Sea sickness is one of Horatio Hornblower’s weaknesses, as are honesty, courage, ridiculous modesty and a penchant for chasing the enemy rather than prize money.
Hornblower is a Royal Navy Officer during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. We meet him as a gangly seventeen year old Midshipman boarding his first battleship. Hornblower is destined to become a great navigator, Captain of his own ship and eventually Admiral of the Fleet. I know this because several years ago I read all 10 novels and watched the TV Series which stars the scrumptious Ioan Gruffudd. So now I am starting the adventure all over again.
Read this book on a lazy weekend or if you are holidaying at home.
Your couch will become your boat as you and Hornblower engage the Spanish Armada on the high seas, demolish the defences of Napoleon’s armies, and evade court martial at the hands of a mad captain. You’ll only tear yourself away from these swashbuckling adventures through exotic lands and treacherous times to make short work of your dinner. Then you’ll race right back to read on into the night with a good claret.
Read this book if you want a valuable lesson in the ancient craft of sailing.
You’ll learn about hoisting sales, tacking and wearing around, sailing close to the wind, and navigating in all weathers. I found myself admiring the enormous skill required to be a sailor as well as reflecting on the long and often bloody history of humans and the sea. Boats have long carried adventurous souls – from the earliest canoes; the square rigged ships of early explorers; the leaky boats of refugees; to the giant cruise and cargo ships that circumnavigate our modern globe.
Read this book if you have an important decision to make.
You will find yourself rising at eight bells, stoically eating your ration of ship’s biscuit, complete with weevils, squaring your shoulders and dealing competently with whatever crisis comes your way. After all you’re not weathering a hurricane on the Atlantic while being fired at by a 12 pounder armed frigate.
The Young Hornblower Omnibus by C.S. Forester. Comprising Mr Midhsipman Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower, Hornblower and the Hotspur