Lord Hornblower by C. S. Forester: A

From the back cover:
The Admiral’s face was grim as he gave Commodore Hornblower his orders. The situation was critical: mutiny was an infection that could spread through the fleet like the plague and, furthermore, the defiant crew of the Flame were threatening to go over to the French. St Vincent has put his faith in Hornblower. Hornblower knows he must not fail. Yet neither man dreamt, on that day in 1813, that the mission would result in a peerage—and a death sentence—for Horatio Hornblower.

This book was totally going to get a perfect score until the last fifty pages or so. It just went on a bit too long. The material at the end felt a bit rushed, possibly just to tie up with Bonaparte’s defeat at Waterloo. It wasn’t bad by any means, just not as good as the rest. The ending was still strong.

Prior to that point, I was loving all of Hornblower’s internal struggles, his endearing insecurities and quirks, his brilliant solutions, the interesting chilly conflict between he and his wife, not to mention the quick action. This is a book that was completely engrossing from the first page, and to have it sort of sputter near the end was disappointing.

One especially neat thing Lord Hornblower did was raise of the question of what kind of man Hornblower would’ve become if there hadn’t been a war on for his entire life. It really made me excited to proceed on to the next books in the series, which take place earlier in his career chronologically, to see what sort of youth he was when he started out.

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