A Review of Hornblower and the Hotspur by C.S. Forester

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Hornblower and the Hotspur by C.S Forester is a fictional account of lieutenant, soon to be captain Horatio Hornblower. This novel. But one in a series of stories outlining the accounts of lieutenant Hornblower. During the 18th century, England was asserting herself as a world sea power, and continued to dominate the high seas for the larger part of the 18th and 19th centuries. There are a multitude of factors in this story in which outline the real life day-to-day faring of a sea captain, the ship, her crew and their struggles in this era, such as: Blockades and privateering, navigation and seamanship, rations and supplies, and the issues of crew payment, recruiting and welfare. Each contributing significantly to the outcome of the novel which see's lieutenant Hornblower promoted to Captain by the conclusion of this novel, a feat not easily accomplished.
As the Peace of Amiens draws to a close, as does Hornblower’s time as an lowly half-payed Lieutenant. The Peace of Amiens was supposed to bring peace to England and France, however we can see this will not always be true. Promoted and confirmed as a master and commander, he is given command of the sloop Hotspur. Leaving England and his new bride in advance of the hurriedly rebuilding channel fleet, Hornblower is soon on station off Brest in France. When his small vessel is pursued by the frigate Loire, a ship with which the Hotspur has recently exchanged passing honors with, Hornblower knows war has resumed. Hornblower would have been led to believe war had resumed due to how persistently and virulently she was pursued by the Loire, and the fact she opened fire, although at too great a distance to cause significant damage. In the end the quick wit of the Ships Company defeat...

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...ccessful in many raids, and resupply runs. If not for Hornblower’s superior navigation and seamanship, they would have not nearly been so successful. Ultimately leading to the transition to post captain, unfortunately also causing Hornblower to realize his new promotion means leaving his beloved crew. But like any young Royal Navy Officer, his dream is to one day captain a much larger and prestigious vessel. Within 400 pages, we watch a young half-pay lieutenant become the man and captain he was destined to be.

Works Cited

Forester, C.S (1962) Hornblower and the Hotspur. Penguin Publishing. [e-book]
Lavery, Brian (1983) The Ship of the Line, Volume 1: The Development of the Battlefleet, 1650–1850. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press.
Lavery, Brian. (1984) The Ship of the Line, Volume 2: Design, Construction and Fittings. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press.

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