Hornblower and the Crisis by C. S. Forester

Published January 1, 2022

Hornblower and the Crisis by C. S. Forester

Book info

  • Title Hornblower and the Crisis
  • Author C. S. Forester
  • Year 1967
  • Genres Historical, Adventure

Set in 1805, Hornblower and the Crisis finds Horatio Hornblower in possession of confidential dispatches from Bonaparte after a vicious hand-to-hand encounter with a French brig. The admiralty rewards Hornblower by sending him on a dangerous espionage mission that will light the powder trail leading to the battle of Trafalgar... Hornblower and the Crisis was unfinished at the time of Forester's death, but the author left notes - included here - telling us how the tale would end. Also included are two further stories - Hornblower and the Widow McCool and The Last Encounter - that tell of Hornblower as a very young and very old man, respectively.


I’ve only just realised that I’m reading this in a slightly odd order… I’m listening to the audiobooks with Audible suggesting the right order to go in, and they’ve gone chronological by story rather than by release, which I hadn’t realised and I’m not sure how I feel about. But I’ve started now so I may as well stick with it.

This is the final book that Forester wrote in the Hornblower series and it was sadly cut short by the author’s death, so the actual story is left unfinished. It’s a real shame because it was building up to be a good one - Hornblower turning spy is something that would be really interesting, especially given how wretched he can get turning over what’s right and wrong and morals and that kind of thing.

They did build up that the author’s notes would be able to finish the story for us, but I’m not sure they really do. They just tell of Hornblower going to be that spy and then coming back again, which we could have guessed given that he’s got more adventures to come. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to ponder what might have happened.

Rating: 3 / 5

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