I've had a long love affair with the adventures of Hornblower and have gone back to re-read most of the books in the series at least once. In this one, as a raw, gangly teenager his character is still being formed but some of the peculiar personality traits that make him so much fun are already beginning to appear. These are tales of high adventure on the high seas, set mostly during the Napoleonic wars. The books tend to be quite episodic in structure, so that each chapter almost stands as a short story on its own, which could be seen as a shortcoming; yet the adventures are sequential and Hornblower grows and matures with each successive exploit, adding to the complexity of the character. This is escapist fiction at its best.
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