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4.5 out of 5 stars
23
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 16 November 2006
Forester's Hornblower novels were a favourite of my father, so when I found one lying around the house a couple of months ago (it happened to be 'The Happy Return') I picked it up and idly started to flip through it.

3 months later, I now own all the Hornblower series.

The Happy Return was the first Horatio Hornblower book that Forester wrote. As such, the character is not as well developed or easy to understand as in some of the others. In addition to this, it is a book that fits into the middle of the series (the Hornblower character is a Captain in this book, whereas his career starts as a midshipman and ends - well, I won't spoil it for you). The first novel of the series, `Mr Midshipman Hornblower' was actually written several years later than `The Happy Return'.

If you want to start with `The Happy Return' rather than the first of the series, you should also try and pick up 'A Ship of the Line' and 'Flying Colours'. The 3 were written at the same time (1937 - 38), were the first 3 released and go very easily together.

Over the last 3 months, I've had a great time following in my father's footsteps. For me, every book is hard to put down, the descriptions are vivid and the characters are always engaging. In addition, I now understand what a leadsman does, the difference between 'beating to quarters' and 'clearing for action' and the dangers of a lee shore, plus I have a much greater appreciation of how close the world was to real disaster under Napoleon in the early 1800's.

If you enjoyed the TV series and movies like `Master and Commander' (Russell Crowe) then you'll love the Hornblower series.
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on 6 March 2017
What a tinker, getting up to no good with the lady, and him married man. Well I have to say it was a good read and much more navel goings on. I'm beginning to wonder if this chap ever makes any money. To be honest he should have been putting into a pension from midshipman, but I dont think he has and annuity these days does not pay out very much.
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on 27 April 2017
An exciting tale of adventure in the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars. Written by the master of storytelling and still the best of its type.
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on 3 March 2016
excellent
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on 29 January 2016
Excellent read that's brings the era alive vividly in the company of the intriguing Horatio Hornblower.

The Happy Return is a good story with brilliant characters and surprisingly gory battles, coupled with Foresters wonderfully readable writing style.

I've been meaning to read the Hornblower series for years as both my dad and grandad were big fans, I'm glad I did and will be reading the rest of the series as soon as I can.

Holds up very well when compared to more modern sea faring adventures and doesn't feel dated at all.
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on 30 March 2014
I have read Hornblower since I was about 10 years old. Now, thanks to Kindle, I am re-reading him, from start to finish and it never loses its excitement. The author's ability to put you on the deck of a 19th century frigate, being fought to the death by the much bigger Spanish two-decker never ceases to impress. At the end of the battle you feel you are Hornblower, bitter powder smoke filling your nostrils, streaked with sweat, physically and mentally shattered!
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on 2 December 2011
Amazon and Kindle have made it so easy for me to catch up with all the books on the Napoleonic age of the Royal Navy and its war with France. Every book is fresh and a joy to read and 'The Happy Return' is no exception. A fine read.
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on 24 August 2013
We listened to the complete and unabridged audiobook of The Happy Return by C.S. Forester and found it completely gripping for a long car journey and excellently read by Christian Rodska. He was so good I shall look and see what other audiobooks he has made.
Very interested to learn from one reviewer that this was the first Hornblower book that Forester wrote. I chose it quite by chance. My son aged 12 enjoyed it as well. we recommend.
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on 8 February 1999
C.S Forester's seies of naval adventures featuring Horatio Hornblower are hugely successful and remain popular today - interest is indicated by the recent television series. They deal with warfare in the age of Naopleon and Nelson, and are remarkably lucid. They do not demand too much of the reader and are a pleasure to read. 'The Happy Return' shows Hornblower as captain of HMS Lydia, his mission taking him to South American waters where he is instructed to assist rebels in fighting Spanish rule and to hunt down a Spanish vessel, the 'Natividad'. Along the way Hornblower finds a romance of sorts.
Unfortunately, this is not one of the better Hornblower novels. It acts as more of an introduction to the series, with excellent character portrayals of Hornblower and el Supremo; but lacks the adventure of 'The Commodore' and the desperation of 'A Ship of the Line'. Nevertheless, it is a fine piece of writing, combining naval battles with character explorations, and effectively recreating the atmosphere aboard a fighting ship in those years. Very readable, "The Happy Return' is a good option to while away the hours.
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on 8 November 2012
The first Forester novel I read many many years ago. I was impressed then
and after many further reads, I still marvel at his writing ability. I f you are interested in sea-faring stories these are the ones to read.
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