A dozen years ago my nephew broke his leg in several places and was on bedrest for a few weeks. Among other quiet activities, he spent those weeks reading the Horatio Hornblower books. I decided I’d better look into them if they could entertain a 13-year-old boy for that long! They have become some of our family favorites, and supposedly Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway were big fans too!
Horatio Hornblower is a fictitious British naval officer serving during the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815). Through the 12-book series, you’ll follow his career from seasick midshipman to Admiral of the Fleet (although the books are not written in chronological order).
Horatio is a clever, brave and honest man who makes you proud to belong to the human race. He confronts one dangerous and impossible situation after another including tyranny, execution, mutiny and even an unwanted girlfriend/wife. Even though you won’t see a possible solution or escape, Horatio eventually finds one and you’ll be cheering in your family room as you follow his many adventures!
The BBC made a fantastic mini-series based on some of the books back in 2000. They star Ioan Gruffudd who, in my opinion, was born for this role. Treat yourself to this film series after you’ve read a couple of the books. It’s truly outstanding. This might be one of those rare time when the movie is better than the book — but don’t tell anyone I said that.
The Horatio Hornblower Series:
Beat to Quarters (1937)
Ship of the Line (1938)
Flying Colors (1939)
Commodore Hornblower (1945)
Lord Hornblower (1946)
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (1950)
Lieutenant Hornblower (1952)
Hornblower and the Atropos (1953)
Hornblower and the Hotspur (1962)
The Hornblower Companion (1964)
Hornblower During the Crisis — unfinished novel (1967)
High School Reading Level, 300+ pages each, Napoleonic Wars, Military, England, Published from 1937 – 1967.