[Reading] ➺ A Ship of the Line By C.S. Forester – Uroturk.info

A Ship of the Line A middling Hornblower, both in terms of his career and quality of story Forester has a penchant for getting his hero off the ship and on to dry land to fight battles as if Sharpe suddenly took command of a ship and raced off to fight a French frigate , and in this one he gets him on to dry land to fail to fight a battle, in one of the dullest sections of the entire canon Compensated for by two lovely and lively bits of action at sea As others have warned, though, this is only half a book, with a cliffhanger ending leading straight in to Flying Colours Once again, to anyone reading the series in chronological order of Hornblower s career, the relationship with Bush is downright bizarre The man who was previously Hornblower s best friend, a couple of years older than him, is now a distant and much older figure who feels fatherly towards his Captain. Re reading the Hornblower books I don t like this one quite as well as Beat to Quarters It s an interesting read, and the naval stuff is fascinating, but this is terribly bleak.It begins with Hornblower desperate to get away from the wife he dislikes, grumpy because Lady Barbara got married, and depressed because he can t legally kidnap enough men to fully man the miserable ship he now commands There s a cheerful if bloodthirsty section in the middle where he harasses the French along the Spanish coast, but it ends with a terrible bloodbath when Hornblower goes into battle against impossible odds.I m torn about the situation with Hornblower s wife I understand why he married someone he doesn t love or respect, and I recognize that he does his best to keep her from finding out his feelings, but it s very unpleasant to experience his shame and dislike I feel sorry for Maria, and I m irritated by the easy out for Hornblower that is forthcoming.Hornblower continues to childishly enjoy the air of mystery he cultivates He had made it a rule to offer no explanations and there was a pleasurable selfish thrill in keeping his subordinates in ignorance of their future He is also simultaneously envious and contemptuous of his officers and men However, I think that we should give him or the narrator credit for recognizing the selfishness and the envy Hornblower feels guilty for feeling the way he does, and is pretty sure other people don t feel the same way. Hornblower Leads His First Ship Of The Line Into Enemy Waters In This Installment Of C S Forester S Beloved Adventure Series, Called Exciting, Realistic, Packed With Grand Naval Action By The New YorkerMay , Seventeen Years Deep Into The Napoleonic Wars Captain Horatio Hornblower Is Newly In Command Of His First Ship Of The Line, The Seventy Four Gun HMS Sutherland, Which He Deems The Ugliest And Least Desirable Two Decker In The Navy List Moreover, She Is Men Short Of A Full Crew, So Hornblower Must Enlist And Train Poachers, Bigamists, Sheepstealers, And Other LandlubbersBy The Time The Sutherland Reaches The Blockaded Catalonian Coast Of Spain, The Crew Is Capable Of Staging Five Astonishing Solo Raids Against The French But The Grisly Prospect Of Defeat And Capture Looms For Both Captain And Crew As The Sutherland Single Handedly Takes On Four French Ships A Fine Sea Tale, To Be Ranked With The Best Of Its Kind New York Times It s good to see that the amount of bare flesh on display in the TV series is based firmly in book canon I feel like Hornblower and the Eighth Doctor would get on well, what with their carefree attitude to nudity Yes, I am focusing on the important parts of the book, dammit One day I shall make a graph with Chronological Progression Through Hornblower Series on the X axis and Urge to Give Hornblower a Slap and a Damn Good Talking To About Personal Relationships on the Y axis Then I shall plot a y x line I mean, I know I was all gooey eyed over his flaws back in Mr Midshipman, but now they seem almost absurd Not talking to your junior officers at all, ever, except to give orders On months long sea voyages I m no great fan of social interaction, but that s taking it a bit far, surely That said, when resisting the urge to give Hornblower a damn good talking to, I did enjoy the book Probably because it s one long Crowning Moment of Awesome for the Sutherland and Hornblower s captaincy, and dammit, Forester, you can t leave it there I shall have to read Flying Colours now, and not just to see whether my graph s projection is accurate. I can still remember the first line from the novel, even though probably 22 years have passed since I first became acquainted with the novel My father used to read these Hornblower stories to me as a child and in looking back, I feel an urge to revisit those heroic tales of bravery from a far distant time This was one of the first works he read when he was growing up along with the works of Jack London so it has probably played a part in forming his world view I too am drawn to this picture of a time when high ideals where important and perhaps we need ideals such as courage, honesty and bravery now than ever. Initial fyi my main purpose in reviewing these books is not with adults in mind, but for the parents or adult friends of reading children.While this is full of adventure and amazing action, I am finding that so far I like the books in the series that were written later, rather than earlier This was the 2nd Hornblower book written and it follows the precedent of Beat to Quarters a little violent and in my opinion Hornblower is allowed to dwell too much on his feelings for a certain someone, not his wife The violence is completely in character with the times and the setting, if anything it s not nearly as horrible as it certainly really was and it s really not over the top at all but you definitely get the picture, and it s as all war is I find myself often momentarily appalled during reading as I ponder the press gang, the nightmare it would have really been to be on a fighting ship in the middle of the ocean Shudder On another tack, the relationship tidbits are just sort of pointless in