The Young Hornblower

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

About sagesomethymes

Daniela is a writer, theatre producer and civic educator. She has had short stories and poetry published in: 'Prayers of a Secular World', Inkerman & Blunt; 'Blue Crow Magazine', Blue Crow Press; 'Knitting and other stories', Margaret River Press and Radio National’s '360 documentaries'. Her debut play, 'Talc', was produced in 2010. Her short play, 'Sicilian Biscotti', was produced for the launch of “Women Power and Culture” at New Theatre in 2011 and shortlisted for the Lane Cove Literary Award in 2015. Her second full length play, 'Friday', was produced by SITCO at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in 2013. 'The Poor Kitchen' was produced in 2016 as part of the Old 505 Theatre’s Fresh Works Season and was published by the Australian Script Centre in 2017 ( It was re-staged by Patina Productions at Limelight on Oxford in 2019. She co-wrote 'Shut Up And Drive' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at KXT in 2016. 'Seed Bomb' was produced at Old 505 Theatre as part of the FreshWorks Season in 2019 and has been published by the Australian Script Centre ( She co-wrote 'Softly Surely' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at Flight Path Theatre in 2022. She is the co-founder of indie theatre company subtlenuance ( Her published short stories can be read via the Short Stories tab on this blog.
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