Jennifer's Reviews > Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C.S. Forester
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's review
Dec 14, 2011

really liked it
Read from December 14 to 20, 2011

The next Hornblower book in written order skips back to the very beginning of Horatio's career, where his self-doubt, sensitivity, and perverse desire to find the bad in good situations and the good in bad situations seem more understandable in a nineteen-year-old than a sixty-year-old. Don't get me wrong, I think it's very realistic that he would have much the same personality all his life, but the reader (well, this reader) can't help but want to slap him a bit when he's still doing it well after middle-age.

This is largely a set of vignettes with no overarching theme beyond the beginning of Hornblower's rise to fame and fortune, but what wonderful vignettes! Each of them has some action-packed moment or touch of humor or character (the daft sailor who sees God in the rigging, the low-class Duchess, the vivid description of oared galleys, the fire-ship raid) that makes them memorable, so each captures the attention, thrills, and then wraps up. Even though written later than many books in the series, I think this would make a good starting point to Hornblower's character, and Forester's prose seems at the top of its game.

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