a book like this It could be argued that Hornblower does the honorable thing for now and is loyal and true to his wife at least in the literal physical sense but he pines for someone else It is perhaps an interesting situation full of grief and perplexity for an adult reader, but a kid just won t care and the social nuance implication will go over head I love the leadership and the other values displayed in these books I will reserve judgment on the others until I m done, but so far I think this is an excellent set for older children, with either parental supervision on the ones that dwell on the relationship factor OR skipping those books altogether until an older age. I might have written before about the fascination I have with the sailing ships of a bygone age, but reading this book has rekindled my wonder at the mastery of the art of naval warfare as it was practiced in the so called Age of Sail Again and again I am awestruck at the huge accumulation of knowledge required to command a single ship effectively, and how worthless individual lives seemed to be when ships faced off against each other in combat at sea This particular novel is an account of Hornblower s attempt to outfit the Sutherland and his eventually successful harassment of the French army marching along the Coast of the Mediterranean, pinned between the beach and the nearby mountains Not having read the immediately previous novels, I was struck at how much less I liked Hornblower as a person even as his stature as a captain grew to superhuman proportions Forester has done a remarkable job at sketching this latest evolution of Hornblower in continuity with his earlier years as a midshipman and lieutenant while presenting the unique challenges and concerns that continue to shape him as a sailor and a man relative poverty, lack of seniority, hopes for advancement, an implacable and numerous enemy, doubts about his own capacities, and the secret fears of dismemberment and death which he must repress in order to command the respect of the men he leads Each time I read these accounts of hundreds of cannon being discharged at short range into the wooden hull of ships filled with defenseless sailors, there is an aftertaste of awe and horror at the cavalier destruction of so much life Those men who chose the life of the navy were either deeply in love with the sea, or profoundly insane few chose it freely, impelled by necessity or the bludgeons of the press gang Yet on those ships, which were a unique blend of village, barracks, and prison, somehow life managed to flourish men relished the performance of their duty, knew the heady triumph of victory, and put away against the bitter days of naval service the small pleasures of drunkenness and song And some life it was Ship of the Line ends with a real cliffhanger that absolutely must be followed up quickly with the next volume in the series, Flying Colours. I certainly am learning about the Napoleonic Wars than I ever knew I wanted to know Already 17 years going, the French still have control of the coast of Spain Hornblower is now under the command of Admiral Leighton.not the brightest crayon in the box..who also happens to be the new husband of Lady Barbara, Horatio s flame Horatio still has the hots for her, even though he has vowed to remain faithful to his wife Maria, who of course is pregnant again Understandably, Horatio is happy to set sail once again and heads to the Spanish coast where his newly organized crew manages five successful raids before biting off than they can chew as they meet up with four French ships The end of the book finds Horatio struggling with the option of sinking or surrender It s amazing to learn what these sailors.and captains.had to go through to maintain a ship and a crew.the personal expenses involved, the struggle to build a complete crew, the miseries of life on board ship I have even respect now than I had previously for the navies of history I read many of these books years ago and have started reading the ones I missedor don t recall all that well, chronological order That is as Hornblower s life progresses Here Captain Hornblower is in command of his first ship of the line Note A ship of the line was a war ship of at least 2 decks of guns It was called a ship of the line from the tactic or strategy of running your ships in a line across the stern of the enemy thus allowing your broadside to be fired into the rear of the enemy Note A broadside means all guns on one side of the ship fired into a target.Anyway we get to watch HH grow from an insecure young man to an insecure older man He is constantly aware of keeping up the appearance of a proper Captain in spite of his internal doubts.You will at times not like HH himself, but in the end I like these books They will probably end up on my favorites list.Enjoy. I m tempted to take away a star for the cliff hanger ending, but otherwise it was as good as all the others As a captain of a ship of the line, 74 guns, Hornblower has plenty of opportunities to strut his stuff Lots of action.While the manning of ships has been mentioned before, a special point is made of it this time The gov t didn t give Hornblower enough men any than they provided uniforms or many other things They simply expected the captain of the ship to properly crew his ship, although they did deign to give him the Marines officers Hornblower transferred the entire crew of the Lydia, his old frigate that had spent a couple of years at sea, directly to his new ship a few convicts That wasn t nearly enough men, though This meant he had to press or basically kidnap the men he needed Apparently just about anyone was fair game so long as they hadn t been given a special warrant exempting them Forester dwells on this to some extent, enough to make the horror real.There are a lot of other complications Forester s writing is quite terse I wish he had spent a bit time on some of the after action reports In one case view spoiler the debacle of the taking of the Spanish fort from the French hide spoiler

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