Ahoy! Ready for adventure on the high seas? There is perhaps no better start than with the Horatio Hornblower books by C. S. Forester, a classic series first penned in the 1930s and concluding with its 11th volume in the 1960s.
For numerous readers and writers, the character of Horatio Hornblower was/is an inspiration, a person who made/makes an indelible impression on their minds for the rest of their lives. Having read the series a few years back, curious to learn how this character inspired the creation of Star Trek’s “Captain Kirk,” we found ourselves immediately absorbed in Forester’s naturally flowing ability to tell a story.
The Hornblower stories take place at the turn of the 19th century, just at the beginning of the Napoleonic era, when England was constantly at sea attempting to prevent neighboring nations from invading, and much of Europe was soon to be conquered by Napoleon.
“Mr. Midshipman Hornblower” introduces us to young Horatio Hornblower, who joins the Royal Navy at the age of 17, with no wealth or associations to bring him to any high standing immediately. Although wary and hesitant to speak his mind, he does however possess an excellent intellect and keen sense of observation, far above his fellow midshipmen.
Chronicling his multi-year adventures aboard the HMS Justinian and the HMS Indefatigable, we watch the meek Hornblower as he grows into his abilities, facing sea-battles, raging storms, the beginnings of the French Revolution, plague-ships, and a prolonged capture by the Spanish, where he makes a daring attempt to rescue stranded survivors of a shipwreck.
Why did we choose this classic series? Because it is just great and is still one of our best sellers!
Never read it? Now’s the time! Or read it again and remember why you loved it!
Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.