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Hornblower During the Crisis (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order #4)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  4,194 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews

Although unfinished at the time of C. S. Forester's death, Hornblower During the Crisis delivers a full measure of action at sea-the hallmark of this incomparably exciting series of historical adventures. On the threshold of securing his first post as captain, Hornblower finds himself forced by the exigencies of war to fight alongside a man whom he has unintentionally help

Hardcover, 162 pages
Published January 1st 1967 by Little Brown and Company
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Mr. Matt
My three star rating comes with an enormous asterisk. The author passed away without being able to finish the work. The book - what there is of it - is awesome.

Hornblower leaves the Hotspur. He is promoted to Post-Captain. On the way back to England, he leads a desperate attack on a French frigate. Although the attempt to take the ship fails, some confidential correspondence from the New French Emperor falls into his hands. A couple of weeks later, Hornblower is in Whitehall, meeting with the S
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Superb, if frustrating, final chapter in C.S. Forester's wonderful series of books about British sea officer Horatio Hornblower, HORNBLOWER DURING THE CRISIS is unfinished due to the author's death. Nonetheless, the book is every bit as engaging as the other Hornblower novels, and the author's notes give at least an illusory sense of resolution to the story. Included are two Hornblower short stories, one a tasty bit of mystery, the other a grace note that really ends the saga just as it should e ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
According to the information on the book cover this is the book (actually part of a book) that C.S.Forester was writing when he died. It takes place just after Hornblower left the Hotspur.

It's still a good narrative and I enjoyed it as I have all the Hornblower books. We follow him through the adventure that he ran into just after turning the ship over to it's new commander. Then there are some notes that tell us where the book was planned to go along with another short episode.

So, a "fill in" i
Well read & written - what there was of it. This is the last novel Forester wrote. He was working on it & died with only about a third of it finished. His notes & the rest of the series let us know it turned out alright, of course. As audio books, these are generally 8 or 9 parts of 70 minutes each. This book had 3 such parts for the novel & the last part was 2 short stories "Hornblower's Temptation" (AKA 'Widow McCool') and "The Last Encounter". The first should be read after th ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started in the morning-finished by 3 pm. A short, unfinished story- the last written by Forester. I am trying to read these in chronological order and this takes Hornblower from the day he is relieved of command of Hotspur to getting his full Captainship. The unfinished ending includes the author's notes on how the story will conclude (Hornblower is successful) in his mission to deliver forged documents to bring about the battle and Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. I had to knock off a star becaus ...more
Michael Campbell
What there is of this book is brilliant. The story really picks up speed early on and maintains the fast pace up until the book just stops... I understand that the author died, leaving the book unfinished, but it seems that the best course of action to me would have been to leave the book unpublished.

Perhaps hire a ghost writer to finish the book from the author's notes? It seems to me, the publisher took the least favorable course of action. What there is of the book is grand, but that it sudd
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 4 star rating comes with a caveat: The novel was left unfinished. What was written is marvelous. Ernest Hemingway loved C. S. Forester's writings, and I cannot disagree with Papa.
Simon Mcleish
Mar 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in November 1998.

This posthumously published collection of Hornblower stories includes the last story Forester wrote, which is an incomplete first draft, and the last Hornblower story in their internal chronology. The incomplete story, which fills the bulk of the book and gives it its title, is Forester filling in a gap in Hornblower's past. A newly appointed captain, he captures a ship and takes possession of secret papers from Napoleon, bearing his new seal
Nancy Ellis
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a shame poor Forester died before finishing this was working its way up to a great story! Horatio recovers documents from a French ship which turn out to be of great value to the Royal Navy. The book ends as Horatio agrees to become a spy. What a terrific adventure that would have been! On the up side, Forester left notes as to how he planned to complete the story, so at least we weren't "left hanging" pun intended in relation to the traitor/deserter hanged in one of two sh ...more
Karl Pannike
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have savored these books for the last couple years, not wanting to read them all at once so I could enjoy them as long as possible.
This last book was a perfect conclusion to the Hornblower saga.
I am already sad that I have none left to read.
Marion Vermazen
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread well loved characters
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the last Hornblower novel that Forester wrote; it was unfinished upon his death. However, he did include notes about how the plot would play out. It is typically packaged with two short stories, one from early in Hornblower's career, one from much later (when Hornblower is retired and unwittingly aids the future Napoleon III!). The novel is good; for the first time Hornblower is engaged in espionage, although his conscience is not fully on board. However, as the notes reveal, the secret ...more
This book actually has 3 stories in it. The first has the same name as the book and recounts the time right after Hornblower is recommended for post rank and therefore must leave the Hotspur, but before the rank is confirmed. He languishes for several weeks on a transport ship to England that has bad luck with the wind, is a witness for the court martial of his successor on the Hotspur, and then is headed off to be a spy when the story abruptly ends. Forested did not complete the book before he ...more
This is not a typical full blown Hornblower adventure, but rather a collection of three short stories that take place at different points in the Hornblower chronology. The first of these short stories is longer than the other two combined, and is the closest to the previous (chronological) entries in this series. However, due to the death of C.S. Forester, the story remains incomplete and leaves the reader wanting the conclusion to play out (the story is concluded based on C.S. Forester's notes, ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this book was NOT one he was working on when he died; it is far more likely a book he had started then discarded. Worse was the fact that after the "Authors notes about the ending' they publishing company put in something completely different. The main part of the book has Hornblower waiting to get his Captaincy "written in" [to officially become a Captain] but in the end of the book he is a newly appointed Lieutenant. ......... I am sorry I read this book because it nearly ruined the series for ...more
Bill Tanner
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definately number 4 in chronological order, but then a short story follows (Widow McCool), which goes back to when Hornblower was a signal lieutenant under command of Captain Sawyer.
Confusion in this Penguin Edition as another short story emerges, The Last Encounter, which I have not read as I am trying to keep to chronological order.
I am not sure why this final work was written out of order, was there continued demand for earlier career stories ?
Donna Sundre
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was fairly disjointed. I think Forester died during the writing of this tale. The book was supplemented with the author's notes on the book's finish. there were also two additional chapters with short stories involving our hero. the last one was pretty frivolous, but fun, and had Barbara back again as his wife.

