Collected 2011 eNet press
Has it been eight years since I last sailed with Horatio Hornblower? The naval adventure series by C.S. Forester, and the A&E movie series based on it were one of the highlights of 2010, and in the years since I’ve subjected many friends to those same movies so I could have the pleasure of watching them again in company. In hunting for books like Horatio Hornblower, however, I stumbled upon a collection of Hornblower tales I’d missed — or, mostly missed. This is not a substantial collection by any means; it’s rather shorter than the shortest Hornblower work, Hornblower and the Hotspur, or Hornblower in the West Indies, and two of its five stories have been previously collected. The stories are chiefly of interest to those who know and admire Hornblower already, as they put him in fascinating or morally demanding situations. The last story here has him encounter a seeming lunatic who claims to be the emperor Napoleon, for instance, while another has him tasked with securing an Irish deserter and discovering a secret compartment in the man’s trunk filled with gold. In all instances Hornblower proves himself to be a perfectly honorable and charitable fellow. Perhaps the most interesting story in the one in which Admiral Hornblower is asked to take insane King George III to rendezvous with another ship, but they’re stumbled upon by an American frigate in the latter part of the war of 1812.
Although this collection really only recommends itself to the completists among Hornblower readers, I felt instantly at home as soon as I started reading the first story. Forester and his naval hero were good to experience again.
I’d planned this book to be a Read of England post, but it’s more “fun-sized” than a regular read. I am gearing up for that, however — we’re a week away from a solid month of English glory!