Jennifer's Reviews > Ship of the Line

Ship of the Line by C.S. Forester
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Jun 10, 10

Read from June 01 to 10, 2010

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 captain's wife, and his mooning after Lady Barbara seems mostly based on a feeling that she would ornament his arm well. Horatio's vanity, self-doubt and introspection--almost morbid introspection--are annoying at times, but it really does save the book from being a fairly generic action adventure on the high seas. With Hornblower such an odd and complex character, the action is augmented by his personality in a way that a more traditional active character might not have done. The book gives such a vivid picture of life and combat on the high seas, it was very gripping. And it ends on a massive cliffhanger--I sat there vainly clicking "next page" on my reader for a while in disbelief, lol. It was fun and interesting and apparently this is Hornblower at his most annoying, so I'm looking forward to reading some of the others!
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