Here we meet Horatio Hornblower, a young man of 17, in this Volume #1 of what becomes the 11 volume set about the career of this British Naval officer fighting against Napoleon and his tyranny of Europe in the late seventeen hundreds. Bullied and forced into a duel, he takes an even chance. And then he has many more chances to show his skills and ingenuities - from sailing a ship full of wetted and swelling rice to imprisonment and saving the lives of shipwrecked sailors. And along the way, he fights galleys, feeds cattle, stays out of the way of the guillotine, and makes friends with a Duchess. Here Hornblower becomes a man and develops the strength of character which will make him a hero to his men, and to all England.