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Commodore Hornblower (Hornblower Saga) Paperback – March 5, 2000

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Product Details

  • Series: Hornblower Saga (Book 9)
  • Paperback: 343 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Revised edition (March 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316289388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316289382
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

7 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Customer Reviews

The good news is that otherwise, this story is very well done.
Walt R.
This book finds Horatio Hornblower in the Baltic Sea and in Russia.
Hornblower is a terrific read, I recommend the series to everyone.
Thomas Long

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bill Mac on June 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Commodore Hornblower was Forester's first attempt to replicate the pre-war success of his Horatio Hornblower trilogy; Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line and Flying Colours. After emerging victorious from the greatest war in human history, would his readership still be interested in a more distant conflict? The answer was "Yes", but Forester made sure by including strong parallels between the Napoleonic Wars and World War II. The result, as a historical novel, was as relevant to the readers of the day as if it had been written about WWII. Commodore Hornblower works as a historical novel of the Napoleonic era and as a reminder of the immense struggles and sacrifices of WWII.
Commodore Hornblower begins with Hornblower leaving his new wife and son to return to sea. How poignant this passage must have been for the first post-war readers. Hornblower, now in charge of a small squadron, must take his ships into the Baltic past hostile Danes and Swedes who maintain a sinister neutrality. What follows is a series of naval and land engagements that are typical of this type of novel. However nobody surpassed Forester in telling exciting yet realistic action stories. The battle scenes are both exciting and exhilarating yet horrifying at the same time.
During his stint in the Baltic, Hornblower rubs shoulders with the Tsar of Russia, Marshal Bernadotte of Sweden and the warrior/philosopher Clausewitz. Hornblower must try and win over those hanging onto to neutrality by a thread and those siding with the tyrant Napoleon. As always he acquits himself well although he is his own worst critic.
While Commodore Hornblower works as both an action novel and a historical novel, I think that it might have lost some of the impact that it had when it was first published.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Most Hornblower fans will either be strongly attracted to this story . . . or strongly repelled by it.
In the beginning, this book's mood shifts greatly from the earlier books now that Hornblower is rich and famous, and happily married to Lady Barbara. His glittering brothers-in-law are off winning critical battles, and Hornblower feels like he needs to keep winning some semblance of renown in order to retain Lady Barbara's respect. The book starts off slowly, therefore, in setting the stage for Captain Sir Horatio Hornblower's elevated status in society and in the fleet.
As a commodore, Hornblower has a small squadron under his command, including one ship of the line, the Nonsuch (seventy four guns), commanded by Captain Bush. Hornblower's orders give him the "widest latitude of discretion to enter the Baltic Sea and create problems for Bonaparte, who is threatening both Sweden and Russia in the spring of 1812. Secretly, his brother-in-law, foreign secretary Marquis Wellesley, warns Hornblower that he should be prepared to assist the Czar in leaving St. Petersburg should Napoleon invade and overrun Russia. Within the Baltic, the Russians have 14 ships of the line, and the Swedes almost as many.
Nearing the Baltic, Hornblower knows that the Danes are hostile, having been conquered by the French. So he steers away from their batteries nearing the Baltic. But are the Swedes still neutral? There's only one way to find out. Run under their batteries and see if they fire?
Political events rapidly develop, aided by Hornblower's diplomacy and deceptions. By winter, the Grande Armee has invaded Russia, reached Moscow, and been shattered by the Russian weather.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael H. Siegel on July 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Commodore Hornblower is an excellent continuation of the adventures of Horatio Hornblower. Fresh from his dramatic victory in Spain and France, Hornblower is dispatched to the Baltic. His mission is to both frustrate Napoleon and support Russia, one of the few nations yet to be conquered by the tyrant.
The result is a tale that fits in perfectly with the Hornblower cannon. Horatio's adventures in the Baltic cover the whole gamut from challenging French privateers to foiling assassination plots to fending off a siege in Riga. And Forester levens the action with a constant reminder of the historical context. 1812 was possibly the most desperate year for England, when it seemed the whole world was against her. (Although, perhaps with his audience in mind, Forester tacitly left out the fact that Britain was at war with America as well. For history buffs, this omission is conspicuous.)
Hornblower is his usual compelling self -- brave, brilliant but with his dark sides. He make decisions and has thoughts that would be considered far too complex and realistic for today's action heroes. I found myself as fascinated by Hornblower himself as I was by the thrilling action scenes.
This is an excellent continuation of the Hornblower series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sonterro on October 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This Hornblower novel was a very good one. A lot of it is about politics on land just before and during the beginning stages of Napolean's invasion of Russia.
Hornblower has some new fangled weapons that he has never used before. Bomb ketches. He has two of them. What they really are is small vessels containing two 13 inch mortars each. The are ideal for bombarding with a plunging fire over walls and other obstacles. Incredibly accurate and very destructive. Hornblower has two occasions on which to use them. And, as might be expected, with great success.
Anyway, Hornblower is made commodore of a small squadron of ships, including Nonsuch captained by none other than his life long friend, Bush. He is set upon a mission to assist the Russians in the Baltic in any way in which he see fit. Perfect orders for someone that is willing to think outside the box.
Hornblower ends up sinking a French privateer. As can be expected, the French are outraged and invade the small country of Pomerania in defiance. This causes the Russions to become a little upset. Eventually, the French launch the invasion of Russia. The Russians are soundly beaten on all fronts except for the small port town of Riga. Hornblower is able to help with the defense of the town and it's approaches. He even leads an infantry assault into the French trench line.
This is another good book. Not a whole lot of naval action, but enough to keep the nautically minded interested. Lots of politics and history though. There is not a lot of information on the Baltic theatre of the war. Napolean was being attacked and beaten in the south by Wellington. For some unknown reason, Napolean thought that it would be a good time to attack Russia. His invasion started during the summer. They were in moscow by November.
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