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The Hornblower saga will probably come to an end with this volume, which brings our young and stumbling Midshipman through a Lieutenantcy that sees his potential abilities come to fruition and wins him his Commander rating, his wife Maria, and his devoted friend Bush before its close. It is a first rate yarn, which might well be defined as The Caine Mutiny of 150 years ago. Turn back the leaves- and you find a mad, sadistic captain, an ""accident"" which makes possible the taking over of command by the first lieutenant (while a very junior fifth lieutenant provides the brains and the imagination). It is not hard to guess that this youngster is our friend Horatio Hornblower, and the new set up provides the action he craves. Sealed orders are opened; the ship, hunting the enemy in the Caribbean, turns back to Haiti, comes to ignominious defeat at the hands of an ebbing tide, a mud bank- and the Spanish fort, and-at the urging of young Hornblower- turns defeat into victory by a sudden and unexpected assault at the rear. Subsequently, another reversal in which the prisoners come close to success in taking over the ship, is again halted by Hornblower- and his future seems assured. But peace intervenes, and both he and Bush have thin pickings on shore until another threat from Napoleon gives them another chance. The slender thread of budding romance seems a bit of an afterthought, but at least provides for Maria's existence as background in subsequent books. But the young Hornblower is all one can wish of a naval hero at the start of his meteoric career. From Beat to Quarters to this the seventh of the Hornblower stories, Forester has given us stirring novels of naval adventure in a sound tradition.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1951
ISBN: 1597771848
Publisher: Little, Brown