I think I'll go back to some more modern spy novels--or perhaps some Michener...we'll see...
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hornblower
I realize this story is unfinished, but the novel ended at quite a nice point. The short stories were pleasant reads.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Trenier
Don't bother with this one. Just some notes on a book that really do not amount to much.
Will Todd
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
William Bibliomane
Chronologically the fourth of the Hornblower books, this is sadly the final book in order of writing, and Forester died before it was completed. However, enough of the story remains to fill out the first 125 pages of the book, which would have seen Hornblower, on the brink of finally being made a full Captain, embarking upon a dangerous spy mission which would have direct bearing on the fate of England. There is no sign of Forester's powers ebbing or waning up until the moment where the narrativ ...more
Gareth Williams
It's a shame that C.S. Forester died before he finished it and so you only have his notes for the middle and end
I'm not going to give this a star rating, because how can you? This was left incomplete when the author died, and is published along with a half page summary of his notes on how it was to play out.

Instead, I'll just say that I have heard Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin series came after the Hornblower series, and is viewed by many as a pale imitation. I don't want to disparage Forester, but having read all 20 (plus an unfinished work due to author's death) from O'Brien, and 3 and a half tales
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wish Forester would have had time to finish this novel as it would have been another entertaining read. I've just read the whole series in chronological order finishing with this one so it was kind of weird to start reading about his early days again.

The two short stories were a nice way to cap things off. The last story takes us forward to 1848 when Hornblower is 72! There's nothing quite like reading about a character as a young energetic lieutenant in his early late teens/early 20's followed
So. That's it. The last one. I'm finished.

Did Crisis feel a bit less polished than the other books or even the short stories included in this volume? Yes, certainly. A bit (esp the part in which he presents his plan to the Secretary to the Navy board). But that doesn't detract from the fact that the fragment we got was still exceptionally good. Had the book been finished it might have become one of my favourite Hornblower stories. Forester does a grat job showing how disconnected Hornblower fee
Earl Grey Tea
It was a bit sad to get to the end of this book so quickly. As I was approaching the last pages of the book, I thought that C.S. Forester was setting the story up for book number five. Instead, it turns out that he died before he completed writing this book. At the end of my copy, a brief summary based on Forester’s notes was given to describe the remainder of the story.

Even though this is only book number four in the chronological order of the Hornblower series, it was the last book written. Fo
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hornblower During the Crisis is an incomplete work as Forester died before finishing it. He probably does get close to half way through the story, and then a page from his notes summarizes how the story would have ended. It is unfortunate that we will never have the complete Hornblower series as it is one of the best series ever written. Forester had a real gift for weaving his stories into actual historical events, and he does that with this story perhaps more than any of the others in the seri ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
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 (or O'Brien's Aubrey), 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.

In the course of reading several books in the series Hornblower begins to feel real in a w
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Forester wrote this acclaimed series, he included prequels and short stories. I choose to read them in chronological order, starting in Hornblower’s youth. Sadly, during the writing of this book, the author died, the book unfinished. The reader was only left with his notes that indicate the ending. Still, the series is wonderful, so you take what you can get…

In this book, Hornblower has now had 10 years of experience but not yet a Post Captain i.e. a ‘real’ Captain. (It sounds like the Roya
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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 12 books)
  • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (Hornblower Saga: Chronological Order, #1)
  • Lieutenant Hornblower
  • Hornblower and the Hotspur
  • Hornblower and the Atropos
  • Beat to Quarters
  • Ship of the Line
  • Flying Colours
  • Commodore Hornblower
  • Lord Hornblower
  • Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies

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