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"One of the most stirring narratives of naval adventure to be found in English. ... You emerge almost drunk with the wind, the sea, the noise of cannonading, the heady wine of heroism."
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This omnibus edition of Hornblower contains the first three novels written by C.S.Forester about Horatio Hornblower which started Hornblower on his career in the British navy during the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Although these were the first Hornblower novels written, they are volumes 6, 7 & 8 in the series.
In Vol. 6 Beat to Quarters, the first book written about him, Captain Hornblower faces all the responsibilities, difficulties, and worries of solitary command in the age of sail. He sailed round Cape Horn to the Pacific coast of Central America on a secret mission to arm and support a revolution against Spanish rule. Despite a revolutionary leader who imagines himself el Supremo, the Almighty, and the need to fight and capture a Spanish warship more powerful than his frigate, Hornblower does exactly as ordered in this thrilling tale of naval adventure, but all for naught. Not only must Hornblower reverse his previous successes, this time against an alerted and ideological committed enemy, but he becomes burdened with the need to safeguard an unmarried English noblewoman whose politically powerful connections must not be affronted. The English title was The Happy Return, its irony suiting C. S. Forester's character.
In Vol. 7, now in command of his first Ship of the Line the HMS Sutherland, Hornblower needs to add 250 landlubbers and seamen to his crew. Through his daring and audacity, he does create a strong and able crew prior to reaching the Mediterranean. Its May 1810, with Napoleon fighting in Spain; Hornblower goes off on five winning escapades along the French and Spanish coast until finally he and his crew face capture and defeat as they are forced to fight a fleet of four French ships with daring and crippling success.
Vol. 8 Flying Colours has Hornblower flying his colours magnificently. Forced to surrender his ship, the Sutherland, after a long and bloody battle, Hornblower now bides his time as a prisoner awaiting transport to Paris and a trial on trumped up charges. After escaping with his first lieutenant Bush, and his coxswain Brown, they find refuge in France. Later, the three again make their way down the Loire river and upon reaching the sea find a means to escape to England where Hornblower's life becomes more than he ever expected.