Age of Sail / Book Review / Book Series / C S Forester / Horatio Hornblower / Nautical Fiction / Royal Navy

Lord Hornblower, by C. S. Forester

At the start of Lord Hornblower, the tenth book in the excellent series by C.S. Forester, Horatio Hornblower has been ill and has spent a long time onshore. Finally, he is better and receives new orders. This time Lord St. Vincent sends Commodore Hornblower out to quell a mutiny. Hornblower knows the tyrant of a captain who provoked the mutiny and the circumstances of it. In many ways, he feels sympathetic towards the mutineers. However, the mutineers are not willing to compromise in any way. Horatio Hornblower is faced with finding a way to end the mutiny while preventing the mutineers from going to France – where they are willing to receive them.

Using his considerable intelligence, Hornblower finds a way. He disguises his ship as the ship of the mutineers, launches a cut-out operation, and captures a large French cargo vessel in Le Havre. Now the situation is changed – the French are no longer willing to receive the mutineers – rather they try to sink them.

But for Hornblower, this is just the start of a long chain of events. By coincidence, he is also instrumental in making Le Havre turn against Napoleon with British naval support, and is then appointed Governor of Le Havre. This is actually a stunning and very entertaining operation.

When the French crown prince and his entourage arrives with Lady Barbara and Napoleon resigns, Hornblower and the crown prince sail up the Seine toward Paris. Now Hornblower is appointed Lord Hornblower.

Lord Hornblower has lots of interesting features – diplomacy, naval action, military action, mutiny, and an illicit love affair to top it off. It is not among the very best in the Hornblower series, but still very worthwhile. The suspense is somewhat lacking, but Lord Hornblower is still very entertaining and a marvelous read for lovers of navy fiction!