Hornblower saga

Here is a list of books that form the Saga in order of events in the books.

However, the order written here do not have to be preserved – maybe it is even better to read the books in order of their “birth” – thus start with the trio Happy Return, The Ship of the Line and Flying Colours. Main reason is – above all – a sort of introductory style of Happy Return, moreover this book is one of the best ones.


Mr. Midshipman Hornblower (1950)

Period covered: June 1794 – March 1798

In this book we observe beginnings of Hornblower's naval career. Book is formed as serie of not-connected short stories.

We meet young Horatio for the first time in Spithead. But shortly afterwards he is ordered to serve under his future “paytron” captain Pellew. And it is captain Pellew who gives him his first ship – Hornblower has to command on a prize merchant vessel. In other stories Horatio fights with the Spanish as well as the French, he tries to pass the examination to lieutenant and in the end of the book he finds himself in captivity.

Many chapters of this book were insipiration (though very broad) for the first serie of film adaptation.

Lieutenant Hornblower (1952)

Period covered: May 1800 – March 1803

Hornblower and the Hotspur (1962)

Period covered: April 1803 – July 1805

How would Hornblower deal with his first bigger leadership?

Hornblower During the Crisis (1967)

Period covered: August 1805 – December 1805

Hornblower is relieved of commanding Hotsporu and is ordered back to Britain. On his way home he acquires secret dispatches and he thinks out a crazy plan how – with faked dispatches – to outfox spanish navy. And of course – Horatio will be the man who has to deliver them.

This book was not finished – Forester died in 1966. But from his notes it is clear how the rest of the book should look like: Hornblower would be successfull and united Spanish-and-French navy would meet Royal Navy in historically real battle at Trafalgar.

Hornblower and the Atropos (1953)

Period covered: December 1805 – January 1808

Happy Return (Beat to Quarters) (1937)

Period covered: June 1808 – August 1808

Hornblower's task is to destroy a Spanish frigate which is located in the waters of Central America.

Ship of the Line (1938)

Period covered: May 1810 – August 1810

Hornblower finally got what he wanted – be a commander on a ship of the line. But this won't stop him in his brave actions against the enemy.

Flying Colours (1938)

Period covered: November 1810 – June 1811

Commodore Hornblower (1945)

Period covered: May 1812 – August 1812

Lord Hornblower (1946)

Period covered: October 1813 – May 1814

Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies (1958)

Period covered: May 1821 – October 1823

Special editions

Some publishers prefer to print several books in one – these belongs to the most commons (but it is possible to find different ones).

Below is also a note about a book that do not fit into the saga but covers the background of its creation..

The Young Hornblower

Comprises Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Lieutenant Hornblower and Hornblower and the Hotspur.

Captain Hornblower, R.N.

Comprises Hornblower and the Atropos, Happy Return and Ship of the Line.

Admiral Hornblower

Comprises Flying Colours, Commodore Hornblower, Lord Hornblower and Hornblower in the West Indies.

The Hornblower Companion

As the title hints, the book is a guide for the whole saga – it contains several notes and opinions to the stories by its author.

Page was last changed on February 3, 2008 at 2:54 pm

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