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Hornblower During the Crisis (Hornblower Saga) Paperback – April 18, 1990

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Product Details

  • Series: Hornblower Saga (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 18, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316289442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316289443
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Thanks to the recent TV adaptation on A&E, Hornblower is again in the public eye. Hornblower During the Crisis was unfinished when Forester died in 1966. This edition includes the completed portion of the manuscript along with Forester's notes, which offer guidance as to how he planned to conclude the tale.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

5 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

C. S. Forester (1899-1966) wrote several novels with military and naval themes, including The African Queen, The Barbary Pirates, The General, The Good Shepherd, The Gun, The Last Nine Days of the "Bismarck," and Rifleman Dodd. But Forester is best known as the creator of Horatio Hornblower, a British naval genius of the Napoleonic era, whose exploits and adventures on the high seas Forester chronicled in a series of eleven acclaimed historical novels. Over the years Hornblower has proved to be one of the most beloved and enduring fictional heroes in English literature, his popularity rivaled only by Sherlock Holmes.

Born Cecil Louis Troughton Smith in Cairo, Egypt, Forester grew up in London. At the start of World War II he traveled on behalf of the British government to America, where he produced propaganda encouraging the United States to remain on Britain's side. After the War, Forester remained in America and made Berkeley, California, his home.

The character of Horatio Hornblower was born after Forester was called to Hollywood to write a pirate film. While the script was being drafted, another studio released Captain Blood, starring Errol Flynn, based on the same historical incidents about which Forester was writing. Rather than seek another movie project, and to avoid an impending paternity suit, Forester jumped aboard a freighter bound for England. By the end of the voyage he had outlined Beat to the Quarters, which introduced the now legendary character Hornblower, Bush, and Lady Barbara.

Forester died in 1966 while working on Hornblower During the Crisis.

Back Bay's editions of the Hornblower novels are numbered according to the chronology of Hornblower's life and career, not according to the sequence in which they were written. The series is comprised of the following titles:

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
Lieutenant Hornblower
Hornblower and the Hotspur
Hornblower During the Crisis
Hornblower and the Atropos
Beat to Quarters
Ship of the Line
Flying Colours
Commodore Hornblower
Lord Hornblower
Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies

Customer Reviews

This incomplete book should never have been published.
I just finished reading the book, and I can say that I did not feel at all cheated out of my money.
I am sure I read this first in my teens when I devoured the series the first time.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Terence Chua on October 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sometimes, I almost wish people wouldn't dig up unfinished pieces. Not because they may be bad, but because they may be so good that it's frustrating and disappointing to have reached the end and realize there's no way it will ever be finished. This is the case with Forester's "Hornblower and the Crisis", unfinished at the time of his death.
Forester had deliberately shied away from writing about Hornblower's role in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar because he didn't want to deal with such a famous battle nor take away from the real heroes of the day - as such, Hornblower's exploits jump from Commander to him being given the command of Nelson's funeral boat after the battle. However, Forester finally decided to reveal the crucial part our hero played in the months leading up to the climatic sea battle of the Napoleonic Wars.
From the first chapter it's obvious Forester had not lost his touch. The prose flows cleanly and elegantly, and I was soon lost in a tale of Hornblower in his prime. A secret mission is handed him, to misdirect the French, so Hornblower prepares to play spy - but then the book ends, with only a few brief notes to say how the story ends. Somehow, this isn't enough - we know Hornblower will emerge victorious and history told us Trafalgar would be a triumph, but I still wish we could have had Forester tell us these things in his own inimitable style.
Two more short tales are packaged with the unifinished novel, as a consolation prize of sorts. These are also top notch, but don't quite take away from the disappointment of what might have been.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
The Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester is simply the best naval adventure writing in all of literature. The Hornblower series deals with the career of a fictional British naval officer, Horatio Hornblower, during the Napoleonic Wars, as Britain is engaged in a life-or-death struggle with Bonaparte. The various novels and short stories which comprise the series essentially trace Hornblower's rise from humble midshipman to Admiral of the Fleet.
"Hornblower During the Crisis" is a group of short stories that Forester apparently wrote to fill gaps in Hornblower's life in between the major novels which make up the series. While the novels are in chronological order, there are gaps between several of them. This book completes the most important of these, and also has some interesting little snippets about Hornblower in his old age.
The most important story in "Crisis" deals with the period of time immediately after Hornblower is promoted from Commander to Captain (although not confirmed yet by the Admiralty) and he leaves the HMS Hotspur, which is too small of a command for a Captain. I found this story to be a penetrating and interesting one, which highlights the importance of good luck, and the willingness to take advantage of it by taking risks. As the story states, Hornblower realized, in dealing with high British political and military figures upon returning to England, that his whole life and career perhaps turned on a few remarks he made over the space of a few minutes. Who among us has not had at least one such pivotal moment?
... The other stories in the book are all interesting and worth reading. The Hornblower afficianado should not pass this book up. Newcomers to Hornblower will probably not want to "break in" with Crisis, although I think any reader will appreciate these well-written stories.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L on February 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
This novel picks up with Hornblower relinquishing command of the Hotspur and returning to London for a new command. As typical in a Forester novel, nothing ever goes as planned and action follows Hornblower on his way home from a supply ship. There are only about 150 pages of text in this story and what was missing in the story were what Hornblower did that lead to the eventual decisive Battle of Trafalgar. It was nice to see what Forester wrote anyway only because I like the genre and I like Forester's details and descriptions of being in the Service and living during that time. But this book wouldn't be good on its own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ian T. Brown on July 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
There are three rather short stories in this book. The back cover describes the book as following "Hornblower and the Hotspur," and the unfinished first story does, so you probably shouldn't read this book before reading "Hotspur." But the next story is set between "Midshipman Hornblower" and "Lieutenant Hornblower," and the third story is set at the end of the entire series. You don't need to read the whole series first, but the last story won't make sense unless you at least read "Beat to Quarters" first. And nothing in this compilation is necessary for understanding other books. So you shouldn't read it in the sequence listed on the cover, and you may as well save it for last. That said, all three stories are worth reading.

As you know, the main story was unfinished, which is fine. It's an ambitious tale of how an out-of-work commander saves Britain from invasion and deals the French tyrant a mortal blow through luck, skill, luck, cleverness, luck, and derring-do. It ends about halfway through the story, with about a page of notes about how it ends. The half that's finished is entertaining, but does rely a lot on luck. I have trouble imagining the second half being written without relying too much on luck. It's great the way it is.

The next story explores the young Hornblower's character as he must guard a devious prisoner and face financial and professional temptation. The last story shows the peaceful life of an old, successful, wealthy, respected, contented Hornblower interrupted by an entertaining echo of his old enemy.

All told, it's a fun, easy-to-read book for Hornblower fans. But there's nothing wrong with saving it for the end of the series.
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