The Return of Horatio Hornblower

Hornblower Addendum
Collected 2011 eNet press
79 pages

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!

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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6 Responses to The Return of Horatio Hornblower

  1. Marian H says:

    “subjected many friends” – I'm doing that very thing right now, re-watching the show while introducing it to my brother. It's contagious!I didn't know Forester wrote Hornblower short stories, too. At some point I want to finish reading the series (especially as, sadly, it doesn't seem like Gruffudd will be resuming the role anytime soon).

  2. Stephen says:

    A few of the books I read were collections of shorter stories — “Lieutenant Hornblower” being one of them, I believe.Yes, Gruffudd would definitely have to play an older Hornblower these days. Pity that series ran out, but eight movies is a great deal of action for a series originally written in the 1940s! Fantastic casting choices all around, really. I LOVE Robert Lindsay as Captain Sir Edward Pellew. Best thing about the series is they retain him as an admiral long after he'd disappeared from the stories..

  3. Mudpuddle says:

    i devoured HH at a young age and never knew there was more!! tx for posting about this; i'm keying in Abebooks as we speak… darn; they don't have it…

  4. Marian H says:

    If I had to choose a favorite recurring character, it would probably be Pellew or Bush, or Matthews (obviously I can't decide :)). It's amazing how well the series has aged, in terms of script, editing, and effects. I hope Gruffudd gets to play Hornblower again, but without other things being equal, maybe it wouldn't be as good.

  5. Stephen says:

    I believe it's just an e-book offering.

  6. Stephen says:

    GLad to know someone else appreciated Matthews and Stiles! Matthews' actor was also on Downton Abbey, as the father of a footman who perished in the war. William, I think..

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