions of women throwing themselves at him because of his repressed, stoic manly heroism are at a minimum. The more mature, chronologically speaking, Horatio becomes, though, the more he grates at me.

All tha...more
James
Another good one! Hornblower's life progresses and he finds himself in some altogether different escapades. Entertaining!
Illuminated
An opening that I love to bits and lots of action in the Baltics. That's how I love my Hornblower novels.

My second time with the wonderful The Commodore. This time without the pressure of needing to know how it ends.

I read the book several years ago at university (borrowed it from the library). I don't remember which language the copy was in. German or English? Definitely it was very very old and full of dust. Yet quite charming.

I tend to like Hornblower books and this one is one of the best of...more
Mike
This book is the fourth in the series of Horatio Hornblower books. He has been recalled to active duty and put in charge of a squadron in the Baltic to provide encouragement and assistance to the Russians and Swedes during the Napoleonic wars, including the French army's retreat from Russia. By coincidence, I read this right after finishing War and Peace, so I kept looking for common names and events.

This was a fun book to read. If you liked any of the Hornblower novels/movies you'll like this.
Phil
Historically, this novel deals with Napoleon's fatal invasion of Russia and of course our good 'ole Hornblower saving the day in his usual modest and unassuming greatness and typical heroics. I've never really read anything in depth on these wars and definitely haven't heard mush outside of the mainstream battles and highlights of the wars, so it was interesting to have this story take place in the old Baltic town of Riga; and also since we see some of the action on land instead of on the sea.
Jim
One of the best of C.S. Forester's series of seafaring tales of the Napoleonic era, COMMODORE HORNBLOWER follows the newly-knighted Horatio Hornblower into the Baltic Sea where he attempts to help stave off the siege of the port of Riga. While fully up to the level of excitement and flavorsome detail of the previous Hornblower novels, this one contains some of Forester's best writing. The last five or six pages are simply wonderful. The whole book is a joy and a thrill to read.
Pete
kind of slept on in the Hornblower cosmological schema. One of the few in the set where Hornblower, as an officer of the line, still is like a scheming SOB. Also prominently involved in this shit is the maritime defense of Riga (Latvia) a bomb ketch, some kind of abandoned church. Mercifully short on his love affair with Barbara as i recall. If you made it this far, keep going. I mean, they're all pretty good, but this one stands out among the second half of HH's career. Whatever.
Rosemary
Great story, as usual. Commodore Hornblower seems to be more comfortable in his skin, which is a refreshing turn of events. This book lacks the strong undercurrent of anxiety, which is so central to those before it. Quite refreshing.

I also found myself looking (more than ever) at maps as I read this. Although the place names listed in the book aren't conventional anymore, google maps had no trouble pointing me to the correct places. (Gotta love google!)
Christina Dudley
Another wonderful Hornblower adventure, this time in the Baltic as Napoleon attempts to push into Russia. No one's mastery of historical fiction matches Forester's--he gives you the details without explanation or apology so that you are transported to 1812, right onto the deck of the Nonsuch with its crew. If you don't know what he's talking about, go look it up! I went and got out the atlas myself to see where they were sailing, and that's all as it should be.
Zach
This was the most unfocused and weakest of the Horatio Hornblower novels that I've read so far. At times, it seemed like more of a history lesson than a riveting adventure story. That said, it did contain a lot of information about Napoleonic Europe and sailing. I did find that interesting, along with the story's captivating hero, Horatio Hornblower. In the end, I suppose I prefer Hornblower commanding a single ship as opposed to a flotilla of ships.
Mark Muckerman
All of my Hornblower reviews are identical: simply a MUST READ. There are deeper, more detailed, and longer books (fictional and non-) about the period and the characters, but I've never found a book (much less a series) as captivating in character, rich in action, accurate in historical context, yet still with depth of character to make a reader care about the individuals as Forester's Hornblower books. I've read each again, and again, and again.
Rob Towell
These books are pretty fun high energy action books.
Pros
High Energy Action
Fun nautical adventure during the age of sail (Napoleonic Wars)

Cons [spoilers]
Highly inconsistent, often jumping from one scene to another without the filling logic.
Timeline inconsistencies.
A couple books end on strange notes leaving you thinking what? And are then not resolved. For example Commodore left me wondering is he tired, does he have plague or what?
Wayne
This book continues the excellent Hornblower series. Horatio is made the commodore of a small group of ships and is sent to the Baltic. It's his job to disrupt Napoleon's northern campaigns and try to keep Russia from allying with France. There's lots of good ship action, as well as some political and land maneuvering.

As much as I enjoyed this book, this puts me only two books away from the end of the series.
Nicola
This book takes Hornblower to a new part of the world and into contact with countries on the brink of war - but whether it's war with Britain or France is the tricky line that Hornblower has to walk and negotiate. I enjoyed the fact there are interesting and very different tasks for him to tackle in this story. Yet another of the Hornblower series that is very difficult to put down!
Lizzy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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...
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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