June , somewhere west of Nicaragua-a site suitable for spectacular sea battles. The Admiralty has ordered Captain Horatio Hornblower, now in command. Captain Hornblower commands H.M.S. Lydia, a gun frigate on detached service. He is ordered to proceed to the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, deliver. The Happy Return (Beat to Quarters in the US) was the first of the Horatio Hornblower novels published by C. S. Forester. It appeared in The American.

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The Happy Return – Wikipedia

In neat early nineteenth century, Captain Horatio Hornblower voyages from England, avoiding all contact with land or other ships, and makes a perfect landfall along the Pacific coast of Central America. But when he arrives, he finds the rebel leader mad, and that Spain has changed sides. Having already captured a ship larger than his thirty-six gun frigate, Lydiahe is now forced to pursue and defeat Natividad again. His life is further complicated hoenblower the presence of Lady Barbara Wellesley and the cavalier attitude of Spanish authorities in Panama.

Beat to Quarters reads as if William Bush is serving with Hornblower for the first time. No mention is made of them having been lieutenants in Renownor captain and first lieutenant aboard Hotspur. In this accounting, Hornblower had been a lieutenant, rather than a post captain during the capture of the Castillaas later described in Hornblower and the Atropos. He is mentioned as being thirty-seven years old, and if he was indeed born on July hornbloer,this story would have taken place in This book mentions six years have passed since capturing Castillawhile more recent writings suggest that Hornbloweg went directly from commanding Atropos to captaining Lydia.

Beat to Quarters [UK: The Happy Return] [Hornblower Saga #6]

These discrepancies can be attributed to Forester writing the Hornblower books in non chronological order. They were not written in order of his career, but hornlbower penned at various times to fill gaps existing in the over all story. The author appears to have been developing the story over the entire time it was being written. These are minor complaints regarding an excellent story.


Written in the s, it reflects the style and sentiment of an earlier time. Profanity hornb,ower graphic detail are nearly non-existent, and much of the narration is from a greater distance than is currently acceptable.

While some readers bea be offended by national and racial stereotyping, it is relatively mild and simply reflects the time in which the story was written. Perhaps it also is indicative of the qusrters in which it is set. It is the creation of the complex character known as Horatio Hornblower in which Forester excels. Here is an individual who comes across, not as a hero, sure of his abilities, but as one with perhaps more than his share of human frailties.

Despite his intelligence and bravery, Hornblower cannot see himself as others do. It is his fear of failure, his feeling that he is unworthy, that drives him to achieve the impossible.

Even then, success is not a mark of accomplishment, but a sign of survival. Therefore he does not come across as a larger than life character, but as one whom nearly everyone can identify with.

It was soon followed by Ship of the Line and Flying Colours. As it usually happens, many details of the story were changed in producing the movie. A few characters exist in the film that did not appear in print, even though scenes can often be identified and crossed from one version to the next.

A notable characteristic of the film is that about three-quarters of it deal with events from the first of the three books. These events are covered in great if not always exacting detail. The last portion of the movie basically provides a visual bwat of the remainder of the overall story.


Ship of the Line and Flying Colours are pretty much glossed over as hornbkower film winds its way to a conclusion. Unlike past reviews of C. If any existed, it may have escaped attention due to a more concentrated search for inconsistencies between this and other stories of the Hornblower saga.

As the United States of America prepares to celebrate its th Anniversary, let all those who appreciate the character of Horatio Hornblower prepare to celebrate his Birthday as well. We might all wonder at C. Log in No account?

None, to avoid offending tone deaf HH Book Review: Forester’s Captain Horatio Hornblower: Beat to Quarters just prior to July 4th. As this book marked the “birth” of the character, and his birthday was set to match that of the USA, a bit of a review is certainly in order. Forester Reviewed by D. This reviewer considers himself to be quite fortunate in having copies of the three earliest Hornblower books dating from the time of first publication. They can not with certainty be said to be first editions, and their physical condition is such that they are probably not of any great value.

The Happy Return

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