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Ship of the Line (Hornblower Saga) Paperback – September 30, 1985


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Ship of the Line (Hornblower Saga) + Hornblower: Beat to Quarters (Hornblower Saga) + Flying Colours (Hornblower Saga)
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Product Details

  • Series: Hornblower Saga (Book 7)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (September 30, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316289361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316289368
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

6 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

C. S. Forester was born in Cairo in 1899, where his father was stationed as a government official. He studied medicine at Guy's Hospital, and after leaving Guy's without a degree he turned to writing as a career. On the outbreak of war he entered the Ministry of Information and later he sailed with the Royal Navy to collect material for The Ship. He made a voyage to the Bering Sea to gather material for a similar book on the United States Navy, and it was during this trip that he was stricken with arteriosclerosis, a disease which left him crippled. However, he continued to write and in the Hornblower novels created the most renowned sailor in contemporary fiction. He died in 1966. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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 is the seventh book in the series that I have read.
Jeffrey Van Wagoner
Whenever Hornblower manages detached duty he is at his best, terrorizing the French, and their army(!), on the Catalan coast, where the sea crashes into the Pyrenees.
tertius3
C.S. Forester started a genre with Horatio Hornblower, and this book is packed with action and adventure.
A. Courie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By tertius3 on December 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
As the preceding volume, Beat to Quarters, shows the end of a long voyage, so here we get to see the curious activities attending on the the start of another--the captain personally responsible for acquiring his crew and his victuals (and to be repaid from prizes possibly awarded from the sale of hoped-for captured enemy ships). Second in the original series (#6 in the whole), Ship of the Line soon sees Hornblower in the Mediterranean serving in a squadron of four under his near-lover's stodgy Admiral-husband. (We remain as achingly puzzled as Hornblower how the smart Lady Barbara could ever condescend to marry this wart.) Whenever Hornblower manages detached duty he is at his best, terrorizing the French, and their army(!), on the Catalan coast, where the sea crashes into the Pyrenees.
The action in this type of novel is not much fiction, but artful transformations of actual events from the long-running Napoleonic Wars, down to actual ship manoeuvres. As you read other naval novels, you will recognize certain episodes repeating, like the "cutting out" expedition here. Always they are put in different contexts, however, featuring a different cast of idiosyncratic characters. It is hard to devine why Hornblower has such fear and doubts about his own abilities, when he is worshipped by his men (more perspicacious than he!), and becomes absolutely possessed in hot battle, a human computer! He is a great contrast in this regard to O'Brian's stolid Capt. Aubrey, but that is one way in which each series is uniquely worth reading (similarly with Lambden's racy, or Woodman's severe, traversals of much of the same naval territory, up the same ladder of command).
Maybe I read too many modern novels, with their grimey action and prose to match, but C.S.
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Format: Paperback
The books about Horatio Hornblower include some of the most interesting and exciting novels ever written about warfare at sea during the days of sailing ships. Hornblower himself is a charming hero who doubts himself, has many weaknesses, and uses his sense of the odds to calculate the best course to take. He is more like Clark Kent than Superman in that way, but can turn into Superman briefly when the occasion calls for it.
Throughout the prior volumes of this wonderful series, there has been lots of "ship of the line" envy on Hornblower's part as he made do with commanding lesser vessels. In Ship of the Line, Captain Hornblower finds himself getting his heart's desire, a two-decker called the Sutherland.
Complications soon arise when Hornblower discovers that his new admiral has just married Lady Barbara Wellesley, with whom Hornblower is in love. Hornblower and his wife (Maria) meet the admiral and Lady Barbara in a social scene that you will not soon forget.
With too little time to prepare, the Sutherland is soon at sea with an under sized and inexperienced crew. What follows is as action-packed a book as you can imagine. Ship of the Line has a greater variety of difficult and unusual challenges thrown Hornblower's way than any reader could possibly hope for. The details of the conflicts are stunning in their scope and scale. If you are like me, you'll find yourself racing through the pages to see what happens next . . . knowing that there are surely big surprises ahead. As usual, Hornblower's imagination and quick thinking make for enormous differences in the outcomes from what would be expected.
You will enjoy the complications brought about by Lady Barbara's new husband.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Cody Carlson VINE VOICE on July 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
In 'Ship of the Line' daring British sea capatin Horatio Hornblower fights not only the French under the tyrant Napoleon, but his own heart as well. After falling in love with Lady Pamela Wellesley his hopes are shattered when she marries an admiral whose ego considerably outweighs his talents. What is worse Hornblower's conscience is racked with guilt over his disloyalty to his own wife, Maria. But before this becomes too much of a soap opera Forester plunges Hornblower into the dangerous swashbuckling sea where he uses every trick in the book to ensnare his French opponents. The ending is perhaps the greatest cliff hanger in all the series which leads into the next novel, 'Flying Colours.' Only a writer of Forester's genius can create so well both the moving human story and great adventure that is 'Ship of the Line.'
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Old Philosopher on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
After returning home from a very successful voyage to the Americas Captain Hornblower is assigned to a larger ship of the line with two gun decks, the Sutherland. He is assigned to the fleet blockading the Mediterranean coast of Spain where Napoleon's French fleet and the Spanish navy are prevented from supplying Napoleon's armies. In classic Hornblower style Hornblower isn't content to sail idly back and forth, so he finds ways to attack harbors, canals, and a French army near the shore. After several courageous engagements Hornblower becomes the only English ship between 4 enemy vessels and their safe harbor. The remainder of the English fleet is over the horizon, several hours away under sail in light winds. Following orders from the fleet Admiral Hornblower attacks all four, severely damaging three of them before the superior weight of the more numerous enemy fleet renders his ship useless. The wreckage drifts down current into the lee shore and a Spanish harbor where Hornblower is captured. As usual, Hornblower is filled with self doubts. If he ever escapes will he be stripped of his rank or even hanged for losing his ship? Will he ever see his beloved Barbara, wife of the Admiral, again? The detail of ships and sailing in the early 19th century make the Hornblower series must reading for any man who loves the sea.
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